With different personnel, will Ohio State’s offense change in 2018?
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With the changes in the way they're recruiting bigger WRs and RBs, and the type of QBs they're targeting, do you see a move toward a more pro-style offense? Seems like we're trending toward a Stanford look.
— L.B. (@yourHIGHnessLB) June 5, 2018
You’re right that the Ohio State offense has undergone some personnel transformations, beginning with the addition of Dwayne Haskins in 2016 and the wide receivers they added in 2017. The Buckeyes’ Class of 2017 had three receivers, all of whom were at least 6-foot-3: Trevon Grimes (6-3), Jaylen Harris (6-5) and Ellijah Gardiner (6-5). At the time, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said it wasn’t a purposeful shift and just happened to be a year in which receivers with that size were the ones they liked best.
The best evidence that those additions at quarterback and wide receiver didn’t necessarily reflect long-term philosophical changes came the following year. One year after landing Haskins, Ohio State signed Tate Martell, a sub-6 foot quarterback known for his mobility. And in the Class of 2018, two of the receivers were 6-1.
That doesn’t mean there will not be changes, though. As Meyer noted recently during a talk at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club, Haskins’ big arm changes what the Buckeyes can do on offense.
“Dwayne is a young guy that came in against our rivals and did a heck of a job,” Meyer said. “You go back and watch that again, he came in on the first drive and took us down the field and scored on that first drive against that defense. So he’s got a great release, he’s got good size and he’s a mobile enough quarterback. It is going to change how we attack defenses.”
I think the most likely outcome is something similar in style to 2014 under Cardale Jones — although being that successful will be a challenge — where it’s more of a power spread with a quarterback who can run if needed but doesn’t seek to very much. Ohio State will probably never be as pro-style as teams such as Stanford because spread elements will always exist with Meyer at the helm. But I do think there will be more of a reliance on running backs and a better vertical passing game.
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