Three keys for Ohio State in 2015
The defending national champions, the favorites to repeat and arguably the best coach in college football are all in Columbus. Life must be nice for the highly touted Buckeyes. For Urban Meyer to remain undefeated in the regular season — and obviously hoist another national title — there are a few keys that will determine the Buckeyes’ success.
Get a QB and go
Sure, Meyer fueled the offseason quarterback battle between Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett by saying he won’t reveal a starter until they run on to the field at Virginia Tech. But that’s when the controversy needs to end. Even if Meyer ends up going with Barrett and using Jones in short-yardage sets, he can’t afford an in-season debate at his deepest position. That splits up locker rooms. Meyer always is in control of his message, which is probably why he was in denial when Braxton Miller broke his own news that he was switching to H-Back. Meyer isn’t the wishy-washy type when it comes to depth chart decisions. The interesting scenario that could surface is what he’ll do if his starter is underperforming in a game. Does he turn to the bench to bring in the nation’s best backup QB (whoever it ends up being)? If last year was any indication, however, there will be few opportunities for Meyer to even consider making a switch.
Take care of the line of scrimmage
Nobody has weapons like the Buckeyes. Heisman hopeful Ezekiel Elliot, Michael Thomas, Jalin Marshall — and maybe even Miller — will give the Ohio State quarterback more than enough to work with. The offensive line is led by All-American candidates Taylor Decker and Patrick Elfein, neither of whom had any problem taking over in last year’s postseason run. The emergence of Elliot and Jones stole the headlines, but needn’t forget that the Buckeye line did everything and more to clear the way to the first College Football Playoff championship. There aren’t many teams that will be able to push the Buckeyes around up front this year, either.
Don’t get caught looking ahead
The two most important games on the Ohio State schedule just so happen to be the last two games of the conference schedule. A showdown with Michigan State and a trip to Ann Arbor will close the regular season in fitting fashion. To get there, however, Meyer’s group can’t afford a hiccup like last year. Even though the loss to Virginia Tech proved to be the turning point in the season, a defeat in Big Ten play would be costly with the Spartans threatening to dethrone the Buckeyes. Last year’s group had an us-against-the-world approach. Now, as the consensus national title favorites, everyone will be telling the Buckeyes how great they are. If they take it one week at a time, they’ll be saying the same thing in mid-January. Again.