3 for 3: After three losses in 10 games, it’s time to ask: What’s wrong with Ohio State?

After a successful 5-year run for Urban Meyer and Ohio State, something feels off in Columbus, doesn’t it?

It’s OK to admit that, and it doesn’t make you a “bad fan” to suggest it. The truth is in the numbers, after all. Ohio State is 9-3 in its last 12 games, with the three losses coming by a combined score of 117-40 and you can’t ignore that, no matter how cognizant you are of Meyer’s career-long success and his national titles, etc.

It’s also easy to look at a trio of games in the last year and see how quickly and realistically that 9-3 stretch could’ve been 6-6. Ohio State needed a game-saving interception on a 2-point conversation to beat a 3-9 Michigan State team in 2016. The Buckeyes somehow found a way to win in miraculous fashion in overtime by 3 points versus Michigan in 2016 and by a point at home against Penn State two weeks ago.

Things could feel worse in Columbus if those three games – won by a total of 6 points – had turned out different.

So, let’s cut to the chase? What is wrong with the Buckeyes?

Bill Landis, Cleveland.com:

It’s hard for me to find a single biggest issue. I think people are quick to overlook some of the inexperience at certain positions because of early NFL departures. Ohio State recruits as well as anyone, but experience matters.

But I pin it mostly on the coaches, failures in game planning and in-game adjustments. In all of those games it felt like there were obvious fixes: Incorporate some different running schemes that get the ball to the running back, or simplifying your defensive plan so that players aren’t running around confused when the opposing offense is shifting and motioning like crazy. It feels to me like the coaches rely too much on simply having the more talented team, which they often do, and not enough on “scheming stuff up.” Teams break tendency in every game against Ohio State. Why can’t Ohio State do that same?

Ari Wasserman, The Athletic:

Given Ohio State is 68-8 in the Urban Meyer era, it’s pretty hard to single out a major common issue that’s plagued a program.

The baseline for the Buckeyes since Meyer took over has been success, yet they have still come up short of meeting Urban Meyer’s high standard the last few years. In all of Ohio State’s big-time losses — and especially in the inexplicable loss to Iowa — there has been a common theme: Being out-coached. Ohio State has immeasurably more talent than 95 percent of the teams it faces, yet it doesn’t seem like the Buckeyes draw up schemes or game plans that exploit the other team’s weaknesses.

When Ohio State loses, the opposing coach finds where the Buckeyes are susceptible to being attacked and attacks it. You saw that in the Oklahoma and Iowa games. When Ohio State wins, it’s usually more about having more talent than the opponent.  There’s no such thing as too much talent, and the Buckeyes assemble talented teams better than anyone in college football outside of Alabama. Yet somehow the Buckeyes aren’t doing what Alabama does, which is playing for a national championship every year. And Ohio State has lost games with teams good enough to get to the playoff in two of the last three years. If talent isn’t the issue, it’s coaching.

Austin Ward, Landof10.com:

There may be a variety of issues that can pop up in a particular game, and last week basically the entire program got to share the blame for the humbling by the Hawkeyes. But by and large, Ohio State’s struggles dating back to last November are clearly tied to the offense.

Now, which ‘C’ is the problem: Coaching, consistency or conservative play calling? That’s a bit tougher to nail down, because the Buckeyes have some reasons to think those aren’t an issue at all. Urban Meyer has three national championships on his resume, and Kevin Wilson is one of the most respected offensive minds in the country. J.T. Barrett suffered a nightmare last week, but he had been about as solid could be after the early loss to Oklahoma, and is the most prolific touchdown producer in Big Ten history. And the play calling had been creative as Wilson, Meyer and Ryan Day developed a rhythm during the middle portion of the season.

But the reason this conversation exists is because all of that keeps falling apart against elite opponents — or in the Iowa case, in the face of adversity. The one thing that probably ties it together is the over-reliance on the quarterback rushing game. If the Buckeyes can wean themselves off that, whether it was Barrett or Braxton Miller before him, maybe they won’t need to come up with so many big-game miracles when there’s talented skill players elsewhere.

The post 3 for 3: After three losses in 10 games, it’s time to ask: What’s wrong with Ohio State? appeared first on Land of 10.

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