“The term 'game ready' is used quite often around here. Is Dwayne game ready to go help us win a game? If we feel he is, then he'll go in the game. That opportunity has not presented itself.”
- Urban Meyer via Mitch Sherman, ESPN
Following the embarrassing loss at home to Oklahoma, in which Ohio State got bludgeoned to a tune of 31-16 after a second-half collapse, there were many calling for a change at quarterback. Mainly, for backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins to take over for Barrett, who struggled mightily against the Sooners. Barrett completed only 19 of his 35 passes for 183 yards and had no touchdowns to one interception. This isn’t the first time fans and recruits have called for a change, but with Kevin Wilson coming in as the offensive coordinator, many believed it would finally fix the problems that the offense has had for the past two seasons.
While it’s hard to wave a magic wand and instantly fix all of the problems with an offense, Urban Meyer still believes that Barrett is the guy. The senior quarterback has unquestioned success in terms of wins and losses, but despite that, his offensive production seems to be lacking, especially when it comes to throwing the ball. He’s not getting much help from his receivers, and his offensive line hasn’t been fantastic thus far either. But when push comes to shove, most people will blame the quarterback first and foremost. And as you can see above, it appears Haskins simply doesn’t compare to Barrett in terms of game readiness.
“I think the evolution of defenses, especially the ones that have given us trouble over the last couple of years ... it's the multiplicity of defenses that have given us (problems). So, yeah, we're reevaluating that. It's constant change, and (the offense) is much different than it was in 2012. There are a lot of people in that room working on it to keep it moving forward.”
- Urban Meyer via Bill Landis, Cleveland.com
Speaking of the Ohio State offense, what’s up? Adding Kevin Wilson in the off-season was supposed to make a much larger difference than what we’ve seen so far from the Buckeyes. Outside of JK Dobbins having some sparks against Indiana and Oklahoma, the offense generally looks the exact same as previous seasons. And that’s not a good thing, as anyone that watches the games can attest to. So what’s the problem? Urban Meyer has often been considered one of the innovators of the spread offense, and yet, since about 2015, the Buckeyes offense has been severely lacking in firepower.
In the article above and in the quote, Meyer claims that defenses are simply improving to the point where the offense that was putting up big numbers in the early seasons of Meyer’s tenure with the Buckeyes, just simply might be a bit outdated. Defensive coordinators have essentially caught on to what Ohio State is putting out and it’s up to Wilson and the coaching staff to figure out how to keep the Buckeyes ahead of the game. Luckily they’ll have a few easier games in the weeks ahead to practice, going against Army, UNLV, Rutgers, and Maryland.
“It's a six-man rotation. There's not a differentiation from No. 1 through No. 6, and I think they're going to be all fine players. They're continuing to grow. It's not -- Johnnie Dixon to Ben Victor and Austin Mack -- there's not that Michael Thomas right now where you say he's your go to all the time. Ben Victor, we tried a couple with him. I think Terry got behind (the defense) one time.”
- Urban Meyer via Bill Landis, Cleveland.com
One of the other problems plaguing the Ohio State offense has been the play of the wide receivers. While there were certainly some highlight plays against Indiana, there were also missed opportunities for touchdowns against the Hoosiers and Oklahoma as well. Dropped passes that were put right on the money for would-be touchdowns changed the course of the both games, and McLaurin’s drop against the Sooners was especially haunting considering the timing of the play and the opponent.
So, Coach Meyer was asked straight up if some receivers should simply be staying in the game for most if not all of the minutes instead of a loose rotation. The answer was interesting to say the least, as you see above. It’s clear that Meyer doesn’t think there’s a true star among the receivers quite yet, and although we’ve seen flashes of great plays from Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack and Johnnie Dixon, there clearly isn’t trust that one of them is worth having out on the field for the entire game, which is surprising.
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