Skull Session: Urban Meyer's Offense Needs Change, J.K. Dobbins Could Run Over Army, Options Ahoy

By D.J. Byrnes on September 13, 2017 at 4:59 am
Nick Bosa sacks Baker Mayfield for the September 13 2017 Skull Session.

Thank you, humble readers, for talking me off the ledge yesterday. After a week hiatus against the noble United States Army football team, "Get Dumped Then" will return with a vengeance.

Bad news for UNLV, indeed....


Word of the Day: Tenebrous.

 TIME AND CHANGE WILL SURELY SHOW. Meyer, Wilson, and Day are still working to mesh their offensive philosophies.

I thought that was what the offseason was for, but here we are with our team 1-1 in early September. What's been most rattling, however, is how little difference hiring a new OC and QB coach has had on the offense.

One common denominator is J.T. Barrett. The other is Urban Meyer. 


It's never been very difficult to figure out who is calling the shots in Ohio State's offense. Through Tom Herman, Ed Warinner and Tim Beck, and now Wilson and Day, the offense has not looked all that different. That's what Meyer means when he says it's the Ohio State offense. The basic philosophies remain the same, the bread and butter plays and concepts, while leaving some room for the coordinator to put his spin on it.

For Herman that was using tempo, something Meyer admitted wasn't his expertise when he brought Herman to Columbus. The Buckeyes got away from that with Warinner and Beck. Wilson and Day were tasked with bringing the tempo back, and revamping a passing game that had grown ineffective.

We're through two games of Wilson and Day, and while the sample size is small, a loss to Oklahoma highlighted the fact that Ohio State's offense is still stuck in an identity crisis, still stale and largely predictable.

Meyer should get out of the way and let Wilson cook. You don't hire a mind like that then treat him like an intern. 

Opposing coaches agree.


“I think it’s probably more the offense than the quarterback,” said a veteran coach who studied the Buckeyes intensely this offseason. “I like J.T. and think he’s a capable athlete. The offense is hindering his ability to excel. It’s more of the offense than the player, in my opinion.”


“There’s not a lot of creativity,” said the coach. “He’s doing a lot of the same things he did at Utah. We thought it would be different [with Kevin Wilson], but it hasn’t been.”

Look what hiring Joe Moorhead did for James Franklin. Penn State switched from an offense as tedious as a school board meeting to the most exciting offense in the Big Ten—something I'm still not comfortable typing.

Did Franklin become a galaxy brained guru overnight? No. He hired a Fordham coach and trusted him to do the job.

Meyer had a problem with delegation at Florida, and it appears it's followed him here. So let's hope a 34-year-old clown suiting him is a wakeup call.

 DOBBINS RIDES AGAIN. Despite the loss, my sources in Columbus confirmed last night that Columbus still stands. Better yet, Ohio Stadium is still capable of hosting a football game this week.

Army is on tap, and the Black Knights will have their hands full looking to corral J.K. Dobbins. 


Ahem. J.K. Dobbins should get his share of looks against a defense that has yet to face a real test, no disrespect to Fordham and Buffalo. The Black Knights were 48th in rushing defense by S&P+ last season, which is plenty respectable for a team whose recruiting is generally limited to two- and three-star recruits.

Whether or not Army can keep up that level of production remains to be seen. But the Buckeyes will likely run early and often, both to set the tempo and to give the lackluster passing game a little breathing room.

One matchup to look for: Dobbins (or Weber) looking for running room against Army LB Alex Aukerman. Aukerman was third on the team in tackles last season, and is the leading returning tackler for the Knights; the former two-star recruit made hay in 2016 to the tune of 15 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. The Buckeyes should still win this one handily, but the backs will still have to work early against a formerly-awful team on a quick rise.

Dobbins has been one of about three bright spots on offense so far, though you can tell he has an instinctual tic of cutting inside despite more space outside. If Weber is anything less than 100%, Ohio State should sit him and pound Dobbins and Antonio Williams.

And hey, maybe the staff can locate Demario McCall, the greatest football player to ever lace 'em up for Ohio State, to get him a few touches too. That'd be swell.

 AN OPTION TEAM!? Here's a video that almost caused me to go to my kitchen Sunday morning and pour a big ol' glass of Drano. 

After 72 hours to cool down, I'm more open to the idea.

From Kyle Morgan of

If the quarterback and receivers can be on the same page and read the technique of the defender, this will open up the field and provide easier throws in the long run.

Now, at times this approach can lead to turnovers due to miscommunication, but with a quarterback who holds the ball and can buy time, like J.T. Barrett, he will wait until it is absolutely confirmed that he and his intended target are on the same page.

Hell, run the triple option this week for all I care. I just want to see something different.

 SCAPEGOATS: LOCATED. I'm over the loss to Oklahoma, but I understand entirely if you're not. If you're still looking for a scapegoat, please put all blame on the fans that heckled Baker Mayfield.


On Tuesday, Ian Fitzsimmons said that at the start of the second half, Mayfield lost it with the fans and told them he was going to lead Oklahoma to a comeback.

"There were a group of Buckeye fans that were beyond over-served," Fitzsimmons said, adding, "these guys are just wearing [Mayfield] out."

He continued: "[Mayfield] turns around and goes 'Get ready, I'm about to hang six on you bleeping bleepers.' He goes, leads them right down the field. Score's tied at 10 and he goes right to the bench, stands up on the bench, and just lets the Buckeyes fans behind him that were giving to Baker, he turns at them and says, 'You like that one? I got three or four more that's coming up. Get ready.'"

Ohio State fans... beyond over-served? Not sure if I believe that one.

 BIG BLUE FANS BOO TEAM. Here's a silver lining thus far: Michigan's offense has looked pedestrian for large swaths of play so far this season. In fact, the Wolverines' O looked so bad against Cincinnati, their fans booed them off the field at halftime.

Players can hear that, and it's not productive.


"We heard the boos," fifth-year fullback Khalid Hill told media on Monday. "That is dealing with Michigan fans, though. They always have been that way. I was a part of that 5-7 year (2014) when we weren't good. We didn't even make it to a bowl game and were getting booed by the home crowd all the time.

"But like I said, if you are going to criticize, criticize. Don't boo us and then hooray when we score a touchdown. It is your job as fans to help us, influence us, get us going. That is why you come to the games, to help us. Don't boo us, because we look to you all to get us hyped."

Fans who boo amateur athletes should be put in prison. Sorry for the spicy take, but it's true.

Silence sends the same message.

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