Urban Meyer stresses offensive line upgrades

It’s strange to think of this, but Ohio State brings a two-game losing streak into the season. It’s true. Look it up. The Buckeyes ended last season with losses to Michigan State and then to Clemson in the Orange Bowl. That followed a 24-0 start to the Urban Meyer regime. Now, for his next act, Meyer is looking to lead Ohio State to its first Big Ten title since … 2009.

To achieve that goal, Meyer’s team has some issues to resolve.

“No. 1 on the list is development of that offensive line,” said Meyer.

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The front came a long way under line coach Ed Warinner. But the line has four starters that must be replaced with the lone starter back being tackle Taylor Decker. The good news:

“Our quarterback is at full speed and in the best shape of his life,” said Meyer.

No doubt, having a healthy Braxton Miller means the Buckeyes will have a good chance to win all of the games on their schedule. He’s a dynamic playmaker and a two-time Silver Football Award winner. But can Miller stay healthy? It’s a worry, as he has struggled to stay on the field during his career. And star backup Kenny Guiton is no longer around to save the day.

Another thing to watch: The defense has a lot to prove, especially vs. the pass. In 2013, Ohio State ranked 11th in the Big Ten vs. the pass (268.0 ypg). The 31 touchdown passes allowed were more than any other league team. Meyer hired Chris Ash from Arkansas to co-coordinate the defense and tighten the pass defense in particular. No doubt, the back seven has a lot to prove. Meyer likes his linebackers.

“It’s the best the group has been right now as far as chemistry, as far as trust, as far as operating as a unit,” he said.

The secondary also has a lot to prove for a unit that has just one starter back. There may be some growing pains early on. If so, the dynamic offense may be able to cover while the defense develops in a Big Ten East race that could come down to OSU’s visit to Michigan State on Nov. 8.


About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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Your Opinion?
Show Comments (6 Comments)
Big Ten Fan on 7/28/2014 @ 3:49pm EDT Said:

Ohio State’s offensive line, lack of size on the defensive line, linebacking corps and secondary will be Ohio State’s undoing.

They will lose one or two out of conference games (3 is not out of the question with Navy on hand in the opener) and drop games at Penn State and Michigan State on the way to a disappointing season.

Nick on 7/28/2014 @ 4:19pm EDT Said:

Lack of size on the defensive line? Are you joking?????????

DaHook on 7/28/2014 @ 5:21pm EDT Said:

B1G fan, you have better get your facts straight before you type. O-State’s d-line is as good as anybody’s in the country. It did lead the conference in sacks. I do agree that the back seven is in need of Jack Tatum and Donte Whittner resurrecting in some shape or from. With 2 good classes and Chris Ash, they will improve. Go Bucks!!!!

Jerrod on 7/28/2014 @ 5:28pm EDT Said:

Unless you feel Miller will be hurt much of the season there is no way you can pay attention to college football and think that ohio state will be 8-4 or 7-5. The non conference games are VT, Navy, Cincinnati, and Kent St. Zero chance they lose 3 games there

Gurndogg on 7/29/2014 @ 12:24pm EDT Said:

Even though I think Navy, V.T & Cinn. are very good teams (all will go to bowls) I’m not sure any are good enough to beat OSU. The big ten fan person loves UM so he is very biased
in his opinions plus he shows little to none when it comes to Football knowledge (not trying to be a jerk here just calling a spade a spade) there is very little chance PSU beats OSU yes its at Happy Valley but with their weak OL plus no proven WR & no to very little depth
I just don’t see PSU stopping let a lone slowing down OSU’s DL as it will T-off on C.Hackenberg. Not that OSU will win the BIG East & the BIG over all but I think between MSU
& OSU that one of them is more than likely to win the whole BIG. Make it down the game on
Nov. 8 will be the real BIG Championship game. GO BUCK’s!!!!!!!!!! OH—–

Gurndogg on 7/29/2014 @ 12:26pm EDT Said:

Oh by the way good luck with your season in Mich. big ten fan. ahhhhahhhhahhha.