One loss and Urban Meyer's players come unglued, but why is this a bad thing?
When you get to a point where one loss cripples the season and initiates what some are calling a near player mutiny, expectations may be a bit too lofty.
Shortly after Ohio State’s home loss to Michigan State on Saturday snapped the Buckeyes’ NCAA record 30-game conference winning streak, several of the team’s biggest names put themselves in the spotlight, whether intentional or not, which ruffled the feathers of media types nationally.
They’re being too selfish, many said. Urban Meyer’s lost control, many quipped.
Ezekiel Elliott’s well-publicized post-game comments critical of his coaching staff spread like wildfire while Cardale Jones’ Instagram post pertaining to his NFL future was viewed by many as a head-scratching expression with another game to play during the regular season.
In actuality, this proves nothing other than what we already knew about Ohio State — a team packed with NFL talent itching to add another championship to its collection before much of the talented roster jumps to the next level. And for several Buckeyes, they realized this goal ended on the Spartans’ 41-yard kick, so why not be honest with their assessments after the game?
Too often we complain about cookie cutter comments from players surrounded by the media horde. Generic quotes have no lifespan and those perceived as juicy are blown out of proportion to garner attention. When a Heisman candidate as one of the nation’s best backs is excluded from a game plan, why do we all the sudden question him as a player when he speaks on it?
“I’m disappointed in the play-calling,” Elliott said. “I feel like we just weren’t put in the right opportunity to win this game. We weren’t put in the right situations to win this game.”
Elliott averaged 24.4 offensive touches per game coming into the Buckeyes’ most important game of the season, but managed just 12 carries — and no catches — against Michigan State.
Ohio State offensive coordinator Ed Warinner is being paid $600,000 in base salary this season and Urban Meyer’s sitting at $5.8 million. It’s a bad precedent to set when these two are above reproach from their players, you know, the guys who facilitate staff-wide bonuses with stellar performances leading to noteworthy wins.
Elliott was frustrated and he spoke from the heart. Let’s avoid chastising a player who wanted his hands on the football to try and help his team win the football game.