I'm pretty sure that we have already entered a time in which, to have a particular point of view on this matter (shall we say the "liberal" view) is acceptable, even encouraged, while to have any alternate point of view is deemed unacceptable, even "hateful." Even on a sports website.
I would think that you would first want to build an offensive philosophy around the player skill set that you have. That is one of the primary objectives of spring ball . . . find out the offensive skill set that you have. What are you likely to do well with the players that you have . . . then develop it and do it.
With Carlos Hyde gone, maybe the power run game is less of a factor next year. With Braxton Miller returning for his senior year, can he improve his passing technique and reads, so that the passing game becomes a more central part of the offense? How does the offensive line stack up . . . strong at run or pass? How do we get the experience and capability at tight end more central within the offense scheme, with Jeff Heuerman returning? How do you utilize the skills that you have, especially developing offensive plays using multiple backs, perhaps one in the slot given all the speed and talent at that position next year.
There is too much offensive talent on the 2014 team not to use it both broadly and extensively. Broaden the offensive approach, within the skill set that is displayed in the spring. You're right, there is too much talent on the offensive side of the ball, so many options on this team, for it to be predictable. Diversify the play set, while not making it too complicated, seems to be the key for next year's offense.
Since offenses have become so dominant, defensive strategy and tactics needs to be more explicitly defined and refined. Old school defense won't cut it anymore. You hear a lot of talk about aggression on defense. It's necessary. A reactive defense, with today's sophisticated offenses, is not a winning strategy. But it must be smart and measured aggression, ultimately selective in its execution . . . at the right point in the opposition offense's possession. Finally, these modern defensive schemes and adjustments must not be too complicated for players to learn and to execute.
While talent in players is critical, as is the on-going development of that talent, with today's sophisticated offenses, both pre-game defensive strategy and during-the-game adjustments are often what wins football games, especially important games. A defensive coaching staff that can make adjustments on-the-fly to what offenses are executing successfully, is a capability that will win most of the important games. More than on offense, the heart of an excellent defense is an excellent defensive coaching staff. Said another way, while offense can be built around an individual player's talents, defense must be more of a team approach, beginning with coaching.
And as a recent example of in-game defensive adjustment, if Carlos Hyde consistently gains 5+ yards per carry, the defense - let's say Michigan State's defense - must adjust to stop Carlos Hyde . . . unless, of course, the offense stops calling the play (!?!?!?!?).
Successful recruiting is a critical, early stage in a winning football program. It is a key element, but it is not sufficient.
Once the talent is here, it needs to be developed and coached. Something is missing if Ohio State repeatedly has among the best recruiting classes in the country, and the best recruiting class in the B1G, but is not consistently winning the big games.
I firmly believe that Urban Meyer is the right man for the job and is on the right track, but there has been something missing in the development of talent and the coaching, both pre-game preparation and during-the-game adjustments, on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. The problem, especially if it is coaching, and whether it is personnel or approach, needs to be determined and corrected.
Although losing Mike Vrabel was a blow, the hiring of coaches Johnson and Ash are steps in the right direction. Now the question becomes what more needs to be done to ensure that Ohio State is an elite football team . . . most importantly, consistently winning conference championships and bowl games. The last two years of recruiting at Ohio State under Coach Meyer have been excellent, now we need to see the results on the field.
And Michigan State is clearly doing something right. Perhaps we can learn from their success.
Don't underestimate Michigan State. So what if their recruiting classes have not been/are not impressive. They beat us with "lesser" recruits last year . . . with better coaching.
This team has lots of talent on the defensive side of the ball . . . and more is coming. Ohio State fans deserve the best . . . and that includes coaching. Overall, the play on the defensive side of the ball last year was unacceptable, especially the last three games. It seems like the defensive play never really developed or improved over the year, especially considering the importance of the final three games, the season's big rivalry game: Michigan, B1G championship: Michigan State, Orange Bowl: Clemson. Ultimately, this falls on the coaches.
I have confidence that Coach Meyer knows what he is doing and will fix things, ultimately making the right football moves, even in the face of the challenges of personal relationships.
I don't want to necessarily blame anybody, I just want the defense to be the best it can be. Competent coaching is the foundation of a good defense. If giving coaches extra titles helps accomplishes that, without interfering with the effective implementation of the defensive scheme, fine.
Imagine if, early in the Michigan State championship game, Braxton Miller, Kenny Guiton and Dontre Wilson had lined up together on the offensive side of the ball . . . that is throwing a monkey wrench into a defensive game plan.
Make the defense react to the unforeseen . . . in real time. Do not play into a defense's hands, and do the expected. I kept hoping for it . . . even if only a couple times . . . but it never happened.
Thanks for the clarification . . . is the co-OC/DC designation common today in college football? I understand the in-the-booth/on-the-field approach to coaching during a game, but I guess I'm old fashioned . . . ultimately one coach should be in charge of the defense, both practically and in name.
If Ash and Fickell are co-defensive coordinators next year, who will have the last say with regards to scheme and overall approach on the defensive side of the ball? I'm thinking more in terms of general defensive scheme/strategy and pre-game defensive tactics, not during-the-game play calling.
I've never really understood the practical reasons for "co-defensive coordinators."
Shouldn't one guy clearly be in charge of the defense? Probably more than on the offensive side of the ball, the defense needs a clear, unambiguous identity . . . a unifying approach to attacking the opposition offense. Without this, defenses become too reactive, unfocussed and confusion ensues. Am I wrong here?
And if there is any consolation to losing Mike Vrabel, it is the hiring of Larry Johnson, Sr.. Great save by Coach Meyer.