Three years ago, Urban Meyer moved his startling fullback to linebacker in the middle of the season, so moving offensive coordinator Ed Warinner to the coaches booth in the press box from the sideline probably isn’t close to the most dramatic change he has made at Ohio State.
But it certainly looked like it brought a change that was needed when Ohio State dominated Michigan 42-13 and rolled up 482 yards of total offense against the Wolverines’ highly regarded defense in Warinner’s first game in the booth.
Ohio State’s offense appeared out of sorts much of this season and play calling was often singled out as one of the problems by outsiders.
Warinner will be calling plays from the coaches booth again during OSU’s Fiesta Bowl match-up against Notre Dame on Friday.
Meyer said Warinner will remain in the booth “for this game” but did not say if the move would become permanent in 2016, assuming Warinner does not find a head coaching job somewhere.
Until the Michigan game, Warinner was on the sideline coaching the offensive line as well as being in charge of the offense. Co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tim Beck also had input on play calling from the coaches booth.
Both Warinner and Beck were upstairs for the Michigan game and both will be there against Notre Dame. Jimmy Cordle, a former OSU standout who is a graduate assistant, will address line issues on the sideline.
One of the most noticeable differences with Warinner in the booth was that Ohio State’s offense seemed to move more quickly and get into its “tempo” offense.
Offensive lineman Pat Elflein said that was one of the reasons OSU’s offense was so effective against Michigan.
“The tempo was working,” he said. “They were getting tired and we were in pretty good shape. We were taking advantage of that. We kept hitting them in the mouth and they weren’t getting set.”
Elflein wouldn’t say if he wishes Ohio State had turned up the tempo on offense earlier.
“You feel it (frustration) but there is nothing you can do about it now. You can’t dwell on it or be upset about it,” he said.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett said a “tempo” offense is one of the things that has been emphasized in bowl practice.
“I feel good about our tempo and I think that is part of what we do as Ohio State, playing fast and getting the defense tired and not be able to make adjustments and not be able to blitz,” he said.
ELLIOTT OK TO PLAY: There will be no change in Ezekiel Elliott’s playing status for the Fiesta Bowl after being cited for driving with a suspended license following a one-car accident in Columbus on Sunday before Ohio State departed for Phoenix, an Ohio State spokesman said on Monday.
Elliott has rushed for 1,672 yards and 19 touchdowns this season and was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.
SCHUTT OUT: Defensive lineman Tommy Schutt will miss the Fiesta Bowl because of a broken foot.
It was announced on Dec. 17 that Schutt had been injured but the specific injury was not revealed.
The former 5-star recruit was having the best season in his four years at Ohio State before the injury. He also missed two games this season when he had surgery to repair a broken bone in his right wrist.
The interior of the defensive line was an area of some concern for Ohio State during the season. Along with the suspension of Adolphus Washington, Schutt’s injury makes it even more of a concern.
Notre Dame, on the other hand, will be getting nose guard Durham Smythe back after he missed the entire season following a knee injury. Tight end Durham Smythe is also expected to return from a torn MCL he suffered in the second game of the season.
BOSA SAID NO THANKS TO ND: Notre Dame offered Joey Bosa a scholarship in high school but the OSU defensive lineman quickly turned down the Fighting Irish.
“I actually just emailed them and said I wasn’t interested. I don’t like to beat around the bush with things. Growing upI was into Notre Dame a little bit, but I never really thought of going there,” he said.