By Jim Naveau
CHICAGO – One of the big questions about Ohio State football this season is if the departure of offensive coordinator Tom Herman, who was hired as the University of Houston’s head coach, might have a negative effect on the offense.
OSU scored 44.8 points a game last season, 45.5 in 2013 and 37.2 in 2012 in Herman’s three seasons as offensive coordinator. Herman also served as the Buckeyes’ quarterbacks coach.
Urban Meyer quickly promoted offensive line coach Ed Warinner to offensive coordinator to fill the vacancy and gave new quarterbacks coach Tim Beck the title of co-offensive coordinator.
There is nothing to worry about with Warinner in charge, Meyer said at the Big Ten Football Media Days.
“They’re both excellent coaches,” Meyer said about Warinner and Herman. “I don’t want to pit one against the other but the thing Ed brings is that his organizational skills are a perfect 10. He’s the most organized guy I’ve ever been around.
“A lot of time line guys get pigeon holed into ‘I’m just a line guy.’ He was a quarterback in college. He coached quarterbacks at Kansas and Army and he’s an excellent line coach. He’s very well versed on balanced offense,” he said.
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH OSU: The Big Ten Network will have a behind the scenes show called Scarlet and Gray Days about Ohio State’s football training camp, BTN president Mark Silverman announced on Friday.
But the network probably won’t be going behind quite as many scenes as HBO’s Hard Knocks show, which follows NFL teams through their training camps, he admitted.
Ohio State’s limits on access were nothing overly specific but were more like general guidelines, Silverman said.
“Given that it’s our first year, I think we’re not quite certain how similar it may be to a “Hard Knocks,” which definitely I think is sort of what people look to when they hear this kind of a show.
“I don’t anticipate having the degree of being in as many meeting rooms and the level that “Hard Knocks” gets. But we are excited to work with the university. I think it will be an unprecedented look at what goes on as the team prepares for its first game,” he said.
The first episode will air on Aug. 19.
ELLIOTT’S EMERGENCE: Ezekiel Elliott gained more than 100 yards six times in Ohio State’s 12 regular-season games but rushed for 220 yards, 230 yards and 246 yards in Ohio State’s wins in the Big Ten championship game, the Sugar Bowl and the national championship game.
So what happened? Meyer said it was a combination of Elliott and the offensive line improving.
“I’m not disrespecting Zeke but a couple of the runs against Wisconsin, I could do that,” Meyer said, referring to the huge holes the offensive line opened in the Big Ten championship game.
“Billy Price became a legitimate all-conference candidate by the end of the year. At the beginning of the year he wasn’t very good. Taylor Decker went from being a very good player to a potential high draft pick. I think it was the development of the offensive line was No. 1. And Zeke got better.
“Zeke, his first year, he was OK but I never envisioned he would be what he became. He just kept getting better. He just got better and better and better,” Meyer said.
MEYER AND SOCIAL MEDIA: Ohio State players get some freedom on Twitter and other social media platforms, but there are limits, Meyer said.
“I have my own theory about this Twitter stuff. I have debates about getting rid of it,” he said.
He used Cardale Jones’ Twitter interaction with UFC fighter Ronda Rousey at the ESPYs to illustrate his approach.
“Cardale met a very beautiful young lady out at the ESPYs, the fighter (Rousey). I met her too. She’s stunning. Someone said he was tweeting nice things about her. You want me to rip him for that? It’s all good with me. I’d probably do the same at that age.
“I think everybody overreacts. If it’s disrespectful, we nail it immediately. If they’re a 19-year-old man being a 19-year-old man, I’ve got enough things to worry about and that’s not one of them. We do watch it, though,” he said.
BIG TEN REVIVAL: There is a new attitude about the Big Ten and in the Big Ten since Ohio State won last season’s national championship and Michigan State beat Baylor and Wisconsin won against Auburn in bowl games.
“The Big Ten, it was like an afterthought. That’s certainly not the attitude now,” Meyer said.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.
MILLER AND QUARTERBACK: Meyer said there is one situation that could turn new receiver Braxton Miller into a quarterback again in a hurry – if J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones would be injured.
“If you have two broken chin straps, he’s throwing the ball for us,” Meyer said.
PLEASANT SURPRISE: Meyer said if someone would have told him at the Big Ten Football Media Days last year that Cardale Jones would quarterback Ohio State to a national championship he would have been very surprised.
How surprised? “I’d have fallen right over,” Meyer said.
BANQUET SPEAKERS: Ohio State linebacker Joshua Perry and Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld were selected to speak at Friday’s Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon.