Kevin Wilson is well-known for the effectiveness of his offenses. What he is not known for, however, is one particular style of offense.
While at Oklahoma he had two 4,000-yard passers in an air-raid attack. While at Northwestern and Indiana, he had a 2,000-yard rusher at each place. And that's not even counting the 1,800 and 1,900-yard rushers he had with the Sooners.
In other words, Wilson tunes his offense to the players on the roster, and not the other way around.
Now that he is at Ohio State, the questions about how well his philosophy will mesh with Urban Meyer's are natural to ask and easy to answer.
"I have core values in offensive football that parallel almost exactly word-for-word verbatim to what Coach Meyer believes," Wilson said. "So the first adjustment is not an adjustment because we’re on the same page as far as how you want to run the offense. Maybe the language is different. Maybe things you emphasize. As I continue to learn and grow that, in time maybe we enhance. But right now we’re running our stuff and running it with great players."
Given the struggles in the passing game over the last two seasons, it would be difficult for Ohio State not to improve in that area this year. That doesn't mean you are going to see the Buckeyes open up an air-raid passing attack, but it does mean that if there are receivers who can threaten a defense and a quarterback who can get them the ball, you should still see some pretty impressive numbers.
Yes, Wilson is being charged with improving the passing game, which he has plenty of experience doing, but what makes him so effective is that he is just as comfortable directing a run-heavy offense if that's what the roster dictates is best for the team.
"I think over time we weren’t a big playbook offense," Wilson said. "We’ve been a lot of places and have evolved over time. At Northwestern, we had a great evolution of some things we had to do to give our kids a chance to be successful. I got hired at Oklahoma because of some of those things. With injuries to Jason White, our plan changed. Adrian Peterson showed up, our plan changed. Sam Bradford showed up, our plan changed.
"We went to Indiana, our plan changed. Each year was different. We had quarterback injuries one year. We lost our starting quarterback, our backup, and our third. We were a running team with Tevin Coleman. You guys saw him here. The next year with Nate Sudfeld we were the best passing team in the Big Ten. Every year we change, so I’m kind of used to change."
Basically, Wilson's offensive system sets out to be the perfect complement to the talent on the roster. Considering the players lacing up the cleats at Ohio State right now, we might be looking at a "peanut butter and chocolate situation" here. What exactly does that mean? Here's a hint.
You can debate who is the peanut butter and who is the chocolate in this analogy if you want, or you can just sit back and enjoy what should be a perfect marriage.