Today’s Topic: What’s the ‘Fun Part’ For Kevin Wilson?
This past week, Ohio State co-offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson met with reporters following a spring practice to talk about the Buckeye offense, as well as the group of tight ends that he is coaching.
Normally, this would be the part of spring where the articles are written about this being the year the tight ends are used.
This is not that article. Not quite, anyway. This is the article about how if Ohio State wanted to use the tight ends more, they could.
To hear Wilson and his tight ends tell it, this is the best group in a while at OSU and they have the talent and versatility to command more playing time.
In fact, the coaching staff named them the best unit of the offseason.
On the field, tight ends Luke Farrell, Rashod Berry, Jeremy Ruckert, and Jake Hausmann can be called upon to be used in any number of ways, which makes the entire Ohio State offense even more difficult to prepare for.
“If there is one tight end on the field, he can play tight end, but he also has to be able to flex out,” Wilson explained. “So if you’ve watched us in the last couple years, if there’s one tight on the field, he might be in the backfield playing that fullback position, he might be at tight end, he might be a wing, he might flex out at receiver. When you put two of them on the field, they both could be tight ends, one could come into the backfield, one could flex out, both could flex out.”
There have been some two tight end sets over the last couple of years, but mostly for run blocking purposes. That could be changing this year and for one key reason.
“The reason we’ve never done that is because the second tight end wasn’t as good as the second receiver or the third receiver or the fourth receiver,” Wilson said. “So what you’re going to do, you’re going to play your best 11 or your best 12, 13, or 14 or 15 people. So if the tight end position is better and their skill set says they can do a lot of jobs, now we change formations, but they get on the field. If you want to do that and those are bad players, you take them off the field and put the good players on the field.”
The Buckeyes lost three talented senior receivers last season, so that group has taken a hit. According to Wilson, however, it’s not about the receivers falling back to the rest of the offense. Rather, it has been the tight ends who have risen to the level of the receivers.
“So previously because of the receiver strength we’ve had, we’ve been a lot more spread with one tight end,” he said. “Now our receivers are doing well, and our young receivers are going to be good, so we’re not going to have a major drop off in talent at receiver. So it’s not like we’re trying to have more tight ends because the receiver position is not going to be strong. The receivers are going to be strong, it’s just that our tight end position is getting stronger that they can get on the field more.”
The options are plentiful for the Ohio State offensive coaches this season, which is the best kind of problem to have. Just because there will be new faces and possibly more tight ends on the field, however, that doesn’t mean the offense will be new.
“So it’s really not new. It’s not a new offense, it’s just getting the best guys on the field,” Wilson said. “And Demario McCall has a slight pulled muscle, but you do Demario McCall with two tailbacks, and now he’s a receiver because he has that skill set. So it’s really kind of cool. That’s the fun part.”