Category Archives: Strategy

Requiem for Urban Meyer’s read option

This Week in Big Ten Football looks first at Ohio State’s offense under Urban Meyer, whose scheme might have just evolved beyond its name.

Thursday on his weekly radio show, Urban Meyer declared the read option dead in his current version of the Ohio State offense. OK, that’s a bit dramatic, but we had to get your attention somehow.

What he actually said: “When you hear spread option, it cracks me up when I hear that. We don’t run really an option very much at all and it’s more of a pro-style from a spread set. So it’s a much different offense than what it was years ago.”

While that made headlines, it’s news a long time coming.  Continue reading Requiem for Urban Meyer’s read option

Ohio State football: J.T. Barrett and the Bear

Ohio State football’s offseason as the first reigning national champions of the College Football Playoff era is nearly over, and two items are of particular note as the final hours tick away: J.T. and the Bear.

Sounds kind of like a Burt Reynolds movie, doesn’t it?

Well that isn’t it. Just a quarterback from Texas and a defense from, well, a lot of places but in this particular case the mountains of western Virginia.

Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett at media day in Columbus
Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett at media day in Columbus

I think we’re going to see both J.T. Barrett and the Bear defense the first time Ohio State takes possession in 2015. In the case of Virginia Tech, there seems to be a belief that is their best chance to win (They are probably correct). As far as Barrett? Only time will tell.  Continue reading Ohio State football: J.T. Barrett and the Bear

Playing two quarterbacks has merit for Ohio State

Could playing two quarterbacks regularly this season work for Ohio State?

Maybe the best answer at this point is, “Why not?”

Initially I doubted we would see it (barring injury), but a lot of the rhetoric seems to be pointing in that direction. Well, the chatter from the coaches, at least, as Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Ed Warinner both talked up some of the potential positives of using both J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones rather than picking one with which to sink or swim. That comes a couple of weeks after Barrett and Jones both expressed some misgivings about a two-quarterback system, though one got the impression from both they would go along with whatever they were asked to do.

Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones and daughter at media day
Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones and daughter at media day

The quarterbacks both made good points, too, as far as being able to get in a rhythm and play through mistakes. I certainly think that is valid. Does it trump the possibility of getting more of the good than the bad out of each of them, though? I don’t think we can answer that definitively.

And while I don’t think they should play both simply as a way to avoid hurting feelings, I am starting to see how it could work.

The bottom line is hardly anything that has happened before compares to this situation. Almost no quarterback battle includes two players who have actually performed well and won on the big stage. What Meyer and Warinner and quarterbacks coach Tim Beck are making isn’t an educated guess like it is when trying to choose between two guys who have only done it in practice, which is a poor substitute for games, and that is great for piece of mind if not for drawing distinctions between the two. Continue reading Playing two quarterbacks has merit for Ohio State

Ohio State football rediscovers itself

My takeaway from the reviewing Ohio State’s breakthrough win last week at Michigan State is this: The most encouraging sign for Ohio State football fans moving forward from last week’s win at Michigan State could be the offensive coaches trusting their guys to carry out their philosophy — then seeing J.T. Barrett and Co. do that with ruthless effectiveness.

As I wrote last week would probably be the best plan of action, the Buckeyes made most of their hay running up the middle and throwing over the top when the time was right. They did what they do better than what Michigan State normally does. I got the vibe in the postgame interview room this came as a big surprise to the people asking MSU defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi what went wrong, but he didn’t offer much in the way of excuses. He might have suspected this was coming.  Continue reading Ohio State football rediscovers itself

Does Ohio State need a win at MSU to become Ohio State again?

Urban Meyer made no attempt to hide the fact Ohio State has something more than a win or even prime position in the conference race on the line Saturday night at Michigan State.

The Buckeyes are also playing to regain their position as the top dog in the Big Ten, or as he put it, “the respect Ohio State deserves.” (Read more: Meyer: Buckeyes playing for ‘respect Ohio State deserves’ | FOX Sports.)

The head coach was sure to point out Ohio State still has only one true rival, though, reiterating something he said during the summer.

Meyer: Buckeyes playing for 'respect Ohio State deserves' | FOX Sports


When Meyer was done, assistant coaches Tom Herman, Tim Hinton and Luke Fickell had a lot of interesting things to say about the Buckeyes and the Spartans, including some flashbacks to last year’s Big Ten Championship game and a fair amount of Xs and Os. That comes as no surprise given the stature Michigan State’s defense — imported from Ohio — has gained over the past few years under Mark Dantonio and Pat Narduzzi.

Monday was also a big day for the program’s future as Torrance Gibson, on of the top quarterback prospects in the country, gave a verbal commitment to Ohio State from his school in Florida.

Gibson is the second signal caller to commit to Ohio State for 2015, joining Joey Burrow of Athens, Ohio. While signing two quarterbacks in one year has been rare at Ohio State over the past 15 years, history shows it could have some tremendous results for the Buckeyes.

The Best Is Yet To Come

The future is bright for Ohio State, but how long will it take to get here?

That’s the question in my weekly football column for


So far we have seen a young team flummoxed by a unique scheme look bad one night this season but bounce back with three straight wins over opponents that were overmatched to varying degrees.

There was a lot to like about the win in Maryland, including growth into the scheme on both sides of the ball.

Click here for more: Cus Words: The Best Is Yet To Come – Ohiostate – Scout.