November 6, 2012

Week 10: Evaluating the Buckeyes' offense

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Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With a 52-point performance, the Ohio State put up its second highest point total of the season against Illinois on Saturday, en route to the Buckeyes' 10th win in as many games. After the game, Ohio State players at each position discussed the current state of the offense, and where it stands heading into the team's bye week.


Despite Braxton Miller adding to his Heisman campaign with 299 yards of total offense and three total touchdowns, OSU coach Urban Meyer maintained that his quarterback still has a ways to go when it comes to throwing the ball. Miller threw for 226 yards while completing 12-of-26 attempts against the Illini, numbers that Meyer would like to see improve in order for his spread offense to fully improve.

"The area we're not efficient enough is the dropback pass, and we have to- while he's not a dropback passer, we have to be," Meyer said. "It's not acceptable. And the guys around him, we have to continue to get better."

Miller agreed with his coaches assessment, but also asserted that he's been doing his best to take the next step in his game as a passer.

"I'd agree with him," Miller said. "I've got to get better at that aspect of the game. I'm working real hard."

Running backs

If one position group stole the show for the Buckeyes against Illinois on Saturday, it was their running backs. That effort was led by Carlos Hyde, who amassed 137 yards and three touchdowns against the Illini defense.

"I run with passion, aggression and attitude," Hyde said. "I feel like I can't be brought down and I run with that in my mind, which allows me to run hard."

Hyde's backup Rod Smith also got his time to shine, often finding himself on the field alongside the junior running back, with both players lining up in the Buckeyes' backfield. One of those plays led to a 51-yard touchdown reception by Smith, who despite another fumble on Saturday, appears to have earned the trust of his coaching staff.

"It's a great look. If they're good players. That has always been in the playbook. But we never had enough confidence," Meyer explained. "Now we do. We're trying to find the way to get the best 11 players on the field. And now we do."

Wide receivers

Having seemingly disappeared since his 12-catch performance against Michigan State of Sept. 29, wide receiver Corey Brown reemerged on Saturday, recording team-highs of four receptions and 79 yards against the Illini. Despite the Illinois' 2-7 record, Brown asserted that OSU's offensive performance was more of a result of its own execution, rather than the Illini's ineptitude.

"They aren't a bad defense. They have some really good players. To be honest they are better at certain positions than us," Brown said. "We just knew we had to come out and execute. I've said it before, no one can stop us when we are out there playing to our game plan."

Brown recorded his first touchdown reception since the Buckeyes' season-opening win over Miami (OH) on Saturday, a 37-yard catch that he credited Miller and Jake Stoneburner with helping him make.

"Braxton had me, it was an easy pass. Braxton made the perfect pass," Brown said. "Jake made a good downfield block to spring me."

Offensive line

With an Ohio State rushing attack that compiled 330 rushing yards on Saturday, the Illini never really stood a chance against the Buckeyes. Meyer credited his team's success in that area of the game to OSU's offensive line, which has played a key role in making the Buckeyes the No. 9 rushing team in the country.

"That was because of the offensive line. And to see where they're at now, they got called out in front of the group, those are good guys," Meyer said. "Those first five guys are really good guys."

Hyde echoed his coach's sentiments, giving the offensive line credit for helping make he and Miller the No. 2 rushing duo in the country, with 208.7 yards per game.

"For me, it all has to do with my offensive line," Hyde said. "Coach Meyer really challenged them to take control of the line of scrimmage this week and they stepped up to the challenge."


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