Urban Meyer, head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes since 2012, was recently suspended for the first three weeks of the season. Meyer has an illustrious set of accomplishments as a coach, including three national championships, and it will be interesting to see how Ohio State will handle his suspension. Let’s take a closer look at the suspension itself.
On July 24 at the Big Ten media day, Meyer denied that he had any prior knowledge regarding former wide receiver coach, Zach Smith, and Smith’s firing due to domestic abuse allegations. Following further investigation by Ohio State, it was discovered that Meyer had previous knowledge, not just about Smith’s domestic abuse, but about his tendencies for reckless behavior (drinking, debt, attending strip clubs.)
Meyer will miss the Buckeyes’ games against Oregon State, Rutgers, and TCU. Additionally, he will not be allowed to participate in practices leading up to the game against Oregon State. He will, however, be allowed to manage practices for the following two games, before returning to his full role as head coach in the fourth week of college football.
Looking At The Schedule
It is clear that Ohio State did not want to risk jeopardizing their season, issuing more lenient repercussions than those that would typically be issued in this sort of situation. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how the Buckeyes will react without their head coach.
On paper, Ohio State’s schedule for the first three games looks relatively manageable, although they will have to travel to Fort Worth to face the 16th ranked Horned Frogs on September 15th. Oregon State and Rutgers have never really posed a challenge to the Buckeyes, and it is unlikely that they will do so this season, even without Meyer.
Ohio State was very deliberate in choosing the length of their suspension, ensuring that Meyer would be able to coach the team leading up to their first true challenge against TCU. The schedule looks good for Ohio State, and if they can get past the Horned Frogs, it’s unlikely that they’ll suffer any losses during Meyer’s suspension.
While a good coach can make the difference between a good team and a great one, it is always important to remember that the players will be the ones stepping out onto the field. Ranked fifth in the nation, there’s no doubt that Ohio State have a talented roster. Let’s take a look at some of their stars.
Nick Bosa has certainly made a name for himself, with many experts projecting him to be the top pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. While the draft is still a long ways away, there’s no doubt that Bosa will be the key to Ohio State’s defense.
The defensive end has impressed in past seasons, leading the Buckeyes on the defensive side of things and recording 8.5 sacks last year, good for second in the conference. His athleticism, size, and quickness all combine to make him one of the most menacing defenders in college football.
The sophomore running back has emerged as one of the best players on the Buckeyes roster, and following an excellent freshman season, all eyes will be on him heading into this season. Dobbins rushed for 1,403 yards last season to go along with seven touchdowns.
With Barrett gone, look for Dobbins to get a bigger workload; if he can improve on last season, Ohio State will have one of the best rushers in the nation on their hands.
After Barrett’s departure, it’s up to Haskins to go under center for the Buckeyes. The departure from a more run-heavy offense, particularly with Barrett’s rushing prowess, to a more passing-oriented gameplan centered on Haskins’ arm will mark a drastic transformation from Ohio State’s previous identity.
Haskins may not be the most talented player on the roster, but he will nevertheless be crucial for the Buckeyes as they try to adapt to their new offense and improve the passing game.
Beyond talent, morale could play a crucial factor in Ohio State’s success without Urban Meyer. If the players are unmotivated or they take Meyer’s disappearance poorly, the entire team could go downhill. Moreover, Meyer may not be able to command the locker room with the same respect he was once given. It’ll be interesting to see how the players react to the suspension, and it’s definitely something you need to look out for.
So will the Buckeyes be able to survive without Urban Meyer? I think so. While playing without one’s coach is no easy task, Meyer will be back in practice to prepare them for their only true test. While odds have not yet been posted for the individual games, it is likely that they will take a hit, particularly against a solid TCU team.
Ohio State has a talented enough team to get by on their own, and with the help of a stellar coaching staff beyond Meyer himself, I believe they’ll be able to get past their first three opponents without much trouble. If the odds seem to be good, it might be a great time to pounce.