Ohio State's final meetings with the media before their Week 4 game against Western Michigan answered some questions about the Buckeyes.
While the big takeaway was that Cardale Jones would remain the team's starter, interviews with defensive tackle Adolphus Washington, wide receiver Mike Thomas and center Jacoby Boren gave more insight into the No. 1 team in the country after an underwhelming offensive performance against Northern Illinois. Here's what we learned:
Team Not Told Who Was Starting QB
Apparently, Urban Meyer officially informed the media who would take the first snap for the Buckeyes Saturday before explicitly telling his team.
"I just figured out who is starting," Thomas said when told by a reporter that Jones was the guy this week. "What you told me right now is news to me."
While Boren reiterated that there was no formal meeting, the center said that it was made pretty clear Jones would start based on how practices have been run this week.
"You can just kind of tell," Boren said of who would be the starter. "It's never a big announcement."
Both players maintained what has been the mantra of the team all year, that they had faith in both players to execute and that whoever plays quarterback should not impact their play.
Expect Up-Tempo Attack
The Ohio State offense looked its best against Northern Illinois when it went with a fast-paced approach. The lone offensive touchdown of the day came when J.T. Barrett was directing an up-tempo attack and players said that we can expect more of that this week.
“Coach Meyer has been on the offense a lot this week," Washington said. "I wouldn’t say he is putting a new thing because it is something that they always do, but he’s just getting back to the old ways basically. Just tempo.”
Boren confirmed that the tempo was a point of emphasis in practice, adding that the Buckeye offensive linemen benefit from that type of approach.
"Just kind of going back to our roots, just running the up tempo and running down hill," the center said when asked what could get the offense going. “Maybe not sitting back so much. Just kind of get things going and on a roll and once we get them kind of roll with it.
Working To Fix Exchanges
Meyer is fond of saying that the quarterback is a product of those around him and the rest of the offense has certainly not helped the Buckeye signal-callers in the last two games.
One area in which Ohio State has struggled is with the exchange between the quarterback and the center. Boren iw well aware of the issues.
"I was waiting on that question," he said when asked what the problem has been.
"It's something that I've been working on since week one. You snap the ball how many 500 hundred, thousand times a week. Just something small I'm doing and trying to fix. Just trying to get the muscle memory down and just fix what's messed up right now."
To Defend The Screen, Don't Play The Screen
Western Michigan generates a great deal of its offense from screen plays and passes in the flat. The Buckeyes have been excellent so far this season at preventing opponents from running laterally on them and Washington said that comes down to not anticipating the screen, but rather reacting to it.
“Don’t play the screens, you just got to react to them and when you react to them you have to get to him," the defensive tackle said. "So you just got to be ready to run and react to it.”