Need for Speed: Meyer Feels Like Ohio State Has It

By Kyle Rowland on August 13, 2013 at 9:30a
Bradley Roby has wheels. And that makes Urban Meyer smile.

On Nov. 16, 2011, a private plane touched down in Columbus. The stealthy maneuver had the makings of a covert operation akin to shuttling the President of the United States around. But there was no president onboard this Gulf Atlantic Airways flight.

The passenger was offering a fresh start for a nation of millions, but one thing he couldn't bring with him was speed. More than 20 months and one season later, Urban Meyer believes he has the jets to mimic the explosive offenses he orchestrated at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. 

“I see very similar qualities, certainly on offense,” Meyer said of his Gators and now Buckeyes. “I feel a little bit of a jolt.”

Meyer came to Ohio State with a reputation for winning a lot of games by a lot of points. Buckeye fans knew that all too well. Something else that was evident was speed. The college game had been changing for a decade. The halcyon days of wide-bodied linemen, pro-style quarterbacks and 25-carry-per-game running backs were in the rearview mirror.

Nimble linemen, dual-threat quarterbacks and versatile backs and receivers are now the direct route to a national championship. Meyer is familiar with the process. Two national championships at Florida convey that message loudly.

It’s hard to be critical of an undefeated season. Anyone who watched the Buckeyes’ 12-0 campaign in 2012 knows what was missing, though. Team speed and an offensive gamebreaker were nonexistent, except for a handful of occasions.

The 2013 recruiting class has put an end to that, while some current players improved their lateral movement and quickness.

Said Meyer: “You’ll see a different style of offense this year if we stay healthy.”

“If you don’t play, it’s because you’re not good enough. It’s not because we're saving you.”

“Two guys who stand out are Dontre Wilson and Jalin (Marshall),” senior safety C.J. Barnett said. “A lot of time freshmen come in they are confused and a little slow and hesitant, but Dontre is full steam ahead.”

On the football field, Wilson resembles a jitterbug. All one can see is a small figure weaving through traffic and dodging defenders – a real life silver bullet. He’s so good so soon that he could start from Day 1.

“Our theory is you go play, not redshirt,” Meyer said. “If you don’t play, it’s because you’re not good enough. It’s not because we're saving you.”

Asked if he was a home run threat, Wilson didn’t hesitate, “Yes, sir. I would like to think so.”

Wilson speaks softly but carries a big stick. He presents himself as a confident player with a swagger that doesn’t allow him to be intimidated. Wilson played against some of the best competition in the country in high school, accumulating 2,645 yards of offense and 46 touchdowns.

Fellow Texan Mike Mitchell delivered the first bit hit on Wilson in practice. But the diminutive back jumped to his feet, brushed himself off and went back to chewing up yardage and crossing the goal line. Ohio State averaged 37.2 points per game last year. That number is expected to be dwarfed this season, thanks to the fine-tuning via the speedsters.

The offensive coaches want to utilize the velocity they have and create mismatches, a central component to Meyer’s version of the spread offense. Yards after contact and catch are critical. That’s where Wilson, Marshall, Philly Brown and others come into the conversation. Not only do their abilities improve the offense’s overall level, it takes pressure off Braxton Miller.

Miller took a beating throughout the 2012 season. Some of the rough contact was his own fault; he wasn’t prone to running out of bounds. However, even Meyer admitted that he ran the quarterback so much because he was the only dynamic player on the offense. Miller truly was a do-it-all tour de force for the Buckeyes. Now that Wilson – and Marshall and James Clark and Corey Smith and Ezekiel Elliott– is entrenched, Miller can create plays without his legs.

“Ab-so-lute-ly,” he said, when asked if he was excited for Wilson’s arrival. “Definitely. He’s a special kid. He goes all out. You could tell from the first day of camp, he was like a bolt of lightening. Now he’s kind of slowing down and getting used to that college life. He’s back getting massages right now. We’ve got to get our bodies right.”

If not for Chip Kelly leaving Oregon, chances are Wilson, a one-time Oregon commit, wouldn’t even be at Ohio State right now. He said Tom Herman was relentless in his contact with him, even after he committed to the Ducks. Still, Herman kept growing the relationship. It got to a point that Wilson described as annoying. But he admitted he’d rather be bothered than not receive any calls.

The moment Kelly left for Philadelphia, Wilson said a Columbus, Ohio, phone number showed up on his phone. The next month he committed to the Buckeyes.

“Who wouldn’t like to get coached by Urban Meyer?” Wilson said.


Comments Show All Comments

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Must. Not. Run. Thru. Wall. 
August 31st cannot get here quick enough

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Jabba the Hoke's picture

I know that feeling. I have a vicious cycle of reading Buckeye news, getting pumped up for season, realizing that I still gave a while before season begins, so I read more Buckeye news. It isn't helping time pass any quicker.

OSUStu's picture

Come ooon, y'all. Commence to jigglin'!

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

Chief B1G Dump's picture

Holy guacamole, I cant wait for this season. We're going to have guys flying all over the place.
Sorry in advance to the rest of the B1G for the shredfest theyre about to receive for the next 100 years!

Nutty's picture

Can't wait to see this offense. Speed, speed and more speed.

RBuck's picture

Dontre's got a lot of hype to live up to. I believe he will.

Long live the southend.

Hovenaut's picture

I like speed, and I like upvotes.

Let's get an upvote on this, stat....

+1 HS
Stinson's picture

Amazing Brady Hoke footage as a child. Nice work. 

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." -Wayne Woodrow Hayes

Hovenaut's picture

See...he did have goals even way back when.

Nutty's picture

LMAO. The first time I wish I could upvote.

-1 HS
mshaf's picture

Is that a young Brady Hoke ?

Stinson's picture

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." -Wayne Woodrow Hayes

hodge's picture

It's interesting to think about how last year's offense operated, especially with the lack of Meyer's playmakers (outside of Miller)--it's a complete triumph of schematic football that we managed to go undefeated.  Without the big play, we had to rely solely upon steadily marching the football across the field.  Especially outside of Miller's contributions, almost everything else on offense was due to Herman, Meyer, and Warinner's schematic intuition.  I think that'll help us out a lot this year--as last year served as a "Spread Fundamentals" clinic, this year will be when we see the offense running like a fine-tuned machine.  I haven't been this pumped for a Buckeye offense since 2006.

jaxbuckeye's picture

"The halcyon days of wide-bodied linemen, pro-style quarterbacks and 25-carry-per-game running backs were in the rearview mirror.  Nimble linemen, dual-threat quarterbacks and versatile backs and receivers are now the direct route to a national championship."
Alabama would disagree.

buckeyestu's picture

I agree that alabama would disagree

osujake9's picture

I agree, that you agree, that Alabama would disagree.

Urban Nation Army's picture

I agree....

Bet you can't say "Bert Bielma is a bumbling buffoon" five times fast.

awarren84's picture

I disagree...

"Anything less than flagrant is just playing grab ass!"

SOF_Buckeye's picture

In a sense, so would I. Speed is essential, but the ability to stop a strong running game is also. The lines, both D and O, need to be strong, big, and FAST. That is the difference. While the weight being lost (fat) was focused on, the weight being gained (muscle), hasn't been. Still need size, but strong, lean, and fast.

"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender." Woody Hayes

iamcbs's picture

You speak the truth JB, Nick Saban wins Championships with wide-bodied linemen, who become NFL 1st Round Draft Picks and get paid a ton of money, pro-style QB's and 25-carry-per game RB's. Flash is nice for the fans and message Boards, but the 2-Time Defending National Champions do it differently!!

I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep, I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion~Alexander the Great

InHartWeTrust's picture

He wins with well coached "wide bodied" lineman (what lineman isn' a wide body?!) that are quick on their feet, and have good hands.
He wins with a stable of quick and powerful backs.
He wins with speed on the outside with his WR's (albeit Saban's are bigger and less elusive).
He wins with stout defenses that are strong and fast.
The only difference from the quote from the article being the dual threat quarterback...which Urban has proven he knows what he is doing with.  I don't see any issue with the quote in the article, unless you inaccurately micro analyze it.

villagebuckeye's picture

It's about personnel, coaching and leadership

jaxbuckeye's picture

My point is that there is never just one way to win a championship.  Urban's won it his way.  Saban's won it his.  No different than in any other sport.  The Showtime Lakers have won, but so have the Bad Boy Pistons.  It's all about the Jimmys and the Joes!

hodge's picture

...and phallic?

avail31678's picture

On the subject of phallic, it bodes well for me that speed impresses some.

1MechEng's picture

Upvote for the Buckeye Bullet!

Citrus's picture

Allow me to offer the first "concern" of the thread. Last year, we lost time of possession nearly every game. That certainly put more strain on the D and resulted in more points being allowed than would have otherwise occurred. This was despite a methodical offense. This year, I think we all agree there should be more "quick strikes" on offense due to the plethora of playmakers. It seems that the D will be on the field for a long time. 

Perhaps it doesn't matter? Thoughts? 

Larryp713's picture

I think the coaches showed last year that they can eat clock when they need to. With the stable of big backs and two quality tight ends, as well as great possession receivers, it seems the Buckeyes can play ball control when they need to (unlike Oregon, frankly). And it doesn't matter if you give up a couple scores if you are putting up 70 per game.
But to your pont, D-line depth will be very important, as it always is for quick strike offensive teams.



Oyster's picture

And in a close game that will come back to bite you in the 4th, when the other guys can put together a clock eating drive and the defense has no answer.  I have always been a TOP advocate.  One of the first stats I look at.

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

CC's picture

Miami won 5 national championships without one scoring drive over 40 seconds...
Kidding of course, but they disprove the TOP argument...

MassiveAttack's picture

TOP is one of the most overrated statistics in all of football.  A defense can have no answer for a quick hitting offense, just as much as a time-consuming offense.  You still have to score points for clock eating to even matter. 
I would say it used to be a much more important stat, but if you can score quickly most every time you get the ball.  TOP is worthless.  There are tons of teams who drive the ball down the field getting lots of first downs, then fail to score touchdowns in the red zone.
Look at this list.  Alabama and Notre Dame weren't even in the top 10.  Almost every team in the top 50 had 3 or more losses last year.

The Ohio State University - "Haters love us!"

NYCBuckeye's picture

Agree with you here, citrus - which is likely why the coaches have focused so much on defensive line depth and secondary depth. If it is the case that we are breaking a number of big plays and we lose the TOP battle (which I think is an overrated stat), I'm fine with that. If last year's Michigan State game is any indication, I think OSU is very capable is grinding down the clock late in the 4th if need be.

Larryp713's picture

I have said it before, but Dontre reminds me of DeAnthony Thomas to Oregon. I was reading all the hype about him and thought he would fizzle there... I was very wrong obviously. Thomas is terrifying every time he touches the ball. Dontre seems to be poised to have that same type of impact. Coaches Meyer and Hermann must feel like kids in a candy store. Two and half more weeks!!!



avail31678's picture

Ohio State averaged 37.2 points per game last year. That number is expected to be dwarfed this season, thanks to the fine-tuning via the speedsters.

O.  M.  G.  *drools*

Doc's picture

I'll believe it when I see it.  I'm trying not to be a "Doubting Thomas", but this just seems to good to be true.  I can't believe it will be "our" team that has the advantage, the speed, the unstoppable point a second offense.  I'm like a kid the week before Christmas hoping Santa brings me that new shiny ten speed I've been longing for for months.  This is going to be so fun to watch.  I can not wait!

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

avail31678's picture

It is hard to believe.  We always seem to be lacking in offense.  It seems other schools put out great passing QB's like factories, but why does it always seem like our passing game struggles?  etc. etc. etc.
But I think Buckeye fans are poised to enjoy a whole new offense and excitement.  I love Buckeye games, and have always enjoyed them all, but there's been many many games that have probably taken years off my life.  Won't it be nice to finally have more FUN watching them?!  I'm all in and hope this teams lives up to the hype.

Scott's picture

Is that photo of a different #1 on the team? Look like the guy pictured has dreads.

Class of 2008

InHartWeTrust's picture

It's not August 31st yet is it?!

chitown buckeye's picture


"I'm having a heart attack!"

pjtobin's picture

I don't know what to think. Dontre hasn't played a down yet but he is getting so much hype. I just hope we aren't wrong getting pumped up about him. Only a few more weeks and I hope to witness something totally awesome and he is as good as advertised. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

moopdawg's picture

Heard everyone is doing their quick cals even quicker than last year.  And you guessed it, Dontre does it the fastest.
Seriously though, speedy guys are way cool.  But I'm glad we also have bruisers like Hyde and Smith for when it's time to get down and dirty.  I was at the Rose Bowl when we took care of Oregon and I remember the feeling of knowing the game was over when Oregon missed a field goal with about 4 minutes left in the 4th.  Oregon's little speedy guys weren't going to touch the ball for the rest of the game -- our big physical O-line and our backs took care of that.  It was fun laughing at the arrogant Oregon fans sitting behind me.

ChazBuckeye's picture

"Nimble linemen, dual-threat quarterbacks and versatile backs and receivers are now the direct route to a national championship. Meyer is familiar with the process. Two national championships at Florida convey that message loudly."

I would agree with this no???  Bama does what they do well and OSU will too once the season starts (and as Meyer said, if they stay healthy).  I have a feeling if they stay healthy the B1G is in for a rude awakening.  Personally, I think we match up well with Bama except their Oline and our inexperienced/young but good Dline(remember though, their Oline will be young and inexperienced too since 3/4s of them graduated/moved on to the NFL).  This could be a HUGE factor in that game if it happens.  However, by then, OSU's Dline may be one of the best young Dlines in the country (as Bama could have one of the best young Olines). Lots to prove between now and January, but the stars are aligning if you ask this Buckeye fan

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

CC's picture

Their O-Line is replacing 4 starters.  The similarity continues as they too will replace the line with 4 and 5 star unproven players.  I have a feeling by the end of the year we won't hear many concerns about their O-Line and our D-Line.

BuckeyeSouth's picture

Agreed, but don't forget that it was a team with a dynamic dual-threat quarterback that beat Bama last year.  Obviously they are very good but I like our chances against them with Miller running the show.

Champions.  Undisputed.  

buckeyepastor's picture

Ah, memories of Teddy Ginn scatting through defenses from 2004-2006 coming to mind.   We have had great backs and receivers and QBs since Ginn, but we have not had someone like him since then; someone who could be penned in and well-covered and just completely shake loose. 
Well, Miller has that sort of escapability, as well.   But to have it from someone who gets the ball already in the open field - oh, we have missed this.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

jaxbuckeye's picture

"Meyer is familiar with the process. Two national championships at Florida convey that message loudly."
Need to add "Edit:"  That was not in the original article.
Did you add this as a response to my post?

CowCat's picture

I'll be concerned if our offense scores on long drives quickly, but our defense allows the opponent to drive 60-80 yards, wearing us down.
If we score a ton because our D consistently gives our offense a short field, there won't be an issue.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

moopdawg's picture

Yeah.  I was pissed last year when we scored plus 50 and barely beat Indiana.  Was very glad to see our defense play much better after that particular game.  Boren at linebacker, once he got comfortable, made a HUGE difference.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Speed speed and more speed is great, but still think it's nice to have a powerful RB like a Carlos Hyde or a Rod Smith in your tool box.  I realize Hyde is in the doghouse right now, but I don't think he gets enough credit for the undefeated season.  When Brax was starting to wear down a tad at the end of last season Hyde was busting through holes (OLine really came around too) picking up nice yardage.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

Jason Priestas's picture

C'mon, we linked to this comment in the opening graf. What does HumbleBuckeye have to do for some upvotes?

Earle's picture

Just read that thread.  That's some good cloak and dagger stuff.

Snarkies gonna snark. 

BuckeyeBoyer85's picture

That's awesome.

Wayne Woodrow Hayes

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Great article Kyle.  We've definitely got some speed on the team now.  More to come next year too!  Can't wait for the first game to get here!!
Go Bucks!

buckskin's picture

Who wants to go fast??  I wanna go fast!