This article from The Columbus Dispatch came out on Sunday, but thanks to a hectic Monday, we're just now getting to it. The Buckeyes are mighty excited on the offensive side of the ball, and that, folks, is a good thing in Columbus.
Anytime you get players talking about their enthusiasm for a new system, that's a sign that they are taking to the change. To say that this transition is going a lot smoother than Rich Rodriguez's attempt to speed up Michigan is a massive understatement.
Older players are taking to it. Younger players are taking to it. The team seems to all be on the same page, and when you're switching from one scheme to another, that is imperative. You cannot have guys dragging their feet, not believing in the new system.
Luckily for Ohio State, its players are leaping at the chance to play in this new, fast style. Not to say that the Buckeyes felt they were held back or shackled in years past, but there is a clear feeling of excitement about the opening up of the offense.
Guys will be getting to touch the ball who would have been doing nothing but blocking exclusively in years past. Linemen will be getting big, old saucer-eyes because they get to show their athleticism in space and wear out linebackers and safeties.
The team itself is excited about the tempo.
The most striking thing about this is not that there is excitement, but that older players, guys who can't even go to a bowl game in 2012, are so boldly embracing the change. One Buckeyes player said:
Teams should be scared, I think.
The way we practice and the way our offense is set up, with the guys we have, it’s going to be unbelievable out there. It’s going to be a show.
That was Jake Stoneburner, the Buckeyes' tight end. He's a senior. The team can go 12-0 this season, and nothing will come of it as far as a Big Ten championship or a bowl game goes. But, as you can see, he is still pumped about this offense.
Now, before we go and crown Urban Meyer and this team as the first Big Ten national champs in about a decade, we must pump the brakes.
These guys still have to learn what they're doing.
Yes, the tempo of practice is picked up. Yes, the guys are moving around in space. Yes, they have the necessary zeal for the scheme. But, we have to see how they actually turn all of the fun they are having into success on the scoreboard.
As Stoneburner mentions, the Buckeyes have the pieces to make this offense work. Their issue will not be whether they can do it; their issue will be how soon it can come together.
When you have a dynamic quarterback like Braxton Miller, who truly wants to maximize his production, the answer is likely sooner rather than later. While the pieces on the edge have to find their way, the run game should be strong, and Miller's dynamic capabilities will buy his receivers time to emerge in the passing game.
Until that happens, Miller still has Stoneburner on the squad, and we know that Urban loves himself an athletic tight end.