Kevin Wilson Seeing Proper Attitude in Buckeyes’ Running Game

JK Dobbins, Demario McCall Ohio State Buckeyes

The Ohio State Buckeyes were held under 5 yards per carry in 10 of their 14 games last season.

Over the course of the 2016 and 2017 seasons, they were only held under 5 yards per carry nine times.

Even against some of the Big Ten’s more forgiving rush defenses, the Buckeyes struggled on the ground last season.

They rushed for 92 yards on Minnesota. One week later, the Gophers gave up 383 yards on the ground to Nebraska.

The reasons for Ohio State’s issues on the ground last year have been rehashed so many times that the words have almost lost all meaning.

Each of those reasons has been addressed by head coach Ryan Day and his coaching staff. Not least among them is attitude.

“Randy Walker years ago (said) running football is an attitude,” co-offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said. “It’s a mindset and I think this crowd has a chance to be a much better running football team.”

Day has preached the need for toughness from this team, both offensively and defensively. He wants his running backs turning 3-yard carries into 5-yard carries. Every inch should be fought for and nothing should be given.

When Wilson looks at the talent on the Ohio State roster, including his tight end room, he sees a group of players who have taken Day’s emphasis, and he knows soon it will be time to run with it.

“Yeah, I think you throw the combination with the back and then the tight end crowd,” Wilson said. “We lost some quality players, but those guys putting their hand down in the dirt are pretty good. And they’ve got little edge about ’em.”

Justin Fields is the new starting quarterback and his ability to run the ball will help. In fact, it should do more than that. Even the threat of Fields running the ball will have defenses concerned.

With four new starters on the offensive line, however, they need to be the ones holding the proper mindset. Three of those new starters watched this offense struggle last year, but now they get a chance to change that. They will dictate how things go for this Ohio State offense early.

Until Fields and the passing game can make the defense back off, this Buckeye offense is going to be running into a loaded box. (Or at least as loaded as it can get against a spread offense.)

Will the offense be able to lean on the running game early, or will there simply be too many defenders there to get the job done?

“It’ll be interesting to see when that box gets loaded because they’re still gonna put one more (in the box),” Wilson said. “Do we have that identity to be that team that can, like you say, lean? I don’t like the word lean as much as a team that can run the football and smash ’em and get after it a little bit.”

Throughout practice, Kevin Wilson has seen what he was hoping to see. He has seen what this team has been working hard to become, and it’s not just because there is now a quarterback on hand who is a threat to run the ball.

“The way preseason has gone and the way coach Day has structured those things, I like lot of things I see with the potential to be a really solid running football team,” he said. “And not because the quarterback can run, just the mindset.”

7 Responses

  1. Proper attitude, lol. So last year’s team were slackers, Kevin? I doubt that had much to do with last year’s underachievement. We hear this coach happy talk every year but Wilson insults one’s intelligence. I guess it’s better than hearing that they have bad attitudes toward gaining more yards.

  2. IDK – Michael Jordan was a first team All American and now a STARTER in the NFL – maybe Studs is doing something right. Improvement is part of sports – but 13-1 is pretty damn good with or without a loaded box. So – was the run game up to prior standards – no. But I say the O-line was solid and the *1 was a result of the Defense rather than the O-line

  3. Color me confused. They keep talking about loading the box to stuff the run. Even last year they talked about it. There remains that tidbit saying, “until the offense proves it can stretch the field” teams will continue to load the box. The Buckeye passing game was as prolific as it gets last year, yet, teams continued to load the box. Haskins proved over and over and over that he could and would expose a loaded box….yet they continued to load the box. Now we’re hearing that our opponents will continue to load the box “until Fields proves he can beat them over the top.”

    It amounts to excuse manufacturing for the Buckeyes being incapable of running the football, without pointing to the real excuse. The offensive line was AWFUL last year drive blocking, trap/zone blocking, pulling, etc. Not average, not below average…..they were AWFUL. Sure they were really good in pass blocking, but, that’s only 50% of their functioning. Greg Studrawa is without excuse this year. The talent is CERTAINLY on the roster (as it was last year) so every eye and finger can point to exactly 1 place if another run blocking crap storm takes the field again in 2019.

    Mike Weber ran hard last year and produced a passable average running the ball. Master Teague when he got his shots early on ran the ball very well. They had passable success in spite of that lousy offensive line. JK just wasn’t a fighter like we should anticipate running backs at Ohio State to be. His bunny hopping style wasn’t given holes the size of semi trucks to run through and he lacked……….completely, the will to earn it on his own. Running backs need to make the tough yards when their OLine is as bad as last years. Weber did, but JK didn’t.

    If the offensive line doesn’t improve by a lot in 2019 THEY will be the fault of a sputtering offense, and that is on the OLine coach for not producing units consistently adapted to the talent in the backfield.

  4. I sure would like to see us break off some big runs and also not getting stopped for no gain so often. It was a real feat for Haskins to put up so many passing yards with such a mediocre running game.Go Bucks!

    1. Agree with you and James both, Paul. No excuses. Woody ran the ball when the whole stadium and TV audiences knew what he was gonna do and for the most part they still couldn’t stop him.
      When the box is loaded you borrow from 19th century baseball great “Wee” Willie Keeler and “Keep your eye clear and hit ’em where they ain’t!”

      1. Billy Jack: I’m gonna take this right foot, and I’m gonna whop you on that side of your face… Billy Jack: …and you wanna know something? There’s not a damn thing you’re gonna be able to do about it.

    2. You had me after your first three words. The 500 words that followed were unnecessary and eerily similar to at least 10 of your previous comments. Consider yourself confused.

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