Urban Meyer Has Successfully Scripted the Buckeyes’ Entire 2015 Football Season

Urban Meyer, armed with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Cincinnati, is more of a forward-thinking strategist than any college football follower could have imagined. I always viewed him as one of a select few coaches in America capable of guiding a team with the gaudy expectations of the 2015 Ohio State Buckeyes. But that thought can be taken the next level now. After seven games, it is readily apparent that the season is unfolding as if Meyer had created it in a laboratory.

I touched on all the crazy expectations of the Ohio State football program in a previous article, and needless to say, it has proven difficult for the team to live up to all of them. For a team that made history by being unanimously voted as the No. 1 team in the country in the preseason, the Buckeyes’ performance thus far has seen those first-place votes steadily drift away to the likes of Baylor, Utah, TCU, LSU and Clemson. What was expected to be a weekly fireworks show of an offense has instead been somewhat of a  clunker, as the the team has struggled to impose its will on clearly inferior competition and only 2-5 against the spread this season, following its 28-point win over Penn State.

But just think – this whole thing was planned by Ohio State’s head football coach, himself. Meyer – a three-time national champion coach – has been there before. He’s attempted unsuccessfully to win back-to-back titles on two separate occasions. He knows the trials and tribulations that take a toll on players and coaches as they strive to sustain win streaks, appeal to voters by accumulating “style points”, and the complacency that can set in when a talented team begins to view winning as “another day at the office,” in stead of savoring the sweet taste of each victory.

With those challenges in mind – and knowing that Buckeyes program thrives in an underdog role – it is clear that Meyer made it his mission to self-inflict as much adversity into the team as possible. Building upon all the off-season discussion on quarterback battle – which seemingly placed OSU in the most fortunate position in college football history – Meyer opted to shake things up. By implementing a game plan that resulted in Ohio State’s offense sputtering inconsistently, instead of flourishing like a fine-oiled machine, he helped paint a national perception of doubt. Especially during a time that arch rival Michigan has been bursting back onto the national scene much faster than anticipated under Jim Harbaugh, Meyer manufactured a sense of mockery, an ability for this “unstoppable force” to be on the receiving end of snide remarks by analysts and rival fans.

Meyer knows that it is incredibly difficult for a championship-winning team that returns that much talent, and carries that much expectations, to stay hungry for the duration of 15-game season. He also knows that any good team, in any sport, aims to peak later in the season instead of early in the season. Knowing that Ohio State is blessed with a position where they can win each game – no matter how ugly – and still advance to the playoffs, Meyer chose to play in such a way that the Buckeyes would peak in Weeks 11-15, not in Weeks 5-9. So instead of opening the season with our read option offense and risking potential injuries to J.T. Barrett, who was recovering from a fractured ankle, we created a storyline about our offense abandoning the read-option staple of our offense and played Cardale Jones instead. Masked under another storyline of J.T. “failing to beat out Jones for the starting role”, Meyer made analysts and fans believe that he had indeed changed his core offensive philosophy. This also created doubt and sparked his own competitive fire, as people suddenly began questioning his decision making skills and ego.

Now, as the Buckeyes enter the second half of the season and begin tuning up for the important stretch of games in November and beyond, the momentum is beginning to shift back into the positive direction. First, Barrett was able to “prove himself” as a red zone specialist. Then, he’s able to give Buckeye nation a taste of how successful and fluid the OSU offense can be with him in the backfield on a regular basis. After igniting an offense that had otherwise been stagnant, Barrett has reopened the quarterback discussion – all while Meyer and offensive coordinator Ed Warriner make it seem that just aren’t ready to name Barrett the starter.

It’s all been a masterfully brilliant way to navigate the Buckeyes through the first seven games of the season. Now, after all the doubt and criticism, look for Ohio State to suddenly hit second gear, en route to hitting full stride in time for consecutive showdowns with Michigan State and Michigan. From here on out, Ohio State will emphatically transform all those question marks into exclamation points. You can count on it – because Meyer has scripted it that way. Enjoy the fireworks show.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: