Ohio State Football: 3 Biggest Challenges for Buckeyes' Tom Herman

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IJune 10, 2013

Ohio State Football: 3 Biggest Challenges for Buckeyes' Tom Herman

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    Urban Meyer hit a home run in hiring offensive coordinator Tom Herman away from Iowa State to lead the Buckeyes offense.

    All Herman did in his first season was help guide the Buckeyes offense to a top-10 ranking in rushing yards and averaged 37.2 points per game, an improvement of nearly two touchdowns per game from 2011.

    Ohio State's offensive coordinator could be the next Meyer assistant to become a head coach, but he has his own challenges to face this season.

    Among other things, he does need to continue to develop the playbook now that teams have seen his offense for a full season. But conventional wisdom says the offense will continue to evolve as it adds more talent.

    Here are three challenges Herman needs to focus on next season.

Braxton Miller's Health

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    Multiple times last season, Braxton Miller left Ohio State fans gasping, but sometimes for the wrong reasons.

    Miller was slow to get up several times, yet avoided a catastrophic injury that would have kept him out of play for multiple games. But those hits he took have to be a concern of Herman, because if Miller is out for an extended amount of time, it's really going to hurt the OSU offense.

    Herman would ideally like to limit Miller's carries, but part of that is also finding another couple of guys who can make plays with the football.

    Miller took a lot of those hits because he had to have the ball in his hands so much. He does need to learn how to protect himself better, but taking some of the load off of him can help as well.

Generating a Better Passing Attack

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    The Buckeyes may have had a top-10 rushing offense, but they were not nearly as successful throwing the ball, ranking No. 105 in passing yards per game.

    Braxton Miller does need to continue to develop as a passer, and he did have some nice throws last year. So he's capable of making big passes when he needs to.

    It's just a matter of being consistent and having guys like Philly Brown and Devin Smith continue to be consistent while they find some younger receivers to step up as well and give Miller third and fourth options.

    It will be a huge disappointment if Ohio State doesn't drastically improve in the passing department this season, especially with a very veteran unit returning.

Making More Big Plays

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    Ohio State's offense was one of the highest-scoring teams in the country last year, but it did so without a large assortment of big plays.

    If  Miller wasn't doing something, odds were that OSU wasn't going to be able to make a big play. In fact, other than Miller, OSU's longest rushing play was a 33-yard touchdown run by Rod Smith.

    It was pretty remarkable for OSU to put up those numbers with most of the big plays coming from just one player as it got from Miller.

    Herman needs more guys to make the big plays, and to do so with more regularity. When that happens, this offense will quickly vault itself to another level.


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