Ohio State players and coaches from the offensive side of the ball have talked at length about the differences with the offense now with Kevin Wilson at the helm.
If you want a different perspective, however, you go to the coaches who are trying to stop this new Buckeye offense.
“First of all, the tempo is different,” cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said this spring. “The tempo is faster. Kevin has a really good feel and a really good sense of what he wants to try to do to the defense and how he wants to manipulate the defense through tempo and formation, and that’s obvious.
“He’s going to take advantage of the things that you give him. He’s not going to try to beat his head against a brick wall. I would also tell you that Ryan Day is a tremendous addition. The accuracy of the quarterbacks, where they’re throwing, the timing with which they’re throwing the ball makes our offense incredibly difficult to defend.”
Cornering the Market
Since Kerry Coombs’ arrival, defending the pass has been something that his corners have done very well. Every single one of his starters has earned either first-team All-Big Ten accolades or some serious NFL money.
Bradley Roby, Eli Apple, Marshon Lattimore, and Gareon Conley were all selected in the first round of the NFL Draft over the last few years. That’s a pretty remarkable run, and it looks like momentum is only increasing.
So how is this possible?
“First of all, we recruit great players,” Coombs explained. “They understand what the standard is. We don’t recruit 50 kids to go into that room because 50 kids can’t do what they do. There’s a handful across the country that have the ability to do year in and year out what those guys do.
“The second thing is because that is the standard. They watch the guys ahead of them who sit in the front row and they know that is what it takes to be that guy. Right now (Marcus) Williamson, (Jeffrey) Okudah and (Shaun) Wade are watching Denzel Ward and learning how to do it, just like Denzel Ward learned from Gareon and Marshon, just like they learned. That’s what has taken place. It’s not me, it’s them.”
Tyquan Lewis Can’t Lose
Good cornerbacks can be made to look great by great teammates, specifically those who rush the passer. Ohio State has had the last three Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year award winners, with Joey Bosa winning it in 2014 and 2015, and Tyquan Lewis winning it last season.
Lewis decided to return for his fifth-and-final season because he wanted to get better. According to his position coach Larry Johnson, he has done exactly that.
“No question,” Johnson said. “You can see it. Tyquan, if you watch him now, he’s a different player. And that’s hard to say because you guys don’t see it, but in practice you can see it. One of the things that we’ve focused on with Tyquan is improving his hips. The ability to flip his hips, we’ve got to improve that. So he couldn’t do any power rushes (this spring), it’s got to be all hip flips, and I’m telling you right now he’s where I want him to be because he’s worked at it. That’s the biggest thing.”