"I did have a very clear starter, the guy that starts. The first three games we have had one. First game worked out very good. Second game was not so good, and I wanted to give the other guy reps. The third game was not good at all. We did have a very clear starter, and we're going to have a very clear starter again this week at the right time. I kind of already know who it is."
The question that dominated the entire offseason has reared its ugly head four weeks into the 2015 season. Cardale Jones or J.T. Barrett? After the past two games against Hawaii and Northern Illinois, the initial decision of starting Jones has come into question following two lackluster performances from the offense. Against the Huskies, Jones threw two interceptions in the first half and was pulled from the game. J.T. Barrett got his chance to show why he should be the starter, but struggled as well. He did throw a touchdown pass to Michael Thomas, but also threw an interception of his own.
Now Coach Meyer is faced with the same dilemma he was dealing with at the start of the season. He already knows who he plans to start against Western Michigan, and will announce it on Wednesday after practice. There aren't any indications on the depth chart as to which one might be starting, as it remained the same "Cardale Jones OR J.T. Barrett" as the first three games to start the season. One thing everyone can agree on: pick one and stick with them.
"We've got the mindset that if we have to win the game 3-0, that's just how we're going to win the game. We can't depend on anybody else, we just have to go out there and stop their offense, do our job and everything else will take care of itself."
While the offense has been far from anything close to resembling the No. 1 team in the country, the defense is just the opposite. With high expectations entering the season, the Silver Bullets have returned to Columbus and appear ready to stay. Every position has excellent talent and playmakers across the roster, and most positions are filled with plentiful depth as well. So far the Buckeyes' defense have carried Ohio State to two of its wins while the coaching staff tries to iron out the issues with the offense.
It's been said a couple of times by the Ohio State defenders that they don't mind shouldering the load for a while. Sophomore linebacker Raekwon McMillan said the above following the Northern Illinois game in which the Buckeyes held the Huskies to under 200 total yards and had a shutout of Hawaii in week two. As long as the defense continues its dominance, Ohio State should be able to turn things around in time for Big Ten play.
"Odds are the only ranked team the Buckeyes will face during the regular season is Michigan State. Which means Ohio State can't expect to keep winning ugly against the likes of Indiana and Rutgers and assume it has earned the committee's No. 1 spot when the first ranking is revealed Nov. 3 -- not when Florida State was dinged last year for the same thing."
Florida State earned some criticism last season for a relatively week schedule, and despite going undefeated for the second straight season, the Seminoles (ranked No. 1 at the start of 2014) were dropped to third overall in the inaugural College Football Playoff. That might not be a monumental difference, since they still made the playoff, but it does show that the playoff committee does take schedules seriously. Now Ohio State faces the same challenge, and right now, isn't impressing much of anyone with their offensive struggles.
As the article mentions, the Buckeyes will likely only have Michigan State as their only ranked opponent. Even with the Spartans currently being ranked second in the country, the committee looks at the body of work. If Ohio State is sneaking by a lot of less talented teams, it's likely going to impact how the Buckeyes are ranked come time for the College Football Playoff.
"We're playing defense on offense right now, and it's not working. Some people do, but our history is we want to score a lot of points. ... So we're going to take a more aggressive approach to how we go about our business."
There's something wrong with the Ohio State offense. It's hard to pinpoint what it is exactly that isn't working for the Buckeyes, but everyone can see the issues on the field. It's shown in their past two games against Hawaii and Northern Illinois, teams that shouldn't be much of an issue for the reigning champs. So it was fascinating to hear what Urban Meyer had to say about the problems the offense is facing. From the quote above, it seems like the offense might be playing too defensive or conservative.
An aggressive approach might mean a couple of different things. It could mean more attention paid to the offensive line and trying to get them back into their previous form from last season or it could mean that Ohio State's playcalling could change for a much more aggressive style with deep passes being thrown. Either way, the Buckeyes will have a chance to correct any previous blunders. Meyer mentioned not getting the ball in their playmakers' hands enough, as a couple of the interceptions thrown on Saturday were intended for Braxton Miller, who only touched the ball four times on Saturday.