Oklahoma receiver Grant Calcaterra, left, makes a catch against Ohio State safety Damon Webb. The Buckeyes have allowed more passing yards per game than any other FBS team through two games. BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
COLUMBUS – The ‘M’ word has been off limits at Ohio State since the Woody Hayes era.
Following a sobering loss to Oklahoma on Saturday, the Buckeyes also have no place for certain ‘B’ word this week: blame.
Across the board, the Buckeyes had problems in a 31-16 defeat to the Sooners. Ohio State’s passing game had no flair whatsoever, the Buckeyes’ play-calling abandoned its running backs, the defense couldn’t contain Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, and its pass defense – now ranked dead last in major college football in yards allowed per game – had a number of gaffes that led directly to big plays.
There were plenty of mistakes to go around, but as the Buckeyes prepare for Army West Point this week, they see little use in assigning blame.
“The ‘B’ word doesn’t come out,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Monday. “We’re not blaming anybody.”
Ohio State (1-1, 1-0 Big Ten) fell to No. 8 in the Associated Press top 25. Though the Buckeyes’ national championship hopes still are alive, title contention felt a long way away with Oklahoma in town.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett was less than impressive again, which renewed calls for a change under center. The passing game completed one pass of more than 20 yards in 35 attempts, and Barrett’s fourth-quarter interception that led to a Sooners touchdown squandered whatever chance OSU had remaining to win the game.
Further, Barrett carried the ball more times (18) than running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber had combined (16). Meyer said after the game that he was “not happy” with the play-calling.
The “enhanced” offense Ohio State sought all offseason looked painfully similar to the one that struggled in 2016.
“Like I said, the play-calling, I’m going to keep evaluating that and make sure we’re doing what we’re doing best,” Meyer said Monday. “Now’s not the time [for blame]. I would anticipate the whole program feels that way.”
Instead, Meyer said the Buckeyes are aiming for corrections. Ohio State’s passing game needs work, particularly against zone defense, which Meyer acknowledged.
He also said the secondary “did not play very well,” but it is the coaches’ burden to keep their young cornerbacks confident.
With a lot to correct before Big Ten play resumes next month, Meyer said there was no place for sulking.
“Our players, they’re resilient. They get over things quickly,” Meyer said. “So it’s our job to get over them quickly, too, and move forward and fix the issues that caused the failing, the loss. That’s where we’re at.”
UNLV TIME SET: The Big Ten announced that Ohio State’s Oct. 23 home game against UNLV will be a noon kickoff. The game will be televised on Big Ten Network.
As of now, it is the only scheduled noon game Ohio State will play except for the Michigan game on Nov. 25.
MACK PROBABLE: The back of receiver Austin Mack’s head hit the turf on a 31-yard catch against Oklahoma, and Meyer said the Buckeyes are being “very cautious” with Mack. Meyer said OSU would know more Tuesday, but listed Mack as “probable” for the Army game.
QB QUESTIONS: Meyer said Barrett is Ohio State’s best option “and right now it’s not even a question.” However, he said the Buckeyes would like to play Joe Burrow or Dwayne Haskins if the correct situation presents itself.
Asked specifically about Haskins, Meyer said last week was not appropriate to play a first-time quarterback.
“The third quarter of Oklahoma is not the right time to do that,” Meyer said.