Urban Meyer: ‘I think scheme’s overrated’

Cardale Jones (left) and Urban Meyer are still working together to get the OSU offense going this year after they won the national title last year.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer arrived in Columbus with a reputation as not only an offensive guru, but an expert in a certain kind of offense: the so-called "read option." 

The Ohio native got a big cheer when he told the crowd at an Ohio State basketball game during the first public introduction of his coaching staff in January 2012, "We’re going to run the spread." 

But ever since he has talked on multiple occasions about how little option football has actually been a part of his Buckeye offense. 

That continued last month when he told listeners to his radio show the offense has transitioned to what he described as mostly pro style. 

Monday during his weekly press conference he explained why he is willing to change his scheme based on personnel. 

"Because I think scheme’s overrated," Meyer replied. "I think competitive spirit, human spirit and obviously ability overrule all that. And I think it’s comical when I hear (coaches) say, ‘It doesn’t fit our system.’

"Well, change your system." 

Meyer went on to explain the Ohio State offense featured more of a power running game in his first couple of years in Columbus because the team had a road-grading offensive line, powerful tailback in Carlos Hyde and dynamic running quarterback in Braxton Miller. 

What the Buckeyes did not have was a speedy slot receiver to hand the ball to and stretch the defense horizontally. The downfield passing game was also inconsistent. 

"I give credit to our offensive staff,’ Meyer said. "We got here and there was no H-backs. We had a big tailback and a couple of tight ends and a fullback and you went 12-0. And we didn’t complain about it and didn’t say we don’t have this and don’t have this." 

With J.T. Barrett at the controls most of last season, the read-option made a bit of a comeback, but as was the case with Miller, the majority of his carries came on a variety of designed runs for the quarterback. 

Meyer has recruited several speedsters who can stretch the field in any direction he wants, but the transition to a more pro-style offense featuring a star running back and downfield passing game has continued with Cardale Jones at quarterback in the postseason last year after Barrett was injured and so far this season. 

"So you adapt your schemes, and I think that’s, in my opinion, the good coordinators and those type of guys do a very good job with that," Meyer said. "And you’ll find out what you got and do it. And don’t (say), ‘Well, he doesn’t fit, doesn’t fit.’ 

"Make him fit." 

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