Morning Constitutional: What Makes a Playcaller Prefer the Sideline or the Box?

Ryan Day Ohio State Football Buckeyes

Today’s Topic: What Makes a Playcaller Prefer the Sideline or the Box?

A few days back, Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson explained how playcalling has worked in the past at Ohio State.

What we didn’t get into too much the last time was the vantage point from where those called were being made.

In 2017, Wilson and Ryan Day called the plays from the booth upstairs, giving them an eye-in-the-sky view of everything going on. It allows the coaches to see the entire defense, every route, where the ball should have gone, and on and on.

To start the 2018 season, as acting head coach, Day had to move down to the field and call plays from the sideline. He stayed there when Meyer returned, and according to Wilson, Day possesses the ability to do well down there because of his past as a quarterback.

“The thing where I think he’s pretty good though is at being a quarterback,” he said. “If you look at play callers, some guys are box guys and some guys are field guys. I think guys that played quarterback can call the game better from the field because they’re used to playing the game.

“I have coached quarterback, but I’ve coached quarterbacks through the eyes of a camera. I played offensive line, but I have coached quarterbacks seven, eight, nine years, but I coached it through the eyes of the camera. The quarterback, his eyes are ground level, and I think that’s one of Ryan’s advantages having played the quarterback position. Calling the game from the field, I think he can still see and feel it. Where personally in my opinion, I see it as a play caller a little bit better in the box.”

With two distinct vantage points, Day and Wilson are able to provide each other with a much clearer picture after each play.

“He needs to say, ‘What happened?’ And I go, ‘Ryan, we didn’t get a hat on that safety,'” Wilson explained. “He says ‘What do you mean?’ I go ‘The receiver just didn’t get a hat on that.’ ‘Ryan, we can’t run that play. We can’t get that guy. We’ve got to go the other way.’ So what happened? ‘Hey, there’s a twist there, the protection is breaking down, Dwayne couldn’t step through the throw. We’ve just got to firm the protection up, Ryan. We’re fine. They didn’t have us. We just broke down. We’re fine. We’ll clean it up.’ Those are the things we talk about.”

Because of Day’s feel for the field-level optics and Wilson’s all-22 view, the two of them work very well together and have become a very cohesive duo.

“Very much. I think so,” Wilson said. “I think so. I think some of my strengths complement some of his. I think collectively we both have different views and visions, but I think also he’s a very good coach without a huge ego and I’m the same way. Collectively, we’re just trying to win and score points and take care of the ball and take care of the quarterback.”

4 Responses

  1. Love these morning walks, Gerd. Always too short though.

    Aside: I’m back in ‘Bama, so I guess those beers will have to take a rain check…..

    1. I was in Alabama last summer. I saw plenty of beer for the both of us.

  2. Gee, I always thought the best play callers were sitting on couches or recliners in living rooms or dens, miles away from the stadium! Ha, ha. We can usually call the best plays, just seconds after the play that didn’t work on the field!

  3. I do agree they appear to be as well-matched of a pair of OCs as I’ve observed. And better for Buckeye Nation I’m not sure Wilson will want to go anywhere, at least for a couple more years. If I had to guess I’d say he wants a ring and he’s got a better shot of getting it here than moving to head his own program again. Just a guess…

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