COLUMBUS, Ohio – Like a kid opening a present on Christmas morning, Urban Meyer can’t wait to tear off the wrapping and bows to see what his latest Ohio State offense will do.
Ohio State went 12-0 in Meyer’s first season as coach last season. But it wasn’t because the offense was a NASCAR racer. It was more like the Buckeyes stayed ahead of the field by patching and tuning an old but reliable form of transportation.
Quarterback Braxton Miller’s legs carried the Buckeyes for the first half of the season. After that, the offensive responsibilities were spread out, with tailback Carlos Hyde and the wide receivers assuming their share of the load.
Meyer, a major proponent of the hurry-up, no-huddle spread attack, barely recognized his offense. There was no H-back, a central figure as he designed the lethal Florida Gators offenses built around the hybrid runner-receiver Percy Harvin — who is now a Seahawk.
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Meyer concedes the 2012 Buckeyes bore only a slight resemblance to the cutting-edge attack he had at Florida because H-back Jordan Hall was injured most of the year.
“That whole part of the offense didn’t exist, which is tough,” he said. “If you evaluate last year’s offense, we were a pro offense.
“There was not a lot of read components, (and) that’s the essence of what spread football is.”
This year, Hall is finally healthy and figures to be out wide, or in the slot, or running from the backfield.
• Johnny Football was the elephant in the room at Texas A&M.
The seventh-ranked Aggies head into Saturday’s home opener against Rice with questions swirling about whether Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel will play against the Owls. The NCAA is investigating whether he was paid for his autograph, a potential violation of amateurism rules that could threaten his eligibility.
It was the only thing anyone really wanted to talk about when the Aggies addressed the media. But the topic was off limits.
Athletic director Eric Hyman said he had instructed everyone in the program not to talk about Manziel.
And if that wasn’t clear enough, a member of the sports information department slowly and sternly read the statement twice during the media session.