This is J.T. Barrett’s fifth year as a quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes, and he is now on his third position coach. Tom Herman watched over Barrett for his first two seasons, then Tim Beck took over for the past two years. Now, Ryan Day gets the fifth and final season.
That kind of turnover can hamper the development of a player, but Barrett is only looking at how it can help him.
“Change is not always a bad thing,” he said this spring. “Change in my aspect of it, coaches have left, coaches at my position have left to pursue things in their career. That’s wasn’t something that I was mad at by any means, but I’ve taken what they have taught me and incorporated that into my game.
“I’m also doing that with Coach Day and Coach Wilson. When they come in they’re really not trying to change me and make me a totally different player, but the thing they’re trying to do is make sure that I keep on enhancing and keep on getting better. I’m taking something from anybody and everybody that I feel like is going to help me and help my game.”
With Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day added to the offensive staff with the Buckeyes, they have brought expectations that might be difficult to achieve. What shouldn’t be difficult, however, is simply improving upon where the Ohio State offense was a year ago.
There are many ways to get better as an offense, but the approach that center Billy Price is taking is simply for every player to just do their jobs. He speaks from experience, as there were instances last season where the Buckeyes were lacking in that area.
“Right now we like the story of the 2014 offense,” he said. “Comparing it to last year, I think that, in my personal opinion and speaking for the offensive line, I think there were little deteriorations, including our behalf. There’s attention to detail, the effort aspect, the pride aspect that it makes you mad if you get beat.
“As far as the other things beyond my control, I can’t speak on that behalf because I wasn’t in on those meetings, I’m not in that meeting room. But if you just take care of your thing — if Isaiah takes care of his 20 square feet, I take care of my 20 square feet, if everybody has that personal accountability of making sure that you own your responsibility and your task, the offense will succeed.”
Billy Davis is the third new addition to Urban Meyer’s staff this year, as he is taking over for Luke Fickell as the Buckeyes’ linebacker coach. Davis worked behind the scenes during the 2016 season, so there is plenty of familiarity between him and his players. There is also familiarity between Davis and Meyer, but it stretches way back before the 2016 season.
“We started out playing college ball together back in Cincinnati,” Davis said. “(Urban) had just finished with the Braves and he was walking on because he was a professional athlete. We just had a lot in common and we both knew we would get into coaching eventually, so that was a bond right from the get-go for us. We just became good friends.
“I think coaches usually gravitate toward each other. We weren’t coaches at that time but he had a passion for the game like I had a passion and you kind of get like-minded people around you. As we went on, he was ahead of me a little bit. He went on and started coaching and I was still playing. Then eventually I caught up and we were both coaching.”
They managed to stay close after their playing days. In fact, Davis was the best man at Meyer’s wedding.
“Yeah, yeah,” he said. “We were close.”
Did Davis give a speech at the wedding?
“I think I did,” he recalled, “It wasn’t a long one though.”