When a team gets totally blown out in 4 of its last 21 game (i.e., being humiliated on a national stage against Clemson, Oklahoma, Iowa, and now Purdue), which is a rate of nearly one huge embarrassment in every five games, or roughly 20%, it’s time to start asking some questions.
Unfortunately, reporters covering college football teams notoriously avoid asking hard question of their coaches, especially when the latter are living legends who make millions of dollars, and they fear being blackballed.
Still, if nothing else, I thought I’d list some of the hard questions that I’d like to hear Urban Meyer and company answer, and I’d love to hear what questions everybody else would like to ask if they wielded a microphone at tomorrow's Monday presser?
It's be interesting to compare the questions posed here vs. the ones that the reporters cover Oho State football actually dare to ask... or don't.
1) In the aftermath of the Purdue game, you stated once again that you “love” your coaching staff, and some fans are wondering about the basis of your fondness for them. Given that Ohio State has now suffered humiliating blowouts on a national stage in roughly 20% of its last 21 games, despite having a roster full of talent that is unsurpassed in college football, which is certainly a credit to you, but beyond recruiting, do you feel that your highly-paid coaching staff has earned its paychecks? If not, then why not? And will you commit today to promising that barring an immediate improvement, you will make major cuts to staff salaries, including your own, or else fire coaches in the offseason, because no matter how much you love them, their pay is based on performance?
2) Coach Meyer, the 2018 squad appears to be the first team you’ve coached at Ohio State that is regressing rather than progressing as the season wears on, and when you combine it with last year, the trend is starting to parallel the end of your stay at Florida. What’s your explanation for that?
3) Have your off-the-field problems disrupted the team’s performance, because more than a few people have noticed that the team's performance seems to have taken a dip ever since you returned?
4) If coaching is falling short, can you identify the specific areas where it has fallen short? To that end, which would you identify as the biggest problems—talent evaluation, player execution, team preparation, team motivation, schematic problems or game-day decisions? We know it isn't securing, so for the sake of fans, please be as specific as possible about exactly how the players or coaching staff has fallen short in any of these areas, and then specifically, what you will you do to remedy the situation, if anything?
5) The Buckeyes have two running backs that have already proven their ability to be exceptionally effective, however, as a matter of record, none of your offensive linemen have previously proven themselves as starters at their current positions, that is, with the exception of Isaiah Prince, who’s been struggling more and more as the season wears on. So, after eight games, since the offensive line has shown a clear and consistent inability to push defensive lineman forward even if a little, which is the fundamental basis of line play, much less outstanding line play, is it time to concede that you might have overestimated their ability to get or sustain or push?
6) Along those same lines, have you possibly underestimated the ability of some of the highly-touted linemen who are currently sitting on the bench? Doesn’t the current, proven trend of poor performance by the starters merit playing time for backups like Davis, Myers, Petit-Frere and others, at least giving them a chance to prove themselves? Or are they really so bad that it’s inconceivable for them to replace poor offensive lineman? By the same token, doesn’t the similar poor performance of your safeties merit an opportunity for backups, or are the backup DBs really that bad, too?
7) Given how ineffectively you’ve run the ball, and because of that ineffectiveness, given how infrequently you now call run plays, isn’t it time to choose between either Dobbins or Weber, i.e., letting one or the other stay on the field so as to get a chance to establish some sort of rhythm? In fact, in general, isn’t it time to stop worrying about hurting anybody’s feelings and simply give the best players the best chance to succeed?
8) Despite turnover to the NFL, Kerry Coombs was able to crank out great defensive backs who were always ready to play—year-after-year, they always knew their positions and executed their assignments. What has Coach Tavers failed to do that might explain why he’s fallen so short with recruits that have been every bit as highly-rated as the talent that Coach Coombs handled? And without making a coaching change, don't you fear that talent high school defensive backs will avoid coming to Ohio State, knowing that they'll only take a step backward under Tavers?
9) Here’s a question that most Buckeye fans are feeling, so I’ll just say what’s on the minds of so many Buckeye fans: Why isn’t it a mistake that you hired Billy Davis and how can you justify keeping him on staff for even another day given his failure to be able to effectively communicate with his players and make the most of their potential? We have highly-touted recruits at linebacker, and no sooner do they arrive at campus than they immediately take as step backwards. First, have you even noticed this trend? Second, are you going to do something about it? And third, without making a coaching change, don't you fear that talent high school linebackers will avoid coming to Ohio State, knowing that they'll only take a step backward under Davis?
So, those are just some the questions I have, but again, I’d love to hear what YOU would ask Urban Meyer at tomorrow president conference?