Ohio State Football: The New Oregon Football Copycat
As you know, Urban Meyer, a two-time national champion coach at Florida, is now the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. His journey to the coaching position was filled with many questions as to why he left Florida for more family time and then picks a more demanding head coaching position. It also came out that he had no control over star athletes at Florida and often gave them a long leash. However, that is not what concerns Oregon fans.
Urban Meyer has been putting in place a no huddle, up-tempo, spread offense. What isn’t surprising is the spread offense, which he made famous at Florida and Utah, but that players are talking about how up-tempo it is. Players say that they want to have 80-85 snaps a game. Quarterback Braxton Miller said, “I’d compare it to Oregon.”
This brings up a few points. First, getting to be an up-tempo team and play as fast as Oregon is not something that just happens. Oregon gets faster every season in practice and during games, which has created a competitive advantage for them during games.
Second, this does pose a problem for Oregon as a big-time program is now running the same offense Oregon does. This means that Oregon now has to go head-to-head against Ohio State for the best players for this style of offense. While Chip Kelly and Urban Meyer’s pedigrees and offense are equal, the kicker here is really Ohio State. Ohio State will have the edge in almost every recruiting battle.
While I’ve written often that Oregon has operated for years in a “Moneyball” philosophy, it looks like the window is closing. Chip Kelly so far has done a fantastic job of keeping Oregon ahead of the curve by bringing in the fastest players, plenty of read looks, constantly tweaking offenses on a week-to-week basis, and playing up-tempo. More and more teams are catching on to these trends and soon Oregon may be playing teams that have adopted their strategy, which takes away the competitive advantage.