Ryan Day, Kevin Wilson Talk Collaboration and Design of Buckeye Offense
Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson is currently preparing to enter his fourth season in Columbus, having helped the Buckeyes deliver a very impressive 38-4 record since arriving from Indiana.
He spent five years as head coach of the Hoosiers in Bloomington, turning the program from 1-11 in his inaugural season to a pair of six-win campaigns upon culmination. But since arrival, Wilson has shared OC/play-calling duties with head coach Ryan Day (who also helps coach the quarterbacks).
However, Day suggested this past spring that Wilson may take on more play-calling duties in 2020 as the duo continues growing alongside one another.
“It’s a lot of group stuff in general,” said Wilson, who also coaches the tight ends, when asked recently about his say/design in the offense. “We work with our position guys, bring their strengths and weaknesses back to the table in terms of concepts, and work to get struggling players up to speed. Our basic game plan then evolves into situational things like third down and scoring zones.”
Since 2017, the Ohio State offense has thrown 138 touchdown passes (first nationally), scored 234 touchdowns (second nationally), averaged 523.8 yards per game (third nationally), sent a pair of quarterbacks to New York as Heisman Trophy finalists (Dwayne Haskins/Justin Fields ) produced a 2,000-yard rusher in J.K. Dobbins and broke six Big Ten offensive team records… all in 2018.
"You have to pick your spots, but we try to be as aggressive as we can from the minute we touch the ball,” Day said last week during his radio show on the Ohio State Learfield IMG Sports Network. “We are trying to score points, we all have that mentality … we’re going to play fast and physical."
Wilson, who also has experience guiding prolific offenses at Indiana and Oklahoma, has helped the Buckeyes finish top-eight nationally each year since arriving for both total offense and scoring offense. He elaborated on the in-game approach between offensive coaches this past Friday afternoon during a media session.
“There is a lot of talking after the drive, strategizing and adjusting for the next one,” Wilson began. “With us being a no-huddle offense, it’s best to talk before the first play is called and then minimize conversation during the drive. I enjoy working for (and with) Coach Day and think we are pretty compatible.”
Both leaders, along with many others on staff, will look to keep the dynamic output rolling come October 24 against Nebraska and beyond. Fields is a preseason Heisman front-runner, an experienced offensive line features All-American Wyatt Davis, a myriad of talent exists at the wide receiver group led by Chris Olave, plenty of game-changing options exist in the backfield, and the veteran tight end unit can do a bit of everything.
“Highest tempo, roughly 14-15 seconds is great,” Day said after being asked how fast he likes to run a play. “Other styles and tempos depend on where we are in the game, rhythm of the offense, who’s on the field, etc. You have to get first downs too or you’ll get out of whack. Lots of times, you decide before the game how fast you want to play and then adjust. If we go too fast, we don’t change the play and limit our ability to call audibles."
As always, don’t look away for too long when Ohio State has the football in 2020.