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Urban Meyer Expects to Have Ed Warinner Upstairs for the Fiesta Bowl
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — Urban Meyer spent much of the 2015 season struggling to find a fix for the Buckeyes' play-calling process. As such, the entire offense struggled throughout the season to find a level of comfort in both pace and execution.

Seemingly, some of that was fixed against Michigan when Meyer sent offensive coordinator Ed Warinner upstairs so that he and co-offensive coordinator Tim Beck could operate together faster and better.

The result was a 42-13 win and 482 yards of total offense against one of the nation's scrappiest defenses.

Soon after those results the focus turned to whether or not Meyer would do the same for Notre Dame. Last week he answered that question, indicating that Warinner would be up in the press box one more time and not down on the field.

"It was not easy," Meyer said of the communication and play calling throughout the season. "I think Ed Warinner, you can't coach all five guys and be able to have significant input in the play calling. You need a stable [situation], and Tim Beck and him, that was a pretty good setup in the final game."

Meyer has repeatedly said that for Ohio State to use their tempo, the plays have to come from upstairs, and with both coordinators upstairs against Michigan, we certainly saw an uptick in the pace against the Wolverines.

"It was great to be up there and get a different perspective and be able to see what’s going on quicker and try and stay one step ahead of the defense," Warinner said immediately after the Michigan win. "So I think we were able to accomplish that today."

The offensive linemen weren't told about the relocation until the day before the game because Warinner didn't want them worrying about it. It obviously worked because the preparation came through in their 6.8 yards per carry.

They found out about the Fiesta Bowl plans a bit sooner this time, however.

"For the Team Up North game we prepared the exact same and he didn’t even tell us until that Friday before the game so we didn’t even know the whole week," said left tackle Taylor Decker. "So it was no different to us, so it’s not really been any different in bowl practice. I mean, bowl practice is different than a regular season preparation anyway, but in practice when we’re out on the field he’s not going to be right out there with us so it’s not going to be much different."

Looking back to the experience of the Michigan game, Decker said it took a couple of series for them to get used to having Warinner upstairs, but then at the end of the day, you still have to get out there and just play, which is what they did.

With Warinner upstairs, much of the coordination of the offensive line will once again fall to graduate assistant Jim Cordle, a former Buckeye offensive lineman himself. Decker, for one, is looking forward to it.

"I liked it. I thought Jim did an awesome job," he said of the Michigan experiment. "One, I like him as a person. He is just a good dude. Then obviously he has high level experience in football. I think the best quality he has is he stays really calm. If coaches get all worked up, get upset, then the players are going to get like that. The players are going to get pissed and stuff like that. Jim stays really calm on the sideline and he just kind of communicates what needs to be done. I think he did a great job."

What makes Cordle such a good fit on the sideline?

"First and foremost, he knows football. He has played the position that he is coaching right now. I think that is huge. There are little nuances where, if you didn’t play the position, you wouldn’t understand and you wouldn’t be able to get the point across of how to do things or what they even are. I think he is cool and calm, poised and I think that is the mark of a good coach."

With Warinner and Beck up in the booth and Cordle down on the sideline, the Buckeyes fully expect to be able to run tempo whenever they like. Even more than that, however, they will once again have both coordinators upstairs getting a fuller picture of what the defense is doing and be able to counter the Irish almost instantly because the communication process is instant as well.

It is still not known whether this can be a long-term solution for the Ohio State offense, but they will no doubt accept a short-term fix as long as it gets them one more win this season.

Player profiles relevant to story:
Coach - Meyer, Urban | Coach - Warinner, Ed
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