Let’s just get this out of the way now: Ohio State doesn’t plan to blow up its offense and start from scratch.
The Buckeyes struggled offensively Saturday in a 24-21 loss to Penn State. Urban Meyer knows as much. But if you were expecting there to be wholesale changes to the offense after the seventh game of the season, well, prepare to be a bit disappointed.
“It’s hard to put it on one thing,” Meyer said Monday during his weekly press conference. “We did not play very well in a couple of areas on offense. What do you do? You just identify it, work on it, make personnel changes if you have to and move on to the next game.”
There seem to be three big areas of concern in regards to Ohio State’s offense right now: the offensive line, the wide receivers’ ability to get open and the play calling. Meyer said Monday two of those three things won’t be changing.
On the offensive line, he said: “Conversations about any personnel changes usually go on today. I don’t foresee that, but we need to improve.”
Most notably, sophomore right tackle Isaiah Prince struggled in the loss to the Nittany Lions. As a whole, Ohio State gave up six sacks and 11 tackles for loss as the Penn State defensive line swarmed quarterback J.T. Barrett and the running game — particularly in the second half.
Meyer said right now there won’t be a change made at right tackle because, well, there simply isn’t another option. The Buckeyes lost Malcolm Pridgeon during fall camp to a knee injury and redshirt freshman Branden Bowen simply isn’t ready yet.
“There’s not someone right now to replace [Prince],” Meyer said. “He will be a fine player. He just needs to continue to grow because he’s played, at times, exceptional.”
Meyer also said the way Ohio State calls its offensive plays isn’t going to change either. Co-offensive coordinators Ed Warinner and Tim Beck will remain in the press box and Meyer will continue to have a heavy influence on the offense.
“I feel OK,” he said. “I’m not going to change it. We’ve just go to get a little bitter, but I feel OK with it.”
The wide receivers struggled again to get open against a more-than-game Penn State secondary. Meyer didn’t specifically mention any changes to the wide receiver group, and that the Buckeyes still intend to use their slightly-trimmed rotation, but did add young freshman wideouts Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor, who some are calling for to play more, are “really coming, but just not in those situations to be able to put them in there yet.”
As far as the rest of the wide receivers, Meyer noted improvement is necessary.
“You kind of wish one would separate, but I don’t see that happening,” he said. “Noah [Brown] is a pretty reliable guy and had nice plays, but the other ones need to elevate.”
Ohio State lost a game. The sky is not falling.
“As we sit here and the world is ending, the sun came up and it’s incredible,” offensive lineman Billy Price joked.
There will surely be adjustments made, but wholesale changes for a 6-1 team that still has a good chance to play for a Big Ten championship and, in turn, make the College Football Playoff, aren’t coming.
"We’re going to find out what we’re made of,” Barrett said. “Everybody can be doing fine when we’re winning games and everybody’s happy, cheering, but when our backs are against the wall, things are against us?”
“We lost, so I think it really shows your true character, your true colors.”