Almost the entire starting lineup for the Ohio State football team will be different from the 2015 campaign, and the success for the Buckeyes this year hinges on the quick development of the young athletes. OSU coach Urban Meyer described the development as a type of threshold the Buckeyes need to cross, and he called it “The Edge.”
“The whole mantra for our team this summer … the whole thing is going to be ‘The Edge.’ And ‘The Edge’ is where the average stops and elite begins,” Meyer said. “The great players we’ve been around and individuals, that’s when those (guys) become their best.”
The athleticism and physical capabilities of the players will not be the main concern according to Meyer, but rather the toughness and unity of the team.
The difference between the Scarlet and Gray for the upcoming year as opposed to the 2015 squad is the youth of the members. Many of the starters from the national championship team returned for the next season, giving the team a veteran presence. This year, that presence is not there.
The entire idea behind ‘The Edge’ is credited to Tim Kight, Meyer’s appointed leadership consultant for his team. Kight has spent the last few years giving emotional training to the Buckeyes in a position that truly is unique.
Meyer said that this year, he, Kight and strength coach Mickey Marotti met more times than ever before in preparation for the season.
‘The Edge’ has an impact on more than just the coaching staff for OSU. Key players like redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett know that the idea behind the motto is important to their on-field development.
“For me, and I think for a lot of other teammates, it’s something that really hits home being that everybody can be pushed to a certain point,” Barrett said. “But whatever point that may be—and it’s different for each individual—whatever that point may be, you have to find a way to get through that, and you can’t get through it by yourself.”
While the threshold will be crossed by members of both the offense and defense, the first day did not have any standout performances by any particular players, according to both Meyer and Barrett.
The new outlook for the team does not scare Barrett, as he is confident in how the young players will respond to being placed into key moments of key games for 2016.
“We still have the same approach, the same feel. Everybody was juiced up to go out there,” Barrett said. “It’s just different faces, different numbers. I think it would’ve been different if we didn’t go over some of the basic stuff last year because we were older but that’s not how we work.”