Urban Meyer brings his famous spread offense back to his home state on Saturday when he debuts the first edition of his Ohio State program.
Under some circumstances the annual spring game isn’t necessarily crucial. When a coach is returning and that coach is returning 18 or 19 of his 22 starters there isn’t much a spring game can accomplish.
But in Ohio State’s case they have a new coach, a new offensive system, and a need to reload offensive playmakers. Ohio State is also coming off their worst season since John Cooper's last and will not be participating in any post-season activities this winter. This is a huge season for Ohio State and on Saturday there will be a few telling signs as to how far they have come to putting last season behind them.
Miller in the Offense
We know that it would not be wise for the coaching staff to reveal too much during the spring game, but it will be interesting to see if the sophomore quarterback has a handle on the offense when he is lining up in the triple-option spread.
Urban Meyer never recruited Braxton Miller, but he does seem like the perfect fit for his offensive system. As Miller goes so does this offense. Meyer needs Miller to progress into an elite-level quarterback as quickly as possible. If Meyer has Miller open up the offense a little more I think that will give us a fine understanding of how confident Meyer is with Miller at the reins.
Urban Meyer will bring it on Saturday. I get the feeling that this game will be slightly more competitive than Jim Tressel's annual love fests. Expect Miller to drop back more frequently with an overall higher standard of play than most spring games.
Meyer will not want his team playing touch football when he displays his edition of Ohio State football to the fans. Last year was a debacle, not just by Ohio State standards, but by any school's standards. Saturday will be telling to see if Meyer has re-instilled some form of confidence in his players.
Ohio State and its fans are most certainly in a peculiar situation this season: They don't have anything to play for. No Big Ten title game. No bowl game. Nothing. The season ends when Ohio State hosts Michigan in the final week of the season (11/24) that will signal the end of the season no matter what their record is.
This is new territory for Ohio State fans. Saturday will be an interesting gauge of where fan interest lies. Meyer is hoping for a sell out and with a chance of rain it is probable that will not happen. But if Ohio State is drawing about where they usually do (I would expect it to be higher), then that should be an indication that there will be no dip in their fan's passion come this fall.