Ohio State Football: What Buckeyes Must Improve on Most in 2013

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 11, 2012

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 24: Head Coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes gives his team instructions during a game against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium on November 24, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

It's hard to improve on 12-0. After all, perfection is perfection.

But if the Ohio State Buckeyes hope to continue their winning streak in 2013 and ultimately win a national championship in Urban Meyer's second season, then they will need to tighten up in a few aspects.

Despite winning all of their games and boasting a Heisman Trophy candidate in quarterback Braxton Miller, the Buckeyes showed some vulnerability at times. 

Here we break down what Ohio State must improve on most next season.


Passing Attack

Ohio State ranked 105th nationally in passing offense in 2012, racking up just over 181 yards through the air per game. 

Although quarterback Braxton Miller nearly doubled the passing output from his freshman season this past year, throwing for 2,039 yards, he finished the season with a completion percentage under 59 percent. In his second year as head coach in Columbus, Urban Meyer will need to develop Miller into a more accurate and consistent passer. 

Miller's legs and ability to escape the pocket will only take him and the Buckeyes so far in 2013. There's plenty of film on Miller now and he'll have to become an elite, dual-threat signal-caller in order for Ohio State's offense to succeed next season.

He can't continue to be a one-trick pony on the run, running the ball 227 times in one season.


Create More Turnovers

Easier said than done, sure. But creating turnovers is critical to being a successful team and increasing your margin of error. 

The Buckeyes forced just 21 turnovers in 12 games last season, ranking them 61st in the nation in that category. On the other hand, Ohio State ranked just 36th in fewest turnovers per game, committing 18 total in 2012.

Ohio State's turnover differential, +3, ranked them 50th in the nation.

Defensive coordinators and coaches must continue to preach takeaways and put their players in the best positions to force game-changing turnovers in 2013. At the same time, the offense must preach ball security from start to finish.


Shore Up Secondary

The Buckeyes ranked just 36th in total defense this past season, mainly because they were so poor defending the pass in 2012. Ohio State ranked 74th against the pass through 12 games, giving up more than 243 yards through the air per game. 

As for rush defense, the Buckeyes ranked 13th in that area, so clearly the most important issue for Meyer to address defensively this offseason is the secondary.

Ohio State defensive coordinators Luke Fickell and Everett Withers will both need to develop some easy-to-understand schemes and rely on talented returning players like Bradley Roby to help lead the younger players.

If the Buckeyes can improve their secondary in 2013, create more turnovers and return a more polished passer in Braxton Miller, there's no reason why they won't contend for the BCS National Championship.

They already have the leadership in place, the talent and of course the pedigree to win it all in 2013. 


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