COLUMBUS, Ohio — The preseason work isn’t done yet and Urban Meyer isn’t ready to call Ohio State’s offense a finished product at this point.
The Buckeyes appear to be trending in that direction, though. It’s sounding increasingly like the “enhancements” Meyer has stressed throughout the offseason will pay off when Ohio State kicks off its season later this month at Indiana.
“It’s still too early, but I’m pleased with where we’re at,” Meyer said on Monday . “There were some big plays [in the scrimmage Saturday]. It’s a negative for the defense, positive for the offense. I liked the coaching going on across the field, but particularly on offense right now.
“The tempo and those kind of things [are encouraging], but it was only the first scrimmage.”
Even before that workout, there were plenty of reasons to expect an offensive onslaught could be coming this fall.
The signs were there before training camp opened, starting with these numbers that suggest the Buckeyes have everything they need to bounce back from the shutout loss vs. Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinals in a major way.
Meyer’s offenses have been potent throughout his career. Since taking over at Ohio State, he’s had the highest-scoring unit in the Big Ten three times and finished second twice. The Buckeyes finished behind an Indiana team that put up 36.5 points per game in 2015, and that squad happened to be coached by new Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson.
Wilson brings a proven track record as one of the best play-callers and talent developers on offense in the country. His hiring immediately boosted projections for Ohio State this fall after uneven consistency in 2016 with both game plans and execution. Already, it appears his arrival is having the desired impact for Meyer.
“I just like the chemistry in the offensive staff room,” he said Monday . “We know how important those types of things are.”
The finish to J.T. Barrett’s junior season fell flat, questions about his arm strength pop up occasionally and there’s no shortage of hype about the recruits behind him. But it’s not by accident that he has accounted for 100 touchdowns in his career and is just 22 touchdown passes away from surpassing Drew Brees for most in a career in Big Ten history. His return for one more year with the Buckeyes, an even more experienced offensive line and a new system designed for his strengths should ensure the scoreboard operators stay busy at the Horseshoe.
There are perhaps justifiable concerns about his future as an NFL passer. But those don’t apply to his ability to lead the power-spread attack for the Buckeyes. His resume speaks for itself and keeps his spot on the depth chart secure.
This isn’t the first offseason Ohio State has spent stressing a desire to push the offensive tempo. With Wilson around, it’s a certainty that the Buckeyes will employ a breakneck pace.
In 2015, the Hoosiers ran 1,053 total plays, 12th most in the country. The Buckeyes might top that mark of 81 plays per game as they try to use their diversity of talented skill players, the four returning starters on the line and Barrett’s veteran knowledge to wear down defenses in a hurry.
Meyer, of course, brings his own background dialing up the tempo to the Ohio State sideline. But teaming up with another go-go guru figures to push the Buckeyes to dizzying speed — and point totals.
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