Some eyebrows were raised when Urban Meyer hired Kevin Wilson to be his offensive coordinator this past winter. With the way that Wilson departed Indiana, a crooked glance or two was to be expected. Meyer and Ohio State did their due diligence, however, and were very comfortable bringing Wilson into the fold to run an offense that had been sputtering a bit of late.
When a new coach arrives, players are given a blank slate with which to forge new impressions, and the same holds true in reverse. The coach also begins with a blank slate, and that’s exactly the way it has been with Wilson.
“It hasn’t entered my thoughts to the point where it’s a concern,” said center Billy Price of the way Wilson departed Indiana. “Obviously in the digital social-media era we’re all very educated on the things that go on and the headlines that happen. Sometimes when you go to a new place you start fresh. Guys who transfer from here get a fresh slate, a new start. None of the things that have transpired at his prior university has impacted any of us here. That’s not just the political answer, that’s the truth answer. Again, things happen. He’s an awesome offensive coordinator so there’s nothing going on.”
Another new assistant coach for the Buckeyes is Billy Davis, who handles the Ohio State linebackers. This is not his first year at Ohio State, as he spent the 2016 season in an analyst role for the team. Davis and Urban Meyer have been friends for decades, which might help explain how a long-time NFL assistant ended up at Ohio State.
“I was a volunteer coach the beginning of training camp last year,” Davis said. “I came to visit during training camp and (Urban Meyer) talked me into volunteering. It’s been great. The age group is different, that’s probably the biggest thing is the age difference and the school work that they have to do, where in the NFL they don’t have that, but what a great group of young men we have here, and fun to work with. It’s been exciting to see the big, bright-eyed, wide open guys that are more of an open book than you find in the NFL.”
One of the benefits of being Ohio State’s linebackers coach is that you not only get to work with Ohio State linebackers, but you get Ohio State defensive linemen playing in front of them. It is early, but Davis already likes what he is seeing from the front four.
“A couple of those guys are going to play on Sundays for a long time,” he said. “As linebackers, that’s what you want in front of you. When you have four, five, six deep, that’s going to help the linebacker play. Now in turn now we have to help them with being downhill and being aggressive ourselves so it goes hand in hand. We’re very excited about the defensive line we have in front of us from the linebacker position.”
Davis isn’t the only happy camper this spring for the Buckeyes.
“It makes it a lot easier,” linebacker Chris Worley said of the defensive line helping his transition to middle linebacker. “With my skill-set and my athletic ability it will make it really easy when those guys are wreaking havoc like that to just go find the ball and go get it.”