Urban Meyer sees the same thing we do.
Said so himself.
“I saw what you saw,” the Ohio State football coach said after Saturday’s 31-16 loss to Oklahoma in the Horseshoe.
Meyer has made similar comments after games in which the Buckeyes’ offense struggled, and I always have mixed feelings when he says it. On one hand, seeing things the way the rest of us do is empowering for us. It inflates our sense of self to have Meyer agree with our observations. Being a savvy amateur psychologist, he knows this is a strategic way to appease media and fans.
On the other hand, Meyer passive-aggressively distances himself from the damage.
“We’re just not getting enough flow on offense. And I’m seeing the same thing you guys are seeing,” he said Saturday night.
Meyer’s true intent aside — and to be fair, we all say things in the heat of the moment that don’t come out exactly right — the bigger issue is why the Six Million Dollar-plus Man does not step in to solve the problems in real time?
The answer is layered, touching on critical issues that may explain why the Ohio State offense struggles more often than it should, especially against better defenses.
I asked Meyer how the play-calling works. Is he too engrossed in overall game management to take more control of the offense?
“It’s my job to step in. And I tried (against Oklahoma),” he said on Monday. “And a lot of times head coaches can screw things up worse than they are. And I’m not immune to that.”
Meyer explained that he is more careful than ever in how he inserts himself into decision-making during games.
“I have very good coaches on offense, and (Oklahoma) played well on defense and did a lot of unique things,” he said.
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Credit Meyer for not totally backing the bus over his assistants, but I wonder what really is going on? I think what we’re seeing with the Kevin Wilson offense is that it is not actually the Kevin Wilson offense, but an amalgamation of Wilson parts and Meyer pieces, akin to Frankenstein’s monster (but not nearly so dangerous.)
Meyer said as much, explaining that Wilson was not brought in to implement the same explosive offense he ran at Indiana, but to enhance what the Buckeyes already do.
Therein lies one of the problems. Meyer likes to mix power running with spread tendencies, but over the past three seasons the integration of the two has not always gone smoothly. Perhaps because Meyer gives his offensive coordinator too much freedom? Or the reverse; the coordinator cannot run his own system under the restraints put in place by Meyer?
“I would anticipate you would continue to see a merging of ideas and concepts,” Meyer said of the collective game-planning.
But does the merger work? Do Wilson and Meyer fit? Did Meyer fit with former offensive coordinator Ed Warinner, who was let go after the 31-0 fiasco in the Fiesta Bowl?
Or perhaps it is Meyer’s offensive philosophy that no longer fits? He was most successful when his spread offense was ahead of the curve. Now that defenses have caught up, what is Urban’s second act?
“We’re re-evaluating that,” he said. “It’s constant change and much different than it was in 2012. And there are a lot of people in that room working to keep it moving forward.”
No doubt it will move forward against the suspect defenses Ohio State mostly will face over the next month. UNLV and Rutgers? Release the hounds.
But after that? What will we — and Meyer — end up seeing?
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