Story and photo courtesy of Ohio State Athletics
– Just over 80,000 fans at the 2012 spring game seemed pleased with what they saw of the Ohio State spread offense that head coach Urban Meyer and his staff unveiled. Even without the services of talented back Jordan Hall, and without Braxton Miller’s running, and despite the offense having just 14 practices from which to learn, fans went away excited.
Those fans haven’t seen anything yet. Miller after the spring game: “We just ran basic stuff.” If the past provides any insight into the future, though, fans can look forward to seeing an Ohio State offense under Meyer that scores lots of touchdowns, puts up huge statistics both rushing and passing the football, rarely loses when scoring first and wins by decisive margins.
Tons of Fun & TDs
Meyer’s first team – Bowling Green, 2001 – averaged over 30 points per game and his second BG team ranked third nationally with 40.8 points per game with a high of 72.
His Utah teams continued the trend. His initial Ute’s squad scored 40 points in Meyer’s first game as coach and went on to score just under 29 points per game. His second Utah team scored 45.3 points per game to rank third nationally in scoring. That team topped out at 63 points twice.
Meyer’s six Florida teams were the most prolific scoring teams in the Southeastern Conference between 2005 and 2010. Consider:
§ Florida scored more total touchdowns – 372 – during that stretch than every other SEC team with a considerable margin – 66 scores – between its total and that of Arkansas (306 touchdowns) with LSU third during that period with 305 touchdowns.
§ Florida led the SEC with 185 rushing touchdowns, outpacing both LSU (152 rush scores) and Auburn (149) by, again, considerable margins.
§ Florida also led the SEC with 154 passing touchdowns during the six-year stretch with Arkansas (147) and Georgia (134) ranking second and third, respectively.
Two of his Florida teams averaged over 40 points per game – 42.4 to rank third nationally in 2007 and 43.6 to rank fourth nationally in 2008 – giving Meyer four such seasons, and with at least one occurring at each of his three previous coaching stops.
Big-Time Rushing & Passing Stats
Four of Meyer’s 10 teams have sported national Top 15 averages in rushing offense. His 2002 Bowling Green team ranked 11th (219.0); his 2004 Utah team ranked 13th (236.0); his 2008 Florida team ranked 10th (231.1) and his 2009 Florida team ranked 10th (221.7).
Perhaps most impressively, his six Florida teams totaled more rushing yards – 15,109 – than every SEC team during that six-year stretch.
SEC Cumulative Rushing Yards (2005-10)
1. Florida – 15,109 (185 rushing TDs)
2. Auburn – 14,654 (149)
3. Arkansas – 14,320 (136)
4. LSU – 13, 282 (152)
5. Alabama – 13,224 (134)
Four Meyer-coached teams have finished in the Top 4 nationally in pass efficiency, including the 2009 unit that led the nation with a rating of 167.31. Meyer’s Gators were second in the SEC in passing yards during his tenure with only 114 yards separating Florida from South Carolina’s SEC-high.
SEC Cumulative Passing Yards (2005-10)
1. South Carolina – 18,176 (126 passing TDs)
2. Florida – 17,062 (154)
3. Georgia – 17,329 (134)
4. Tennessee – 17,292 (130)
5. Arkansas – 17,094 (147)
Not surprising by these rushing and passing totals, Meyer’s spread offenses are balanced. Including his Bowling Green and Utah teams, Meyer has had six teams ranked among the Top 3 in their respective conference in rushing, three teams in the Top 3 in passing, and six times his teams have been Top 3 in total offense including four teams – 2004 Utah and 2007, 2008 and 2009 Florida – that led the conference.
There is no disputing the fact Meyer’s team produce, especially when one considers his six Florida teams led the SEC in total rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, passing touchdowns, total offensive yards and total touchdowns, and finished second in passing yards.
But there’s more…
Meyer’s Teams Know How to Win
Urban Meyer’s teams know how to win. Regardless how that ability is referenced – such as the positive attribute of having a killer instinct, or keeping the pedal to the metal – his teams have it and here’s proof:
§ His teams are 76-5 when scoring first, including a phenomenal 49-2 record at Florida when scoring first; and
§ Nearly a third of his wins – 32 of 104 – are decisive wins by 30-or-more points, and 14 of those wins have come by 40-or-more points.
4 The number of times Urban Meyer’s teams have had a Top 5 scoring average nationally;
14 Number of times Meyer’s teams have ranked among the Top 10 nationally in an offensive statistical category;
17 Number of times a Meyer-coached team has led its conference in an offensive statistical category;
23 Number of times Meyer’s teams have scored 50-or-more points in a game;
35.5 The average number of points per game by Meyer’s teams;
45.3 The highest per game scoring average for a season for one of Meyer’s teams (2004 Utah); and
53 Number of times Meyer’s teams have scored 40-or-more points in a game.
It’s crystal clear by the numbers: Coach Urban Meyer’s teams are high-powered, offensive machines that produce big-time rushing, passing and scoring results.