Ohio State in context: The Bucks will only get better on offense

The biggest question about Ohio State throughout the entire offseason was who was going to be under center. However, after the opener, a bigger question is how are the Buckeyes going to be spreading the touches around with the explosive weapons that they have on the entire offensive side of the ball.

When looking at the stats in the first half of the Ohio State and Virginia Tech contest, it is unreal to think that Ezekiel Elliott had just six carries in a close contest. This was all while he was averaging a country mile per carry.

Elliott, who led the Buckeyes down the stretch to a national title last season, only had 11 carries for the entire game. However, it shows how deep Ohio State is on offense…and they may even be deeper than last year’s unit. Much of the season for Elliott’s 11 carries were that six other Buckeyes had carries, including Cardale Jones toting the rock 13 times of his own.

For the record, Elliott finished with 122 yards and a touchdown. Last season, Ohio State needed Elliott to have 20, 20 and 36 carries in the three postseason games to beat quality opponents. Much of this was due to inexperience and injuries to both Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett. Now, both players are back and the Buckeyes have a chance to be scary good.

However, much of the reason that Elliott was able to be so fresh down the stretch was because he was eased in last season as well. Elliott had just 27 carries in the first three games combined and had plenty in the tank at the end of the season to run over Wisconsin, Alabama, and Oregon en route to the crown.

In his first game at wide receiver, Miller channeled his inner Percy Harvin. He was electric and played like a seasoned veteran. Getting Miller back on the field was paramount, and credit Urban Meyer for seeing an opportunity, and credit Miller for putting in the work to put himself in the position that he was in on Monday night.

Another dilemma for Ohio State is how the offense looks when the three suspended wideouts fit in with Miller and Michael Thomas, who also looked unguardable at times.

Meyer has shown that he knows how to work two-quarterback systems, even though Ohio State did not appear to have one after the game on Monday. Barrett only attempted one pass (though it was a touchdown) and carried the ball once. Jones played over 95 percent of the game.

It is hard to see this continuing if Jones only completes 50 percent of his passes like he did on Monday. Barrett will get some opportunities and he showed that he is ready when called on. The difference between the Chris Leak and Tim Tebow combo that Meyer took the hardware with is that Tebow acted as a specialist. Neither Jones or Barrett are just pieces, they are total quarterbacks.

While it likely doesn’t matter which direction Meyer goes, he will eventually have to make a final decision, if he hasn’t already. Meyer said that he wanted to get Barrett more touches on Monday night, but actions speak louder than words.

The real scary thing is that the Buckeyes were far from flawless on Labor Day. Jones only completed half of his passes and the offense turned the ball over three times. Yes, the scored 42 points and amassed 572 yards, but they can do even more.

Jones can be sharper. Elliott can get more touches. Miller and Thomas can make even more plays. But, does it matter? Will this team even lose if they don’t? All signs point to no on all of the above.

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