As Pete Thamel of SI.com points out in a recent article, the Ohio State offensive line has gone through an impressive transformation which started in the weight room, and has since translated nicely onto the field.
Last season, Ohio State ranked 118th nationally in sacks allowed, allowing nearly 4 per game. As if that weren’t bad enough, the Buckeyes ranked 114th in pass attempts with just 245 on the season, which shakes out to roughly 19 attempts per game. Meyer was critical of the body composition of the offensive line when he was hired, and realized that needed to change in order to have the success that him and his staff expected.
Urban’s new staff brought in plenty of changes, including hiring a full time nutritionist and giving players healthier choices at meals and have also stationed fridges full of Gatorade all over their training facility.
“In the first six months of Meyer’s tenure, the team lost 457 pounds of fat and gained 521 pounds of muscle. The offensive line, a group of just a dozen guys, lost a combined 133 pounds of fat.” Thamel notes in his article.
That’s very impressive.
One of the more interesting parts of the piece centers around the environment that Marotti has created in the weight room. Not only do they get after it with intensity (with the results to prove it), but he also keeps things entertaining and has created an environment where players want to lift. For example, Marotti has been known to have themed lifting days such as “Harley Davidson day” where guys show up to work out dressed in all black and cut-offs.
“It’s not a fun atmosphere, but an entertaining atmosphere. It makes you want to lift.” one player noted.
This season, the offensive line has improved tremendously. The daily instruction of offensive line coach Ed Warriner on the field, coupled with Marotti’s approach in weight room has payed immediate dividends. Through the ten games of 2012, the Buckeyes are averaging just over 2 sacks allowed per game, and have already thrown the ball nearly as many times this season (242) than they did in all of last season’s 13 games (245). Ohio State’s ground game has also been dominant, ranking 8th nationally in rushing (256 ypg).
With less than a year in Columbus, Meyer and Marotti have already given the Buckeyes a fresher, faster, and lighter identity. There’s no doubt that the weight room environment has a lot to do with their transformation and it’s clear to see why Urban noted that Marotti was his “most important hire” after he got him on board.
Let the results on the field speak for themselves