Ohio State Better Positioned in 2018 Than in 2011 For Success on The Field Despite Possible Coaching Change

By James Grega on August 5, 2018 at 7:45 am
Dwayne Haskins, Joe Bauserman

The last time Ohio State went though a coaching controversy of this magnitude, the roster that was left when Jim Tressel left Columbus was a skeleton of what it had been in years past. 

With Terrelle Pryor gone and the likes of Dan Herron, Mike Adams, DeVier Posey and Solomon Thomas suspended, Ohio State's roster went from one that looked as though it could still contend for a Big Ten title to one that barely managed to make a bowl game. 

Fast forward seven seasons later, and Ohio State is in a very similar situation. 

Urban Meyer is on paid administrative leave and under investigation following accusations that he knew about Zach Smith's alleged domestic violence history, specifically an incident in 2015. Meyer has since admitted he knew about such allegations and reported them to the "proper channels," after he denied knowing about such allegations at Big Ten Media Days on July 24. 

Nick Bosa
Ohio State's 2018 roster is far and away better than the one Jim Tressel left behind in 2011, in part because of players like Nick Bosa.

Meyer's future as Ohio State's head coach is still very much in the air, but one thing that is not is the talent on the field for the Buckeyes. 

In 2011, when Luke Fickell took over for Tressel, Ohio State was going through similar position battles, but the talent at those positions wasn't what it is now. 

Seven years ago, Joe Bauserman and a freshman Braxton Miller were battling for a quarterback position that ultimately went to Bauserman for the first three games of the year, of which Ohio State won two, albeit against Akron and Toledo. Now, the Buckeye quarterbacks battling it out are Dwayne Haskins and Tate Martell, one of which has played in The Game and won against Michigan, while the other was a highly touted five-star prospect. 

The talent gap from 2011 to 2018 doesn't stop at quarterback. Currently, Ohio State is working with two of the best running backs in the Big Ten (if not the country) in its backfield and an offensive line that returns starters Isaiah Prince, Michael Jordan, Demetrius Knox and Branden Bowen. The Buckeyes also bring back a plethora of wide receivers with multiple years of playing experience.

In 2011, Ohio State's top two receivers were a freshman Devin Smith and a sophomore Corey "Philly" Brown. This isn't to say that Smith and Brown weren't extremely talented, but they were very inexperienced and thrown into a situation that was likely too big for them to handle at the time. 

On the defensive side, the story is very much the same. While the 2011 defense featured plenty of young talent in freshmen Bradley Roby and Ryan Shazier, the Buckeyes were largely inexperienced or featured veteran players that had yet to make a significant impact on the program. Three of the four leading tacklers on the 2011 squad were sophomores playing their first significant reps as Buckeyes as C.J. Barnett, Christian Bryant and Johnathan Hankins ranked first, third and fourth on the team in tackles. 

The 2018 Buckeye defense features the likes of Nick Bosa and Chase Young, who figure to book-end one of, if not the, best defensive lines in the conference. In addition, Jordan Fuller is set to patrol a defensive secondary that despite losing Denzel Ward, returns Kendall Sheffield and Damon Arnette, two cornerbacks with plenty of experience. 

Not only is the talent on the field better, but the assistant coaching staff is perhaps the strongest in the country. Greg Schiano and Kevin Wilson both have head coaching experience while acting head coach Ryan Day is one of the game's youngest and brightest up-and-coming stars. Add in perhaps the best defensive line coach in the country in Larry Johnson, and you have a coaching staff that is light years ahead of the 2011 staff, which featured names like Jim Bollman and Nick Siciliano.

If Urban Meyer is no longer the head coach at Ohio State when the 2018 season starts, there is no denying that it will be a distraction and a major hit to a program that has been built back up by the man who started his college coaching career in Columbus as a graduate assistant. 

However, this team is built to sustain its success with the talent it has on the field and on the sideline which should keep the ship moving forward, even perhaps without its captain. 

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