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

This Week In Big Ten Football looks at QB battle fallouts

Big Ten football could be said to have come back to Earth in week one, although there weren’t too many upsets around the league. If anyone was overly disappointed in the league’s weekend as a whole, their expectations were probably too high.

Only two teams unexpectedly won (Northwestern) or lost (Penn State), although it will be interesting to see what happens next for those teams (I’d say BYU-Nebraska was a tossup entering the day).   Continue reading This Week In Big Ten Football looks at QB battle fallouts

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

Big Ten football picks 2015: Can anyone knock off Ohio State?

Big Ten football got underway last night with Michigan and Minnesota both losing to better teams, but neither game changed my outlook on theirs or the conference outlook. Should be another fun year of football in the Midwest and all over the nation, and I am excited to be covering the Big Ten for FOXSports.com this fall. I’ll still be writing for Buckeye Sports Bulletin as well. While those places are (at least mostly) for news, this is where you can find opinions and hopefully some further insight. 

Here is my outlook on the conference. For my thoughts on Michigan and Jim Harbaugh, click here. 

I have a hard time seeing the Big Ten East as anything other than the Big Two and the Little Five.  Continue reading Big Ten football picks 2015: Can anyone knock off Ohio State?

Some thoughts on Jim Harbaugh and Michigan’s next new era

(I wrote this Thursday morning, but a never-ending stream of news precluded me from getting it posted in a timely fashion. Nevertheless, nothing I saw in Michigan’s loss to Utah changed my long-term opinion. See thoughts on the game at the end.) 

The Jim Harbaugh Michigan Experiment begins tonight on FOX Sports 1.

I think I’m contractually obligated by my employer to point out that last part, but this opinion is solely mine.

Michigan Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago
Michigan Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago

Call me crazy, but I’m going to take a wait-and-see approach on the Wolverines’ perceived savior. Until I read the fantastic Lars Anderson story at Bleacher Report this week, I thought I might be the only one.

It’s not that I don’t think Harbaugh will win a lot of games at Michigan, but the certainty he will WIN BIG in Ann Arbor seems a little out of step with reality to me.

So are the comparisons straight up to Urban Meyer’s arrival at Ohio State because prior to 2012 Meyer had won more and for a longer period of time. Meyer also took a job where it’s not as difficult to win*.

That said, if it isn’t Harbaugh who can make Michigan national title contenders, it might be no one, so I don’t blame anyone for going all-in with him, either.  Continue reading Some thoughts on Jim Harbaugh and Michigan’s next new era

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