Week-Four: Thoughts On The OSU Offense

Ohio State bounced back from last week's subpar performance against Northern Illinois by routing Western Michigan 38-12 Saturday afternoon at home. How did the offense perform?

- Things were definitely better for Ohio State this week, and there was improvement in every area. The early tempo was a positive factor, as was having plays called from the booth rather than on the field. The Buckeyes wanted to throw deep and they took shots throughout the game. That being said, there were points left on the field against Western Michigan, so there is still work to be done. 

In terms of the quarterback position, it's safe to say the controversey is over. Cardale Jones has the job, and he did better this week than last. Can he play better? Do they need him to play better? Yes. And yes. He still is slow in his decision making, and is not the most accurate thrower in the world. The first should improve with more reps, and you just have to live with the second. He can make plays when things break down extremely well. The deep throws were there for a few more touchdowns, and the pick was late and short. Jones is the guy, and they need him to be better than he was today, but he was far better than the past two games. I think Ohio State will take the improvement and keep coaching him up. 

- People have worried about the loss of Devin Smith, but Jalin Marshall would have had four touchdowns today had the QB play been what it was last year. This is your deep threat, and he's a good one. As Jones improves the deep throw, Marshall will score touchdowns from long distance. They still need Braxton Miller to get the ball more, but there are only so many balls to go around. Mike Thomas continues to be a solid possession receiver, and Nick Vannett is yet another option in the passing game. 

The offensive line was closer to playing to the level people expect than they've been the past few weeks, and Jones was pretty clean in the pocket for the most part, and the running game was back on track. This was certainly not a dominant performance, but it was solid and that's the improvement Ohio State was looking for. Going over 500 yards in total offense is more like it out of this group, but they can still play better. No reason to think they won't be back to the playoff levels in the next few weeks. 

- Ezekiel Elliott was really good as he usually is, and it was great to see him gain a lot of yards on only 16 carries. His blocking and pass-catching means so much to this offense, and he might be the best all around football player on this team. For a superstar, and he is definitely that, Zeke sure does a lot of little things that most Diva RB's aren't interested in doing. 

- For this offense to get back to last year's efficiency and devastation, the quarterback play has to get better. They aren't going to be running the speed option with Cardale, which leads to more passing, so he needs to make better decisions and be quicker with his reads. I hate to see the option go away, but you have to run what works best for your style of play. If he can get better throwing the deep ball, and eliminate turnovers, the potential is there to be as good offensively as last season. Even without Tom Herman and playing a different style. 

- All football is not complete for the week, so no Top-Four at this time, but I'm keeping Ohio State #1 in my personal poll. Will figure out the next three sometime tomorrow. The first third of the season is over, and things are probably where they need to be for Ohio State to repeat. This is a marathon, not a sprint, so they need to sharpen things up over the next month to get ready for that final third where there are going to be some challenges. All in all, no reason for concern that they aren't on schedule to make a run once again. 

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