The 2015 version of the Ohio State Buckeyes could very well have been one of the most talented rosters ever assembled in Columbus. Fitting all those talented pieces together on one field is the hard part.
With NFL draft picks Ezekiel Elliott, Mike Thomas, and Braxton Miller on one offense, you could see there could be a problem with just one football to go around.
What worked so well for the Ohio State offense in the team’s first game of the season against Bowling Green is exactly what derailed last year’s squad. The Buckeyes would force feed touches to its stars at all cost, specifically Elliott. As good an idea as it seemed at the time, this may have been what caused the Buckeye offense to become so stagnant and predictable.
Albeit against an overmatched Bowling Green squad, the Ohio State offense amassed video game numbers in its first contest of the season.
Ohio State had one of its best offensive performances of the Urban Meyer era, putting up 77 points and a school record 776 yards of total offense. No matter who the opponent is, those numbers are ridiculous and is an indicator this Ohio State team can replace some of its losses.
On the Ground
One of the biggest questions coming into this season is how the Buckeyes would replace the 1,800 rushing yards Ezekiel Elliott took with him to the NFL.
Redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber got the first crack at replacing Elliott in the Ohio State backfield, and the first-time starter impressed. Weber ran for 136 yards on 19 carries in his first career start in Ohio Stadium.
Junior H-back, (and probably the Buckeyes most talented offensive player) Curtis Samuel also chipped in with the running game adding 84 yards on the ground as well.
The best thing about how Weber looked on Saturday, the young back definitely wasn’t afraid of the moment, running with authority on each and every carry.
— Sports Nation Ohio (@SN_Ohio) September 5, 2016
With the looks of Weber in his first career start, to go along with the dynamic big play ability of Samuel, the Buckeye running game should be just fine this season.
Through the Air
For the Ohio State offense, or any offense to succeed however, there must be consistent effective play from the quarterback. The problem last season was that Ohio state never got that consistency.
The combination of J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones never gained the traction everyone thought would undoubtedly come with the talent on last year’s Ohio State roster.
Part of those struggles in the passing game may have come from trying to force feed the ball to its playmakers. The Ohio State quarterbacks looked to be trying to get certain players the ball in certain spots instead of taking what the defense gave them.
In J.T. Barrett’s first season as a starter, spreading the ball around to different receivers is what made him the Big Ten quarterback of the year. Against the Falcons, Barrett went back to spreading the wealth.
Barrett completed touchdown passes to four different receivers in just the first half and threw for 6 touchdown passes overall.
With new starters at every position within the receiving core, Barrett can focus on reading the defense and not trying to make sure one of his stars is getting the ball.
Barrett had a historic day on Saturday, and a lot of that can be attributed to the way he led the offense, distributing the ball to near perfection.
4 different WRs (KJ Hill, Dontre Wilson, Curtis Samuel, Noah Brown) have caught TDs from J.T. Barrett today. 28-10 pic.twitter.com/XnsnIkF2AG
— The Buckeye Nut (@TheBuckeyeNut) September 3, 2016
As crazy as it may sound, less star power will lead to a better offense for the 2016 Ohio State Buckeyes.