The 2012 season was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
In previous coaching stints, Meyer consistently hit a few road bumps installing his offense with a new team. His Bowling Green Falcons lost three games in 2001, the Utah Utes dropped two games in '03 and the Florida Gators fell to three SEC teams in '05.
When Meyer took over at Ohio State last January, he inherited a flawed team that had just put the finishing touches on a 6-7 campaign. It was the worst season for Ohio State in over 20 years, and to make things worse, the team had just been hit with a one-year bowl ban.
That didn't stop Meyer and the Buckeyes from marching right through the schedule with a perfect 12-0 record, just the sixth undefeated season in school history. Ohio State's offense struggled at times and was brilliant others, but that inconsistency didn't prevent the Buckeyes from setting a school record for most games with over 50 points (four) in a single season this year.
What Ohio State fans should be excited about is the fact that Urban Meyer-coached teams always show dramatic improvement in the second year under his tutelage.
Bowling Green went 9-3 back in 2002, Utah went 12-0 with a win over Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl in 2004, and of course, Meyer's Florida team won a national title over the Buckeyes in his second year with the Gators.
That has to be a terrifying thought for the rest of the Big Ten, or at least, it should be.
The Buckeyes will likely return nine starters on offense in 2013, including quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde. The only notable losses will be Jake Stoneburner, a senior receiver who had a rather disappointing season with just 16 catches, and right tackle Reid Fragel, who had arguably the most capable backup along the offensive line in Taylor Decker this year.
Having that many returning starters on that side of the ball will be huge for Meyer and the Buckeyes. Not only do the returning players have a ton of experience under their belt, but Meyer himself won't need to use this offseason teaching his players the basic principles of his offense and playbook.
Instead, Ohio State's coaching staff will use all of the spring and fall practices to enhance the offensive attack. It's nothing new for Meyer, who has followed this same plan at every coaching stop in his career. Meyer's second-year teams have always produced at a higher level than the teams he coached in his first year:
|First year under Meyer||Second year under Meyer|
|Bowling Green||30 points per game||41 points per game|
|Utah||29 points per game||45 points per game|
|Florida||29 points per game||32 points per game|
No one on Ohio State's schedule could hand the Buckeyes a loss during the 2012 season. Just imagine how hard it's going to be for the teams on Ohio State's schedule next year.
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