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Saturday stuffing: Urban Meyer vows to fix goal line offense

Cody Cousino / Multimedia editor

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After failing to score on the final play of the first half of its season-opening game against Miami (Ohio), the Ohio State football team is focused on how its goal-line offense can become more effective before its next game Saturday versus Central Florida.

With just one yard standing between the line of scrimmage and the end zone, the Buckeyes expected to score on that play. First-year coach Urban Meyer called their failure “the most disappointing part of the whole day.”

On the 1-yard line with three seconds left in the half and holding a 21-3 lead, the Buckeyes decided to entrust junior running back Carlos Hyde with the task of rushing into the end zone for the score.

Following a timeout, OSU sent out its goal-line package, with seven offensive linemen and one wide receiver on the line of scrimmage, and Hyde lined up behind sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller. Miller handed off to Hyde, who attempted to make it into the end zone on the right side of the offensive line, but was stopped on the goal line by Miami senior safety Justin Bowers.

Meyer explained what went wrong on the play.

“We missed a block,” Meyer said. “The offensive line can’t miss a block down there.”

One of the players responsible for the success of that play was senior right tackle Reid Fragel, who made his first start as an offensive lineman on Saturday after playing tight end in his first three seasons with the Buckeyes.

Fragel admitted that he could have done a better job on the play.

“We got to correct some things on that play,” Fragel said. “Me personally, I got to come down and get up harder on that play, and continue to go to the other (linebacker). That’s just one little thing we’re going to fix, and put it all together for the next game.”

Sophomore tight end Nick Vannett was not on the field for the half-ending play, but as the first tight end on the Buckeyes’ depth chart, he could be on the field for similar plays in the future. Vannett also gave his input on what went wrong on the play.

“On the right side, they brought more than we could handle,” Vannett said. “We got a huge line, and we’re a power-based team, and that was disappointing that we couldn’t punch that in before halftime. We just got to do a lot better, keep working on the little things to do better.”

OSU tight end and fullbacks coach Tim Hinton said he agreed that the goal-line offense must improve.

“We didn’t execute as well as we need to,” Hinton said. “My guys got to be very, very physical on it. The running back’s got to drive it up in there … and keep his feet and running speed on contact. Every offensive lineman has got to just get a little bit more loaded in their stances, come of the ball with a mentality that there’s no way we’re being denied.”

Hinton explained that the goal-line offense is “as much mentality as it is scheme,” but believes the team will get better in that facet.

“We are going to be a physical team, I mean, a very, very physical team,” Hinton said.

Meyer explained why the play was such a disappointment.

“That was a tempo-setter, that was a timeout, we called them together and I wanted to see something happen, and we should have scored,” Meyer said.

Like Meyer, Hinton was also frustrated by the failure to convert that play.

“Really, if you look at the whole game, (that) was probably the No. 1 thing we’re all the most disappointed in,” Hinton said. “Three seconds left in the half, we got an opportunity to really put a momentum swing in our favor, and we didn’t do that. And in some other games, you can’t miss that opportunity.”

In response to that play’s failure, Meyer said adjustments will be made to the offense’s goal-line package.

“Will we change things up down there? Absolutely,” Meyer said. “Will there be times where we have to turn around, hand the ball to your tailback, and get one yard? A lot, yes. We’ll get that fixed.” 

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