An unusual metamorphosis is taking place at Ohio State. Two years ago Urban Meyer inherited a 6-7 team.

Jim Tressel's NCAA sanctions denied Meyer's first squad from a postseason opportunity (which probably cost the Buckeyes a national title date with Notre Dame), and scholarship reductions hindered recruiting.

The offense was abysmal, the staff was in flux and Meyer was simply trying to stay afloat. His 12-0 record that year is a testament to his coaching acumen.

Last season the Buckeyes rode a 24-game winning streak that featured a second-straight undefeated run through the Big Ten regular season. That led to an odd conundrum.

While the Ohio State defense showed its vulnerability, the Buckeyes kept winning. Meyer and his staff were reluctant to play youngsters while winning with upperclassmen. When the campaign ended with a thud, a disastrous defense that could not stop anyone was fully revealed.

In the Orange Bowl loss, true freshman safety Vonn Bell made an acrobatic goal-line pick that had many questioning why he wasn't playing far more and far earlier. Bell was the poster boy for a class that was also highly rated, but wound up with very limited impact in 2013.

Freshman defensive lineman Joey Bosa was by far the best rookie, and worked his way into a starting spot. Freshman speedster Dontre Wilson showed spurts of electricity, but he was thrown out of the Michigan game and was a non-factor in the final two losses.

Those two were the highlights from what was considered a top-five consensus haul in 2013. During a National Signing Day press conference, Meyer acknowledged that the coaches and players were both to blame for not developing those highly regarded rookies.

Receiver Jalin Marshall, cornerback Gareon Conley and linebacker Mike Mitchell were among a group most figured would have been contributors. Instead they were redshirted.

That decision looks like it cost the Buckeyes dearly. Internet reports over the weekend indicated Mitchell will transfer to be close to his ailing father. Who knows if playing time last sesaon, particularly at a position that underperformed dramatically, would have altered his mindset.

In turn his younger brother Mickey, a highly-rated recruit for the basketball team, can also be scratched.

Meanwhile, this year's football recruiting class includes linebacker Raekwon McMillan, the Butkus Award winner as the nation's top linebacker. Some consider safety Erick Smith as Ohio's top high school senior and Meyer said he "has to play" this year. Akron linebacker Dante Booker won Ohio's Mr. Football Award, the first defensive player since Andy Katzenmoyer to earn the honor. rated Cincinnati Moeller's Sam Hubbard as the state's best player, and at 6-foot-6 he offers a myriad of possibilities from safety to outside linebacker to defensive end.

That group will fuel a new agenda. They are just in time because a new dynamic is now in play. The staff has no reason to feel honor-bound to upperclassmen. There is no winning streak for an elder player to point to and say "We're getting it done, why change it?"

In point of fact, the landscape is the polar opposite. The Buckeyes are riding a two-game losing streak. The defense was riddled by woeful Illinois, then Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State and Clemson in a dizzying and disappointing finish to the 2013 season.

Change is expected, especially on defense. With Chris Ash as a new coordinator, and make no mistake this will be his defense not Luke Fickell's (despite their titles), and Penn State veteran Larry Johnson as the defensive line coach, a fresh approach will be introduced. Those not embracing it can find the sidelines or the door.