Maybe even more savage than Baker Mayfield owning the Buckeyes last Saturday night, is the fact that the Ohio State kind of offensive letdown is starting to feel almost routine. Because as crazy as it is to crack on a guy like Urban Meyer — who is an absolutely ridiculous 62-7 at Ohio State — Urb has a problem. His offense has gotten stale.
That lay-down against Oklahoma. The goose-egg in the Playoffs against Clemson. Struggles with Michigan and Michigan State. And as much as you want to point to that revolving door of coordinators, or say that J.T. Barrett has regressed, the writing is on the wall — with rival coaches and scouts telling Yahoo Sports that the problem isn’t new coordinator Kevin Wilson or Ohio state’s senior quarterback. The problem is URB.
Here’s what a rival coach said about Meyer’s offense: “There’s not a lot of creativity. He’s doing a lot of the same things he did at Utah.”
Utah. Meyer hasn’t been at Utah since 2004, when he hyped Alex Smith into a guy that the 49ers picked over Aaron Rodgers. 2004. The days of the MOTOROLA RAZR. Myspace was POPPING. Thefacebook.com was born. And while Urb’s gone on to win 3 national titles since then — and he continues to pile up yardage and score points by the fork lift against mediocre competition — the Buckeyes aren’t about competing for Big Ten East titles and invites to the Outback Bowl. They’re playing for Rings.
And Meyer’s got the roster to do it. He’s got the horses. He’s churning out first round picks and NFL talent that only Nick Saban can match. But the guy who brought the spread into the mainstream, the coach who was the perfect mix of CEO, relentless recruiter and offensive innovator, just watched a 34-year-old Lincoln Riley walk into the Horseshoe and punk him. He just took his new Tesla Supercar and torched that old Mustang that Urb’s still pulling out of the garage.
So Urb’s gotta do something he probably has never done as a head coach. Get out of his own way. Turn the keys over to Wilson and let the guy do what he was hired to do — fix the offense. Put in the bells and whistles. Adapt. Install the “RPO’s” Run-Pass Options, everybody’s favorite buzz word this season, plays that’ll let J.T. Barrett be the guy he can be. That he HAS been.
He’s got a run of games to do it. Glorified scrimmages against Army, UNLV and Rutgers before warm-ups against Maryland and Nebraska before Penn State comes to town. So now is the time.
Because we know there’s enough talent for Ohio State to get back to the playoff. We know that the committee will give them the benefit of the doubt after an early loss — they’ve done it twice already. But it can only happen if Urb looks in the mirror and realizes that he’s the problem. And that’s a question I’m not sure he’s ready to answer.