Monday was supposed to be a day for all 10 of Ohio State’s assistant coaches to hit the road and recruit.
Coming off of Saturday’s 49-20 loss at Purdue, however, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer decided to keep his coordinators in town to address some of the more pressing issues regarding the way their team is playing on the field.
“Most of the staff was out recruiting, and I just felt it was really, not to take away from recruiting, but obviously, there’s some things that have to be corrected,” Meyer said Tuesday on the Big Ten football coaches’ teleconference.
Meyer said he and his coordinators met for more than 12 hours on Monday – which is the players’ scheduled off day – to have conversations about the team’s schemes on both sides of the ball and discuss what needs to be improved after its 29-point loss in West Lafayette.
With no game on the schedule this week, Meyer said this week is a crucial time for the coaching staff to evaluate its schemes and determine what it needs to work on over the next two weeks before its next game against Nebraska on Nov. 3.
“You can’t really have any scheme conversation during the year, during the season, ‘cause you only have practice Tuesday and Wednesday and then you go play the game,” Meyer said. “So this gives us a chance to evaluate, and if we want to work on things, work on it obviously this week and next week.”
Coming off of Saturday’s loss, Meyer said the Buckeyes have three “glaring” weaknesses that they need to improve: running the ball, scoring touchdowns in the red zone and eliminating big plays on defense.
“There’s other things we do very well, and then there’s things that we don’t. And it’s glaringly obvious what the issues are,” Meyer said. “And that’s the red zone on offense, the ability to run the ball when you have to run it, and then defense, it’s the damn big plays. And to pinpoint the issue within 20 seconds, you can’t do that. It’s more complicated than that, and that’s what we’re working on.”
Meyer said the Buckeyes are looking into possible schematic changes related to each of those issues. Asked whether they need to stop playing their linebackers so close to the line of scrimmage, after both former Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis and Purdue coach Jeff Brohm pointed that out as something opposing offenses are taking advantage of, Meyer said the coaches “are looking into that.”
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said that because Ohio State linebackers play so close to the line of scrimmage, he thought his offense would be able to make plays if it could get past the first level. "There was a bigger level between them and the safeties, because they play up so far."— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 23, 2018
Meyer said it was too early to say, however, whether this week’s conversations would lead to any dramatic changes in scheme.
“I think that’s not been determined yet,” Meyer said. “We’re going to practice some things, and we’ll know more.”
“There’s other things we do very well, and then there’s things that we don’t. And it’s glaringly obvious what the issues are.”– Urban Meyer
Meyer also responded to a report by Football Scoop’s Scott Roussel on Monday that indicated that “there is a tension that hasn’t been present in previous years” within the football program. While he said there is a recognition among the coaching staff that there are issues they need to work through, he said he would not use the word “tension” to describe the relationship between he and his fellow coaches.
“There’s things that need to be fixed,” Meyer said. “I wouldn’t call it tension. I’d call it day-to-day. Going to work and working on your weaknesses, get them fixed. So no, there’s no tension, it’s urgency, I’d call it.”
Meyer also refuted the notion within Football Scoop’s report that there is “friction” between himself and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith.
“I talk and work with Gene on darn near a daily basis, and no, there’s zero tension there,” Meyer said.
Ohio State was scheduled to hold a team meeting on Tuesday afternoon, in which Meyer said “there will be some things brought up” in regards to what the Buckeyes need to do better, before returning to the practice field.