Our Buckeyes tackle the top-ranked Crimson Tide Monday evening in Miami.
A lot has been fabricated from Alabama’s transformation from a dynasty constructed on Nick Saban’s calling card lock-down protection to at least one powered by a prolific offense.
No. three Ohio State, which faces the top-ranked Crimson Tide on Monday evening within the nationwide championship recreation, has undergone an offensive evolution of its personal lately.
Former Ohio State coach City Meyer’s need to rejuvenate an assault that was shut out within the 2016 playoff by Clemson led him to Ryan Day, who offered precisely what the Buckeyes wanted to develop into stronger and — as an enormous bonus — ended up being a super successor to his former boss.
“When he received right here, I had the chance simply to see him coach. I knew we had been going to be totally different,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith mentioned. “His soccer IQ total is phenomenal, however offensively it’s at one other stage. He’s a artistic thinker. His potential to research and dissect, you realize, the chess recreation, so to talk, is actually, actually excellent.”
Day was employed as quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator by Meyer in 2017, simply days after the Buckeyes misplaced 31-Zero within the Fiesta Bowl semifinal to Clemson. Since then, Ohio State’s offense has taken off. Not solely have the Buckeyes develop into extra productive, however the best way they play has helped make this system a extra fascinating vacation spot for blue-chip quarterbacks.
“We had a fairly prolific offense with that we had been doing, however we would have liked to acknowledge what was taking place round us,” Smith mentioned.
The final time Ohio State received a nationwide championship was 2014, the primary yr of the playoff. Meyer’s unfold offense leaned closely on the read-option and quarterback working recreation. J.T. Barrett performed most of that season at quarterback and have become a Heisman Trophy contender. Famously, Cardale Jones stepped in after Barrett was injured late within the season and led the Buckeyes to the title.
Jones was not pretty much as good a runner as Barrett, however had a a lot larger arm to stretch the sector. That appeared to assist when the Buckeyes confronted Alabama within the semifinals.
The following two seasons, Ohio State’s offense produced good numbers and the crew continued to pile up victories. On expertise and athleticism alone, the Buckeyes might overwhelm most opponents however the offense was often inconsistent — particularly towards the perfect competitors.
The low level got here towards Clemson in Arizona. The Buckeyes had 9 first downs and 215 whole yards.
“I’m not used to it. We’re not used to it. It’s not going to occur once more,” Meyer mentioned then.
Meyer cleaned home and employed Day, who was coming off a two-year stint within the NFL, and former Indiana coach Kevin Wilson to be co-offensive coordinators.
“After we got here right here it wasn’t like we had been placing concepts in. We had been studying what Coach Meyer needed us to do, interval,” Wilson mentioned.
Day mentioned his discussions with Meyer had been largely about how greatest to make the most of expertise.
“Every year it’s modified, tweaked right here and there, however on the finish of the day I feel the premise of (the offense) has just about stayed the identical,” Day mentioned this week.
Day’s roots return to New Hampshire, the place he performed quarterback for Chip Kelly, who was offensive coordinator on the FCS college. Kelly had identified Day for years earlier than teaching him.
“When he was executed taking part in and received into teaching it was form of a no brainer,” mentioned Kelly, now head coach at UCLA.
Day landed on Meyer’s workers in Florida as a graduate assistant and stayed related to Meyer’s teaching tree, working with Steve Addazio, a former Florida assistant, at Temple and Boston School.
Kelly introduced Day to the NFL for 2 seasons with Philadelphia and San Francisco. When Day returned to varsity soccer he did so with the blueprint of an NFL passing recreation that assaults the sector extra vertically than Meyer’s offense did.
Day additionally introduced an understanding of possibly the largest distinction between the NFL and school recreation: You may’t be the identical crew each week.
“It’s about matchups,” Kelly mentioned. “I feel he did a very good job within the Clemson recreation in matching their tight ends. That was a bonus for him, their tight ends on the Clemson linebackers and safeties. And that’s what the NFL taught us is that every week the matchup’s totally different.”
In 2018, with Dwayne Haskins at quarterback and Day now promoted to sole offensive coordinator, the Ohio State offense moved nearer to what it’s at present. Day additionally took over as appearing coach for 3 video games whereas Meyer was serving a suspension associated to his dealing with of home violence allegations involving a former assistant coach.
The Buckeyes received all three video games with out Meyer, and Haskins went on to develop into a Heisman Trophy finalist and the primary Ohio State quarterback drafted in first-round in additional than 30 years.
When Meyer stepped down after 2018, Day was Smith’s option to take over. His first massive win? Persuading quarterback Justin Fields, a former five-star recruit, to switch from Georgia to Ohio State sight unseen.
“It was simply Ohio State’s — their success with quarterbacks on the school stage and simply the quantity of success that I might have beneath Coach Day and having the ability to be taught from him, due to course he’s been within the NFL. He’s been to the extent that I’m making an attempt to go,” Fields mentioned.
Final season with Fields, Ohio State averaged 6.94 yards per play, its greatest output for the reason that 2014 season (6.98). This season, the Buckeyes are at 7.51 after going for 8.87 towards Clemson within the Sugar Bowl semifinal.
And whereas Fields will doubtless be excessive first-round choose within the subsequent NFL draft, the Buckeyes quarterback room is trying good for the long run after signing two four-star recruits in 2020 (C.J. Stroud and Jack Miller). Ohio State additionally has a dedication from 2022 five-star Quinn Ewers.
Meyer went 83-9 in seven seasons at Ohio State. Remarkably, the Buckeyes nonetheless seem like trending up with Day.