Meet The Coaches: Offensive Edition

This is another Guest Post from MotSaG reader and blogger hopeful Matthew “Porter” Coffman. We are allowing all those interested in blogging with us to submit an “audition” article or two to get used to the format and as a way for the rest of you MotSaG’ers to get to know them. This is Matt’s second submission.

GETTING OFFENSIVE: A LOOK AT THE BUCKEYE OFFENSIVE STAFF

Picking up with where we left off, we turn to the coaching staff that will do its best to make us forget that offensive gameplans such as this ever occurred.

In addition to bringing back the forward pass, the Buckeye offense will look to improve upon last year’s anemic production ranking 104 in total offense, 114 in passing yards, and 29 in rushing among the FBS schools. While the rushing production kept the relatively one dimensional offense moving, it won’t be difficult to improve all of the offensive statistics with a more balance, multifaceted attack.

Tom Herman

Molded with the ideals of Coach Meyer, Tom Herman will lead the Buckeye offense and will also be in charge of developing the quarterbacks here at Ohio State. In a previous stop at Rice University, Herman led the Owls to finish in the top ten nationally in passing offense, scoring offense, and total offense in 2008. In his two years with the Owls, Herman’s offenses broke over 40 school records. Then, in his most recent season at Iowa State, the Cyclones averaged nearly 390 yard per game under Herman’s direction.

Earlier this week, Coach Herman said that the Buckeye passing offense had improved on a scale of 1 to 10 from a 2 in the spring to a 4. Herman continued “lightyears, lightyears, lightyears, lightyears better. We actually can throw and catch a football.” He did, however, admit that the Buckeyes passing offense is “still not real good” but it is a “lot better” than at the end of the spring, crediting the work during the offseason for the improvement.

The progression has also been noted in the Buckeyes young signal caller, sophomore Braxton Miller, as Herman explained that “he’s a lot more mentally confident and you can see a little bounce in his step. He’s certainly still got a long ways to go, but you can tell he studied in the offseason and he’s worked with his wideouts in the offseason and that’s paid dividends here as we’ve started camp.”

And when asked to comment on how the offensive philosophy would change with the injury to Jordan Hall, Coach Herman explained, “There’s a misnomer that the spread [offense] has to be finesse.” He continued “we certainly pride ourselves in being able to run the ball downhill. We just happen to do it by incorporating the quarterback in the run game and a few other bells and whistles here and there. But the runs are the same as they were in 1965. So I don’t know that our running-game philosophy will change much. We will have to figure out ways to get the ball on the perimeter maybe a touch more. But that’s not that difficult to do as a staff.”

I know I am not the only one who thinks that it sounds like we have a staff who is able to get the best out of its players and get the ball in the hands of the playmakers.

Ed Warinner

Assisting Herman in his duties as Offensive Coordinator is Co-Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach Ed Warinner, who will replace the creator of Walrusball who has taken his “talents” to the East Coast. Coach Warinner is the perfect complement to Herman’s spread attack through the air as he has helped coach four schools to lead the nation in rushing. In addition, in his two years at Notre Dame, not only did Warinner coach the team to its best per carry rushing averages since 2003, but his teams also only allowed 17 sacks this past season and 20 in 2010. Braxton Miller will be the first to welcome lower sack numbers as he was running for his life last year when the Buckeyes allowed 46 sacks.

While four of the starting five up front are clear in Jack Mewhort at left tackle, Andrew Norwell at left guard, Corey Linsley at center, and Marcus Hall at right guard, the starting right tackle job has been a competition between Reid Fragel moving over from TE and freshman Taylor Decker, who has been with the team since the spring. To date, Fragel has shown the ability to run block, but he has trouble with pass rushers on the outside, while Decker is still developing physically and trying to learn the offense.

“What a difference there is in this mentality of hitting it in there, being physical and attacking,” Warinner said when commenting on the offensive line’s development. “I like where we’re headed in that direction. Competing, wanting to win, not waiting around looking to see who else is going to make the block. Guys are having fun doing it.” (See also.)

Here’s to hoping that (i) we keep Braxton’s jersey clean; and (ii) we don’t have a second reincarnation of JB Falsestarts, with Warinner at the helm.

Stan Drayton

The only holdover from the previous staff on the offensive side of the ball is Coach Drayton. Drayton is a former Division III All-American running back from Allegheny College who has been hired as a member of Coach Meyer’s staffs on three occasions. In his second year at Ohio State, Drayton will be moving back to his natural position of coaching the running backs as he was tasked with coaching the wide receivers last season for the first time in his career.

In his move to the running backs, Drayton will be blessed with depth. With Jordan Hall likely out for at least the first couple weeks of the 2012 season, Carlos Hyde has been getting the bulk of the carries and is the starter as of right now with Smith, Dunn, and Ball fighting to be second on the depth chart.

Dunn has received the bulk of the carries with the second team and has been impressive. Dunn’s performance on the field is particularly good news for the Buckeyes as Dunn was a highly touted recruit who will only be receiving internal ramifications as the result of the drug charges that were recently dismissed.

Once Hall returns though, the backs are expected to shift down and the number three back may become “nonexistent” according to Herman.

Tim Hinton

Following Coach Warinner in his exodus from South Bend is Coach Tim Hinton who will be in charge of the tight ends and fullbacks, a position which will be replaced in the new offensive scheme by a H-back after the second Boren and Homan graduate at the end of the season.

In commenting on the hiring of Coach Hinton, Meyer said “he and I worked together on the Ohio State staff in 1986, but what I am most impressed with is his time spent as a high school coach in Ohio. He had some outstanding teams at Harding and his extensive experiences coaching in the state were crucial in my desire to want him on our staff.”

With taking over the tight ends and fullbacks, Hinton will be coaching experienced starters with young talent behind them. Jake Stoneburner has been a favorite of mine for some time (even though he may have a momentary lapse of stupidity) because he is a, for lack of a better word, freak. CBS Sports recently named Jake Stoneburner as the most important player for the Buckeyes this upcoming season and while I can’t say that I agree that Stoney will be the most important player to the outcome of the 2012 season, there is no doubt that he will be an integral part of the success of the Buckeyes in the passing game this season.

In addition to Stoneburner’s contribution to the Buckeye offense, a svelte Zach Boren is likely to be incorporated more into the offensive gameplan this season as well. On Boren being an option in Meyer’s offense, Urban said “it wasn’t when he was 260 pounds and doesn’t move real well. He’s an athlete, but I didn’t know that. I wanted to evaluate him during spring practice, and I did. He’s a guy that will touch the ball.”

We may also see some production from the young TEs on the roster, including Nick Vannett and Jeff Heuerman.

Zach Smith

The youngest member of the Buckeye coaching staff is Wide Receiver Coach Zach Smith. Smith is the grandson of former Buckeye Coach Earle Bruce and a walk-on at Bowling Green for Urban Meyer who followed Meyer to Florida, where he was a graduate assistant and quality control assistant.

Smith will be leading a young group of Buckeye receivers with a team high of 14 receptions last season. Needless to say Smith will have his work cut out for him. However, as alluded to by Coach Herman, the receivers have put in work over the summer which should pay dividends on the field this fall.

With the injury to Spencer on Friday, the door has potentially opened for Michael Thomas to show that he is the real deal and more than just a Spring Game phenom. Starting ahead of Thomas will be “Philly” Brown and Devin Smith who will always have a special place in my heart for pulling in this catch last year.

Ohio State fans may not be the only ones who see the light at the end of the tunnel with the arrival of a new coaching staff. While a dark horse to the race, let’s hope Philly stays in it for the season as that will more than likely correlate in a boost to the 2011 production.

All in all the Buckeye offense should not bear much of a resemblance to the last decade of conservatism. For a deeper look into Urban’s offensive philosophy, I recommend checking out this piece from the guys at 11W and also here with second part here.

Comments

  1. Great stuff “porter!”

    That is quite the fancy nickname…did you type this with your pinky out the entire time? I keeed.

    Loved the article.

  2. Absolutely concur, this was really informative and an enjoyable read. I look forward to more blogging!

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