Ohio State Football: What Made the Urban Meyer Offense Work in Week 1

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst ISeptember 5, 2012

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 1:  Kent Kern #43 of the Miami Redhawks hits Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes as he throws the ball downfield during the second quarter on September 1, 2012 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Outside of a disastrous first quarter in Saturday's season opener, the Ohio State Buckeyes offense did something it almost never does—it actually looked like an offense.

The Buckeyes put up 56 points in the final three quarters of their 56-10 win over Miami, and even more stunning, did not even attempt a field goal, something that would have been impossible in the Jim Tressel era.

Urban Meyer's offense set the tone early on with the biggest feature fans will notice: the tempo.

Every time the offense was on the field, they were hurrying up to the line and moving at a great tempo, snapping the ball with 20-25 seconds left on the play clock.

That tempo shows in some of Ohio State's scoring drives (four plays, 1:03; seven plays, 2:22; eight plays, 2:46).

Not only was there no delay of game, there was also only one false-start penalty which was even more surprising considering the problems with the offensive line last season.

We also got a glimpse of what the Ohio State running game is going to look like, as Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde ran the zone read pretty well, obviously getting better as the game went on.

The interesting thing to watch is Hyde was not always lined up in the backfield but sometimes motioned into the backfield and then getting the football. And when you have a 240-pound running back getting the ball frequently in an uptempo offense, that's something that can wear down a defense just as quickly as chasing a DeAnthony Thomas-esque player.

WR Corey Brown, who led the team with seven catches, was also motioned into the backfield at times, but mainly just as a decoy. As the season goes on, Brown could get the ball more often.

Speaking of catches, what we also saw was the run setting up the pass, not exactly a new concept. The consistent run options slowly catch defenses off guard, and it helped Ohio State get several completions of about 20 yards as the game went on.

Most of the passes went out to the perimeter, especially both of Miller's TD passes.

It was a combination of short and deep routes that Miller hit throughout the afternoon, including a simple flat pass to Brown for OSU's second touchdown of the game.

And yes, we all know that Devin Smith's catch was amazing. You can also argue that the catch helped set a tone and gave the unit the confidence it needed to drive down the field the rest of the day.

In short, Urban Meyer's debut netted 538 yards of total offense, 294 on the ground and the highest scoring output for the Buckeyes in about two years.

What's even scarier is it's only going to get better as Miller and the rest of this young offense continues to develop and expand.

And when Jordan Hall returns to give a speedier option out of the backfield as a changeup to Hyde, this offense could be much more diverse because of Hall's ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.

More than anything, the offense no longer looks offensive, at least for now.


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