What Urban Meyer Will Be Asked about at Big Ten Media Days

By Mike Young on July 28, 2014 at 8:15a
Urban Meyer holds court at 2013 Big Ten Media Days.
37 Comments

Big Ten Media Days are here, giving us the first indication of how close we are to football.

Before any action takes place on the field, it's time for the media to set up narratives that will either be supported or completely fall apart when the season actual starts. The SEC stranded media, coaches and players in Hoover, Alabama for four days and, since that point, every other conference used their media days as a prop to criticize (justifiably so) the SEC's scheduling habits and Nick Saban.  

The Big Ten has various story lines that should not be, in any way, related to the SEC – at least, I hope. The focus should be on multiple playoff contenders and new additions to the conference.

Ohio State is, certainly, one Big Ten school that "moves the needle" on its own, without dragging Alabama or any SEC school into the discussion. Urban Meyer will step to the podium, today, at 1:30. Without any major off-the-field stories to worry about – unlike last year – the focus will be on football-centric topics, such as: 

Braxton Miller's Shoulder

The last time we checked in on Ohio State's quarterback situation, fans could be heard praying for Braxton Miller's quick recovery after poor spring game performances by his backups.

With no Kenny Guiton to rescue the Buckeyes, the team would have to rely on either Cardale Jones or J.T. Barrett – that is, if Miller's shoulder isn't fully recovered from offseason shoulder surgery. Even if it is, Meyer will be asked about Miller's progress, especially as the OSU starting QB learned to fine-tune his mental approach to the game while sitting out all spring. 

Replacing Carlos Hyde

Carlos Hyde's absence will be significant, carrying even more weight than Guiton or any departed Buckeye. 

The list of talented replacements is endless, yet filled with unknown quantities. Ezekiel Elliott averaged nearly nine yards per carry last season, but that stat is padded by a 162-yard effort against Florida A&M. The sample size was limited to 30 carries, so is Meyer confident Elliott, or a combination of him, Rod Smith, Bri'onte Dunn and Warren Ball can be as reliable as Hyde was?

Improvement in the Secondary

On the other end of the spectrum, it will be similarly difficult to repeat the performance of last year's defensive backfield.

Under new co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash, the Ohio State secondary has nowhere to go but up. Even with a first-round NFL talent in Bradley Roby, the Buckeyes ranked 112th in pass defense. Ash specializes in simplifying coverage schemes and alignments up front, so the scheme issues shouldn't crop up again. The main concern is who lines up on the opposite side of Doran Grant. 

The Rise of Darron Lee

Other than Miller's rehab, linebacker Darron Lee was the biggest story to come from spring practice. 

Lee has not secured the starting "walkout" linebacker spot, but his play in practice indicates he's the favorite. Meyer consistently praised Lee this spring and, if he's asked about him again, the Buckeye head coach won't deviate from what he's already said about the sophomore linebacker. Is Meyer worried about the weight of those expectations, however?  

An Inexperienced Offensive Line

Ohio State's youth will likely to be more noticeable on the offensive line than any other spot on the field.

Taylor Decker's move to left tackle is natural, but the relative inexperience with rest of the line is what keeps Meyer up at night. Luckily, he can lean on the tremendous amount of success generated by offensive line coach Ed Warriner. The overhaul won't be as drastic as it was before the 2012 season, but both Meyer and Warriner will have to replace four multi-year starters in Jack Mewhort, Corey Linsley, Marcus Hall and Andrew Norwell. That is unprecedented their three-year tenures as Buckeye coaches. 

37 Comments

Comments

YTOWNBUCKI's picture

The offensive line is definitely my biggest worry for the Buckeyes.  It's tough to fill 1 or 2 spots so I can't even imagine a complete overhaul minus the right tackle.  It will be very interesting to see how their left tackle play shapes up as I think it was have a direct effect on Braxton's health.

+5 HS
mh277907's picture

That is definitely a worry of mine as well. However, we have, in my mind, one of the best offensive line coaches in America and at least two guys who are very good right now in Taylor Decker and Pat Elflein. Throw in Lindsey and the talent that we have recruited in the past couple of years and I think that unit will be just fine.

My number one concern until they prove to me that they can stop ANYTHING is the back 7. It has been the same issues for two years now.

buckeyebobcat

+7 HS
FitzBuck's picture

Did we think we would have a serviceable o line 3 years ago....we hoped we would.  The talent Wariner has to work with and the number of suitable replacements (see need to convert a tight end to a tackle) make me feel good about this year.  The secondary is still my first concern followed by Braxton's health.

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+2 HS
Hovenaut's picture

I remember Decker was slow out of the gate (rough, but understandable, game against Khalil Mack and Buffalo) and now he looks ready to shine.

There will be some early struggles, but I'm hopeful by the time the conference slate kicks in the line will have jelled and are prime down the stretch.

My first thoughts turn to the back seven, but I'm confident we'll see some improvement there as well. New faces, new philosophy...change is good.

I am not the Last Dragon, therefore I do not possess the power of the Glow.

+3 HS
AndyVance's picture

The Decker comparison is a really great example of why I'm not sweating our offensive line this season. After that first game or two, people were talking about Decker like he was the gosh-darn plague. End of the year, and he's one of the best heavy movers we've had in a while. That transformation is what we're going to see from two or three other guys this year - coaches Warinner and Mick do amazing things with young talent.

+4 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

Me neither, Andy!  With Warinner as our O-line coach, I would take our offensive line and coach over any others in the B1G.  Are we inexperienced?  Yes.

But am I worried?  Nope.

Marc Pocock (a.k.a NuttyBuckeye)

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

+1 HS
Shangheyed's picture

Oline is team unit, a good example of having an elite LT and a weak OL....look at scUM last year with there so called great LT drafted in top 10... they didn't average 2 yrds a carry.... Center is key to call the blocking schemes as important as LT... The good news is they get to practice DAILY against one of the best DL in the Nation... that will help.

Like all of us, I am hopefuly for a plague too... but even with Decker becoming a No. 1 draft pick is no guarantee of OL success.  This unit needs to come together as a team... may take a few games to play as a Unit...

I am still most worried about the OL as a Unit(not Decker), more so than DB(scheme was 50% of the issue last year).

My faith in Warinner is greater than my worry!  By B1G time... they will be ready.... but can't stop the worry!  

TossTrap's picture

Great offenses play with great precision. Great defenses play with great emotion.

The precision part keeps me up at night.

First and goal at the five and Arch is getting the ball.

MN Buckeye's picture

I just love what EZE brings to the offense, and I expect a breakout year from him.

+4 HS
11UrbzAndSpices's picture

I remember watching his HS films and thinking EZE is way better than Dontre, then Dontre explodes on the scene. If my analysis is correct, a break out year will happen. I do have high hopes for Elliot

Not stopping until I have more Helmet Stickers than M Man

+1 HS
Gametime's picture

Well:

Rushing Stats:

Ezekiel Elliott    30car    262yds    8.7ypc    57(long)    2TDS

Dontre Wilson    31car    250yds    8.1ypc    26(long)    1TDS

Dontre did most of his damage on passes in space, so it was only right that he move into that Hybrid spot,but as a rusher he had a better year than Dontre did (splitting hairs).

...I too dream in color and in rhyme
So I guess I'm one of a kind in a full house
Cause whenever I open my heart, my soul or my mouth
A touch of God rains out...

+2 HS
Buckeye5000's picture

"The Big Ten has various story lines that should not be, in any way, related to the SEC – at least, I hope."

Amen!

Although on Espin....that might be impossible for them not to make it about the S$C.

Go Bucks!

sharks's picture

Bet a dollar someone asks about Sprinkle and if there's a cultural problem in Cbus.

Edit: or about Mrs. Meyer's jorts comments

The postgame show is brought to you by... Christ, I can't find it. The hell with it...

+3 HS
Buckeye5000's picture

Or about TBDBITL

Go Bucks!

+3 HS
Run_Fido_Run's picture

On paper. we might expect some drop off at OL and RB, but I see upgrades at DL, LB, secondary, and WR more than making up the difference.

So, the two keys are:

  1. Will Braxton make that next "jump" this season - pocket presence and "chaos mechanics," decision making, throwing mechanics, command of the offense, sense of timing (of routes), etc. 
  2. How well and how quickly the defensive players and coaches integrate the hybrid schemes being hatched by Ash/Fickell/Urbz. 
+2 HS
rkylet83's picture

In my opinion this seasons success will depend upon the secondary stopping the constant busts in coverage that plagued us last season.  Coach Ash's influence on the secondary will make or break this season.  Giving up 2-3 big plays a game is unacceptable.  We were lucky to have an offense that could score 45+ points a game to keep us alive.

Our offense won't match last year, but if the defense can work out their issues it won't need to.  The 2013 offense was the best in school history, and it's unfortunate they weren't complimented by a competent defense.  I have complete confidence in the offensive staff to re-tool the offensive line and to re-work the scheme to fit the new skill position players.

+2 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

I don't know about not matching last year's performance.  I think the talent is deeper than last year and better at the receiver and slot positions.  Granted we lost the big horse in Hyde, but we have more speed at the RB position.  I wouldn't be suprised if this offense can average about the same PPG.

I would also bet that the defense ends up ranked in the top 30 in the country overall this year.

Marc Pocock (a.k.a NuttyBuckeye)

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

Findog5's picture

How about this lineman from Bama....I don't think this issue will be as big as we anticipate.  Coaching, talent, and in fact, some experience we should be just fine on the oline.

NCFinn

+1 HS
11UrbzAndSpices's picture

Still inexperienced in this offense.

Not stopping until I have more Helmet Stickers than M Man

buckeyedude's picture

And we have a senior QB. Ask an expert, and they'll tell u, most times, u need an experienced QB to have a successful season. I think the offense will be fine. I just dont want the defense to be offensive, like they were last year.

 

 

11UrbzAndSpices's picture

Okay, but Braxton isn't a lineman

Not stopping until I have more Helmet Stickers than M Man

Montana silver bullet's picture

I think EZE has more big play potential than El Guapo. I guarantee we'll see a few 50yd+ runs this season.  Although those tough short yardage situations might belong to Rod Smith or Dunn-

Montana Silver Bullet

Tater_Schroeder's picture

I'm very much looking forward to EZE being the feature back this year. He has definitely earned the opportunity.

He has quickly become one of my favorite players on this team, particularly because of his leadership and maturity off the field.

How Firm Thy Friendship

buckeyedude's picture

I like the entire Ezekiel family! They are all great recruiters for OSU. Urban should put them on the payroll.

 

 

FROMTHE18's picture

One question that needs to be asked: How will we utilise the speed and athleticism of Dontre and Curtis Samuel. We know Dontre, but having two elite athletes on the field at once, it'd be interesting to hear what the plans are for that scenario. 

+1 HS
Young_Turk's picture

If the order of this list was meant to imply significance, I would sequence it...1)  Secondary 2)  Offensive Line 3)  Braxton's health 4) Linebackers 5) Replace El Guapo.

+1 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

EZE is going to be an excellent running back.  What everyone seems to overlook is the supposedly padded 162 yards against Florida A&M was that the Buckeyes were running the ball every play and A&M knew they were running every play and still couldn't stop him.  He is a force and will continue to be a force.  Want a second opinion ask Penn State.

Buckeye in Texas

+1 HS
Killer nuts's picture

I also hope someone asks him which freshman he thinks will be contributors and which WRs he sees stepping up and providing production this season

BuckToAsT's picture

Where did all the Dontre hype go? I think he'll be a huge part of our offense this season.

BayCountyBuck's picture

Really looking forward to seeing what Coach Herman can do with this offense, the playmakers seem to be in place, I trust Coach Warriner to have the O-line ready to go, inexperienced yes, but hopefully #5 stays upright and continues to develop and the playmakers can take some pressure off the developing O-line rather than reverse, as has been the case for 2 seasons. I too am beyond anxious about the Defensive backfield, I witnessed The Game, in person, first time last year, and then made the trip to Miami for the Orange Bowl, it's been a long off season.

PortlandBuckeye45's picture

Lets go back a year ago, everyone was all on our Defensive line. Saying that we were losing all of our seniors. inexperiance. blah blah blah. Same story this year, just different side. Um all that "inexperiance' end up being on of the best, if not the best DL in all of College FB.
 

Urban has proved he can fill holes real quick. 2012 and 2013. now to continue the chase. 2014

+1 HS
Bucksfan70's picture

we're going to whip ass on everyone.

“Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't.” - Jerry Rice

+2 HS
buckeyedude's picture

I like the way you think.

 

 

+1 HS
brbrbuckeye's picture

Ezekiel Elliott, if he is indeed our starter, will get over 1000 yards rushing. Our WR's will bring us up to the top 50 or 60, which will be enough offense to score by 20+ point margins in most of our games. If our defensive scheme has been corrected, we have the talent to walk undefeated into the playoffs. Because Warriner is our coach, not Bollman, I am not worried one bit about our offense.

GO BUCKS!!! URBAN RENEWAL!

+1 HS
brbrbuckeye's picture

Don't forget, these inexperienced players are Urbans. His schemes weren't working with Tressel's players. Why did that surprise people?

GO BUCKS!!! URBAN RENEWAL!

MikeTheBuckeye's picture

I'm Giddy about seeing Braxton, and his improvements, on game day again. I believe Ezekiel will be a suitable replacement and probably provide more big plays than Hyde did last year (that highlight video of him was awful, by the way. I understand he didn't play much last year, but it was the same few plays over and over.) The defense will be wildly improved from last year. Definitely within the nations top 25. The O-line will be the biggest concern but I have faith in Ed Warriner's ability to develops players. By the end of the season, it will be a completely different group than what we will see in game  one.

Maestro's picture

Storyline 

Can't wait to return to Indy for a reverse of fortunes.

vacuuming sucks