As the final nonconference game of the season looms for the Ohio State football team, the sense of urgency seems to have been turned up on the offensive side of the football.
"Just in practices we can kind of tell there's a change in attitude,” senior center Jacoby Boren said Wednesday. “We're not happy with the way we've been playing, and like I said I think it's kind of come to a head with everybody on the offense.
“We're kind of pissed off honestly the way we've been playing. I think it's time for us to run the Buckeye offense that we've known the past couple of years."
That Buckeye offense will once again be led by junior quarterback Cardale Jones, who was named the starter by coach Urban Meyer for the fourth week in a row Wednesday night.
Despite Jones’ woes offensively in the last two games, Meyer said sophomore J.T. Barrett had not done enough to beat out the gunslinger from Cleveland Glenville.
“You don’t anoint people. (I hear people say) ‘Let’s give that guy a shot,’ that person has never coached for a living,” Meyer said.
Meyer continued with an old mantra on Wednesday, saying it’s not just the quarterback play that has resulted in back-to-back offensive showings below the team's level of expectations.
“Quarterbacks are the product of those around him. I said that last year after every game that someone won Big Ten player of the week playing quarterback,” Meyer said. “It’s because those kids are playing their tails off around him. We all have to do a better job.”
Hinting at the wide receiver play, Meyer will likely need players like junior Mike Thomas to step up. Thomas, who leads the Buckeyes in receiving yards (158) and touchdowns (two), said the Ohio State offense is poised for a breakout week.
"I feel like the coaches will put us in the best situations to get the job done and play at a high level,” Thomas said. “I know we have been playing slow the last two games but I feel like we are going to bounce back this weekend and it will be exciting."
Thomas, who tallied 54 receptions last season, has just 10 thus far in 2015 and said he is trying to make the best of the current situation on offense.
“With the amount of targets I get, when the ball is coming I try and get everything. I got to make a play with the opportunities I get,” he said.
Despite his low numbers to start the year, Thomas said it doesn’t matter to him who is throwing the ball his way, although both of his touchdown receptions this year have come from Barrett.
"Coach says someone has to beat him out so I guess that's saying something,” Thomas said. “Cardale and J.T., I like both of them so I kind of don't get involved in that. That's Coach’s decision."
While most people seem to think the Buckeyes strength is the inside running game with running back Ezekiel Elliott, Boren said if the offense can get rolling, it can hang its hat on multiple different things.
"I think when we're hitting on all cylinders we can kind of get the ball around. We can pound the ball inside, we can run it on the perimeter and we can throw some short and deep balls and get some big gains. We have a lot of talent across the board, whether its wideout, Zeke in the backfield, quarterbacks, offensive line, tight ends, everybody,” Boren said. "If we're running the way that I think we should be, we should be able to spread the ball out across the field and it shouldn't just one thing. We'll be able to do a bunch of different things and put up a lot of points."