COLUMBUS, Ohio — When it comes to recruiting, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has long coveted speed.
He now appears to be applying a similar strategy to his coaching hires as well.
After the Buckeyes’ offense bottomed out in a disastrous 31-0 loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal Fiesta Bowl on Saturday, changes on Ohio State’s coaching staff appeared all but inevitable. It didn’t take long, either, for Meyer to act.
Early Tuesday morning, Horns Digest reported Buckeyes quarterbacks coach Tim Beck would be leaving the program to become the offensive coordinator at Texas. Mere hours later, Ohio State officially announced Beck’s replacement, former San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach Ryan Day.
In Day, the Buckeyes are adding a longtime Chip Kelly protege who possesses no shortage of experience when it comes to running the spread offense. Perhaps more important, Day’s experience with the spread is of the hurry-up variety.
In fact, Day played quarterback for Kelly at New Hampshire in the first season Kelly installed his hurry-up offense.
“That was the beginning stages of his offense, and that’s one of the things (Kelly) does a great job with, moving and adjusting,” Day said in 2013, per CBSPhilly.com’s Joe Santoliquito. “Coach Kelly is a master of playing really, really fast, which has become an edge for him.”
It has also aided Day, who has coached under Kelly in the NFL in each of the last two seasons. As for Ohio State, the Buckeyes have utilized what they call “tempo” on and off under Meyer, but less frequently following the departure of offensive coordinator Tom Herman two years ago.
This much, however, has been undeniable: When the Ohio State offense has been at its best in recent years, the Buckeyes have been playing quick.
“I think it helps us,” quarterback J.T. Barrett said last offseason. “If our guys are tired, just imagine how tired those guys are (on defense).”
Yet for one reason or the other, Ohio State hasn’t relied on its tempo offense as consistently as it would have liked to over the past two years. The addition of Day should help that.
In that regard, he might not be alone.
Per a report from CrimsonQuarry.com, the Buckeyes will soon name Kevin Wilson as their new offensive coordinator. And while OSU has yet to confirm the hiring and an opening on the OSU staff doesn’t currently exist, the move would make sense. Meyer has long spoken fondly of Wilson, having faced the former Indiana head coach in each of his first five seasons with the Buckeyes.
In particular, Meyer has praised the pace at which Wilson runs his offense. Meyer has studied Wilson’s work since a 2001, when his Bowling Green team faced Northwestern, where Wilson served as the Wildcats offensive coordinator.
“We didn’t really slow them down, so we did study them, we did visit with them. We share similar philosophies and he’s adapted over the years, too,” Meyer said of Wilson in 2015. “We’re friends. I admire him as a coach and I think he’s doing a great job.”
If Wilson does indeed wind up on Ohio State’s staff, it won’t be without baggage. Indiana unceremoniously fired its sixth-year head coach this past offseason after accusations of player mistreatment.
But without all that comes with being a head coach, Wilson could solely focus on football in Columbus. Such an approach has worked out well for Buckeyes defensive coordinator Greg Schiano after his messy departure from the NFL.
As for the football impact, it’s not hard to see what Wilson — along with Day — could add to OSU’s offense.
The Buckeyes have been at their best under Meyer when they’ve been playing fast. Their latest staff changes could result in them finally getting back up to speed.