After faltering down the stretch of the 2013 season, Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes have a lot to prove this season.
The Buckeyes were riding a 24-game winning streak going into the Big Ten title game against Michigan State last year. That streak—and Ohio State’s title hopes—were completely dashed by a green-and-white blur of defensive dominance.
If Meyer wants to make a run at college football’s first-ever playoff, he and the Buckeyes will need to overcome a number of hurdles. Whether it’s reshaping a unit that lost talented players, conquering struggles from last year or surviving a tough road test, Ohio State has a lot of obstacles to overcome in 2014.
Here are the three biggest challenges facing Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes this year.
Rebuilding the Offensive Line
Ohio State’s strength in 2013 was its offensive line, which featured four multiyear senior starters.
That unit paved the way for Carlos Hyde and the Buckeyes’ potent rushing attack. Ohio State averaged 308.6 yards per game, which ranked No. 5 in the country.
With Jack Mewhort, Corey Linsley, Andrew Norwell and Marcus Hall all gone, Meyer and the Buckeyes have a big issue to address.
That process started in the spring when Taylor Decker, the sole returning starter, flipped from his right tackle spot to left tackle. The only other starter to emerge was Pat Elflein, who is set to replace Hall at right guard.
The left guard, center and right…