Bank Blog: Quick Thoughts Offense

The Ohio State offense was error-plagued throughout Saturday's game against UCF, but still managed to put up 31 points and over 400 yards. What happened when Ohio State had the football?

- Much like the Urban Meyer/Mike Vrabel dustup at the end of the game signifies the new Ohio State, so does going for it on fourth down three times so far this season. Meyer missed on his first two attempts on fourth down, so it's logical to assume he would punt when faced with fourth and short again, right? Not so fast my friend, this isn't Jim Tressel's Ohio State anymore. This is the new Ohio State, where the game is called from an offensive point of view. Putting the defense at more risk? So be it. Tressel looked at the game through the eyes of playing safe and high-percentage, while Meyer is the riverboat gambler always willing to shove his chips to the middle of the table. Which way is better? There is no answer to that question. In a decade we will know which coach was better for Ohio State, but for today the jury is out.

- Teams are supposed to get better between the first and second games, and while that might have happened with the Ohio State offense, turnovers and penalties masked that point. The turnovers were all careless mistakes, not due to UCF doing something special on defense. A botched handoff. Braxton Miller throwing a ball right to a defensive back. A linebacker asking Zach Boren for the football and it being handed to him. Throw in Brionte Dunn going the wrong way a few times, and you get Meyer's frustration with his offense.

- Is Braxton Miller better? The same? Has he regressed? To me, he is drastically better, but nowhere near where he is going to be in time. After two games, he is a Heisman Trophy candidate, yet he is making a lot of mistakes and not throwing the ball downfield well at all. A year of not being coached leads to head-scratching decisions, but Tom Herman is fixing those moments. The footwork needed on his longer passes will always be a battle, and not something easily corrected overnight. The roll left, throw to Jake Stoneburner was his best throw of the year, and a perfect throw on a difficult play. After watching the Covered Wagon last year, seeing Devin Smith and Philly Brown catch six balls apiece is a welcome sight for sure. It appears wide receivers can be involved in the passing game, and maybe seeing these two catch 12 in one game is a great thing people are missing? In a cruel, sad, reminder, understand these two caught a whopping 28 balls all year in 2011. That's progress, and both are on pace for between 50 and 70 catches on the year.

- Braxton Miller running the football? Simply the best playmaker offensively Ohio State has had in a few years. You don't want him running the ball this much week after week, yet he's the best offensive player. Like Denard Robinson, what do you do? They are their team's best weapons, and they have to have the football in their hands. A missed tackle or a blown assignment, and Braxton is going to take it to the house. Nobody else on this roster can do that, and Meyer wants multiple threats on the field at one time. In time, he will get there.

- Philly and Devin are getting to be what Meyer wants out of his playmakers, but they aren't there just yet. Smith was jerked around last year, in and out of the lineup, and just needs more experience. Philly has responded to the new staff, is catching everything, but needs to make more big plays. Jake Stoneburner is just not being featured like we thought he might, and that has been true with Tressel, Fickell and now Meyer. Not sure what to say with Jake. This group is better for sure, but not at the level Meyer expects from them. There needs to be more shake and bake, more missed tackles, and more big plays from these guys.

- I thought the offensive line took a step forward Saturday, and they were better than they were the week before. Braxton still holds the ball too long on occasion, inviting pressure that makes the line look bad. The run blocking was good, but the backs continue to miss holes, and Meyer's frustration with this group was evident in the post-game presser. The Central Florida defensive line was very good and very physical, so this was a good test and the Ohio State line got better as the game wore on. I'm anxious to see how good this line can be later in the year, as these guys become more familiar with Ed Warriner's teachings. There is a lot to be optimistic about with this group, barring injuries.

- Brionte Dunn got his chance with the injury to Carlos Hyde, and he was alright. This was his shot to grab the position and never give it back, but that certainly did not happen. He made two mental mistakes, and missed a few holes running the football. It's reasonable to expect he will get better with more carries, and those carries should be available this coming week. If he can elevate his game to match his immense talent, that makes Carlos Hyde the goal line back, and Jordan Hall a specialty player. If not, all three will share the football going forward. Rod Smith just makes you shake your head, because he has so much talent and it doesn't appear he is going to realize it at Ohio State. Next year, Ezekiel Elliott and Warren Ball get added to the mix, and both are Urban Meyer-type players. With Dunn and Hyde also back, Smith needs to make a move this week. Hope he realizes this week of practice and next week's game are huge to his career. The sands are running out of the hour glass. Enough with giving the football to Zach Boren. He is a blocker, not a runner. Add in the fumble and less than three yards per carry, and enough is enough. His job is to create car-crashes so others can run the ball. He can catch it in the flat, but runs from scrimmage are pointless.

- The transition from old Ohio State to new Ohio State is a work in progress, and getting Covered Wagon-trained players to succeed in the new NASA system is going to take time. They put up points and yards in bunches, but stall and flop around for a few possessions in a row. That is to be expected, although Meyer doesn't appear to have the patience to wait for what he expects out of this group. Realistically, this offense is a year away, as Ohio State shifts into a totally new way of life, but try telling Meyer that. He is a perfectionist, and the mistakes and miscues have to be killing him.


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