Planning for success: Ohio State

September, 12, 2013
9/12/13
8:00
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The personnel on his own team looks dramatically different from this time a year ago.

The coaching staff on the opposite sideline has undergone its own massive overhaul.

So while Urban Meyer might have watched Ohio State's closer-than-expected win over California a few times for various reasons since the programs met last season, the tape of that game doesn't exactly provide much use in planning for the rematch Saturday in Berkeley.

"I think last year's game will have no impact at all," Meyer said. "Really, defensively, it's a completely different story.

"This right now, I would say with a new staff, they shot their gun against Northwestern -- that was a big game, so there won't be a new defense [this week]."

The changes on offense are even more significant with Sonny Dykes taking over and installing his pass-happy, up-tempo style, forcing the Buckeyes to spend some time breaking down his former teams at Louisiana Tech in addition to the two games he's called so far at Cal.

Given the way Meyer's staff prepares for its nonconference schedule by putting together a "summary report" on each of the first three opponents, much of that work had already been handled before this week. And while Cal defensive coordinator Andy Buh has notably changed the scheme and shifted the Bears into a more traditional 4-3 alignment, the Buckeyes are already familiar with him as well given his stint helping lead the Wisconsin defense last season.

But of those changes, the new philosophy on offense figures to be the more pressing concern. For starters, the Buckeyes are still early in the rebuilding process with all the new faces in the front seven, and they could be without starting defensive end Adolphus Washington if an injured groin forces him out of the lineup. And across the line of scrimmage, despite breaking in a new quarterback in true freshman Jared Goff, the Bears have thrown for more yards than any team in the country through two games while running an eye-popping 194 plays -- numbers that make looking at Cal's old approach to offense almost completely irrelevant.

"This offense is totally different than last year's offense," co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers said. "I think Coach Dykes is more of the fast-paced, get-the-ball-out, quick-type offense, so we have to have a little bit different plan than last year's plan. Early this summer, this spring, we looked at a lot of Louisiana Tech tape, exclusively [at that point] because there was no [Cal] game tape. As you look at what they're doing now, it's on par with what they did at Louisiana Tech.

"I don't think we even looked at last year's tape [against Cal]."

Other than the result, there probably wasn't ever much the Buckeyes enjoyed about watching it. And they clearly have little use for doing it now.

Austin Ward | email

Ohio State/Big Ten reporter

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