Despite the pending loss of coordinator Tom Herman, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer expects his offense to endure and expand because, well, it always has.

Despite the pending loss of coordinator Tom Herman, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer expects his offense to endure and expand because, well, it always has.

"I always look for people who can enhance it, make it better," Meyer said yesterday. "The most important thing is finding a guy who meshes well with our staff, and who can recruit. I don't need the guy who is going to come in and say, 'I'm the guru. We're going to run this offense,' because that's not going to change."

Ohio State is fourth nationally in scoring at 45.2 points a game and eighth in total offense at 507.6 yards as it prepares to play Alabama on Jan. 1 in the Sugar Bowl, a semifinal in the College Football Playoff. OSU also is the only major-college team to outgain each of its opponents this season, according to analyst Phil Steele.

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Herman, 39, has been Meyer's offensive coordinator in his three seasons at Ohio State, but he was named head coach at Houston this week. Herman will remain on staff through the playoffs. The winner of the Sugar Bowl will play Oregon or Florida State for the national championship on Jan. 12.

"Tom is a pro," Meyer said. "And with (co-coordinator and line coach) Ed Warinner on our staff, we're not going to skip a beat."

One reason that the offense won't change drastically is because Meyer has been involved in its progress at every stop of his head-coaching career, starting at Bowling Green in 2001.

"I always wanted to have more of a committee approach, not a dictatorship, and I set that up from the beginning," Meyer said. "It's going to be an offense we carry on in duration. Every coordinator we've hired from that point forward has been someone who has come in and learned our offense, and added something to it."

On Meyer's Bowling Green staff was Dan Mullen, the current Mississippi State head coach, and they went together to Utah in 2003. The offense there, with quarterback Alex Smith at the controls, dominated the Mountain West Conference for two seasons, going 12-0 in 2004, including a win over Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl.

Meyer took the offense to Florida in 2005, where skeptics figured it would hit a ceiling in the defense-dominated Southeastern Conference. But with Mullen as coordinator, it flourished as they kept adding elements, such as the first hybrid back, Percy Harvin. They won national championships in 2006 and '08, and quarterback Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in '07.

Mullen left for Mississippi State in 2009, and Meyer promoted Steve Addazio, now head coach of Boston College, to coordinator.

"When I got here to Ohio State, I had plenty of guys call who were established coordinators who wanted to be on this staff, but I didn't want to do that," Meyer said. "I wanted to hire a very intelligent guy who was going to come in and learn our offense and add to it. That's what Tom Herman did. And as we keep moving forward, that's what is going to happen."

Herman brought knowledge of the up-tempo style, something Meyer said had intrigued him during his one-season sabbatical in 2011 as he worked for ESPN.

"I did my homework on Tom, and he came recommended by (then-Oregon coach) Chip Kelly and some other friends of mine as a young coach who was somewhat of an expert in tempo," Meyer said. "I wanted to add that to our system, and he was a guy who lived in it. And he was a very intelligent guy."

With preparation for Alabama foremost at the moment, Meyer said, "I haven't made all the final decisions (on a replacement for Herman)."

Warinner ran a successful offense at Kansas under coach Mark Mangino last decade.

"Ed Warinner will be instrumental in this process," Meyer said. "But we're not changing a thing in the way we go about things. You don't change what's working."

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports