Kevin Wilson has been around. He played his college football at North Carolina, which is also where he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant in 1984. From there he spent a few years enhancing his resume at smaller schools around the state. Then came a job as the offensive line coach for Miami (OH) in 1990 under first-year head coach Randy Walker.
Wilson would spend the next 11 years with Walker, moving with him to Northwestern. In 2002, he took the job as the co-offensive coordinator at Oklahoma. After nine seasons with head coach Bob Stoops and the Sooners, Wilson finally left for a head coaching position of his own. He took over the Indiana football program in 2011 and brought his high-energy offense to the Hoosiers and the Big Ten.
Now, however, he finds himself at Ohio State. The offensive coordinator of Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes.
For the first time since 2010, Kevin Wilson is an assistant coach again.
There is an adjustment period for any coach in Wilson’s situation. OSU defensive coordinator Greg Schiano went through it the year before. It can be jarring to go from running your own program and worrying about every facet of it, to just focusing on your one particular position or side of the ball.
And doing something someone else’s way after years of doing it however you wanted isn’t exactly a former head coach’s favorite thing to do.
How has that adjustment gone for Wilson?
Very well by all accounts.
“The real adjustment to me has just been Coach Meyer’s passion and energy and direction every day is at another level,” Wilson said this spring. “You’re on point. I just feel like as a coach he demands my best every day, and he demands it from J.T., he demands it from every person in our organization across the board.”
More than anything else, this may be the secret to Urban Meyer’s success. Wilson has seen plenty of different programs in his over 30 years of coaching. What Ohio State has under Meyer, however, is different than all of them.
“I think that’s why — there’s tradition here, there’s talent here, there’s resources, but there’s also a standard that is the highest standard that I’ve been a part of,” Wilson said. “You have to take care of yourself to have the energy and the concentration. You need to bring it.”
Meyer requires optimal output from his staff. He can’t ask his players to give their all if he’s not doing the same with the coaches.
And for Wilson, he appreciates the task he has been given. He also knows that nothing less than his best will be accepted. These are the same expectations for every other member of the team as well, be it the running backs, the linebackers, or the offensive staff as a whole.
Urban Meyer says that you get what you focus on. He wants his coaches and players to focus on excellence, and then work to realize those intentions.
“You have a workload in recruiting,” Wilson said. “You’re going to be working with your players. You’re responsible for your players. Ultimately, I’m responsible also for the offense, and it’s an awesome obligation. I respect the way he does it because it’s high end.”