Ohio State co-offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson met with reporters prior to practice on Tuesday. He answered a number of questions about the Buckeye offense and the talented personnel on hand. Also speaking with the media were fifth-year senior quarterback Chris Chugunov, fifth-year nose tackle Davon Hamilton, junior cornerback Jeff Okudah, and redshirt sophomore center Josh Myers. Here are the highlights.
+ What more can this offense do? They have still be limited by their own individual imperfections. Practices get shorter later in the season, so fundamentals can regress.
+ The biggest test for the team is staying focused and grounded. The minute you think you’ve got it, you’re about to get got. You can lead a horse to water, but can you make him drink — but more importantly, can you make him thirsty? That’s the biggest test each week regardless of opponents.
+ They coach the pick plays to have the receivers to try to avoid a defender. “As you avoid, you can create the mesh you need.”
+ As a young guy, Garrett Wilson could rely on his talent to get the job done and they are working with him to become more fundamentally sound because talent will eventually get equated. “It’s getting them to go past their talent.” He is still learning to practice at an elite level. “I think working hard is a talent.” It’s a lost talent in society right now and it’s a foundation of this program. The sky is the limit for Wilson once his technique levels reach his talent level.
+ He gets a chance to watch Indiana when he can. He’s proud of those guys. They are part of two bowl teams, now they’re ranked. “Very proud of those guys. Very happy for them.”
+ They will also use the Umpire to create some clutter on their crossing routes.
+ In the preseason the offensive line had a lot of new faces. Jonah Jackson has been a solid transfer. He’s been very much accepted by his peers. He grades well. “Those inside guys to me are why things are a little bit different.” It’s a deep and talented offensive line overall.
+ Kevin Wilson told Chris Chugunov this summer that he gave OSU the best chance to win maybe outside of Justin Fields, so he better be ready. The team loves him and he is a quality backup for him.
+ The new redshirt rule makes development better because they can play a bit and then they buy in.
+ They spent a lot of time last week ready for a bunch of Maryland blitzes, but they never faced them. As a coach, you can’t assume, you prepare.
+ Rashod Berry has been asking to play defense for a long time now, so last week Kevin Wilson went to Larry Johnson and said Berry was doing well on offense, so if you need him, you can have him back and forth. “He’s had a solid year.” He needs to finish well.
+ Does he wonder how good this team is? He knows they practice against a really good team on the other side of the ball. You still have to execute when the lights are on, but the way they practice is more encouraging than the talent. “I actually like Tuesdays and Wednesdays better than Saturdays. Always have.” “I like the work of the week.”
+ The teams that are the closest are the greatest teams. Talent is one thing, but care and love is what separates them. This team, they all intermingle, it’s not just offensive linemen eating with each other. There is mixing at all positions.
+ Justin Fields is very, very smart. He’s a guy you need to be prepared for as a coach because he’s very, very smart. He has great vision off the field and can take concepts from the board to the field.
+ Wilson had gotten wind that Jonah Jackson was going to be transferring. When he entered the portal, OSU called him and he was caught off guard by the number of people calling. He told Jackson that they have a really good team and there was a need. Wilson made the first call, but then Greg Studrawa got involved and did a great job building a relationship.
+ Why no more two-way players? Because offenses and defenses are harder than they’ve ever been to learn.
+ “They’re going to bring their A-game to the table and we’re going to have to bring ours.”
+ The Buckeyes have done a really good job of showing resilience. They respond positively to whatever they face.
+ Chase Young has done a great job being a leader while he is out. He’s been a great resource for the young guys.
+ Having a great defensive line helps the secondary. It was good to see the D-line respond last week without Young.
+ Jeff Hafley has done a great job of keeping the DBs locked in during practice.
+ Garrett Wilson’s ball skills stand out. Okudah hasn’t seen anybody else at Ohio State with ball skills like he has. With more work and another offseason he will be special.
+ Selfishly, it gets frustrating when teams aren’t throwing at him. “For me, it’s just about playing good technique every single snap.”
+ Davon Hamilton’s leadership has stood out this year. He was a quiet guy for most of his career, but can be heard this year.
+ He’s got a large group of family and friends who will be at the game this weekend. (He’s a New Jersey native.) Still working on tickets. “The number keeps growing.” Ballpark? Around 70.
+ “I’ve always been pretty confident in my throwing ability.” He was happy he got to throw it around a bit on Saturday. Normally he’s just trying to kill the clock. “I’m here because I love throwing the football.”
+ Why did he keep playing after graduating from WVU? Because he loves playing the game and he loves throwing the ball. It’s a great feeling when the ball is in the air.
+ He wasn’t in great shape when he first got here. “I wasn’t like fat or anything.” He was skinny and when you walk in here, everybody’s built like a brickhouse. So he and Coach Mick worked on that to be somewhere on the same level. He’s put on about 30 pounds since he got here.
+ No second-string QB gets as many reps as he’d like, so you have to use your mind and get those mental reps. It’s a challenge that you welcome.
+ He is much more mentally prepared week in and week out as a Buckeye. His football knowledge as skyrocketed at Ohio State.
+ He stands behind Fields when they practice and Fields stands behind him when he is repping. Then you go through mental reps and where he would go with the ball.
+ Fields makes really smart decisions. For being so young, he doesn’t force the ball, which his huge. He is really confident in his athletic ability, so he doesn’t necessarily feel like he has to force the ball into small windows. “He’s a freak.” He is advanced for his age. “He’s just a smart, young dude.”
+ When he came in on the one play against Wisconsin he was hoping he’d get to throw the ball downfield, but he had to settle for a screen. You don’t really have a lot of time to think about the moment when you have to get out there.
+ This time of year, his biggest challenge is staying warm on the sideline. He’s always mentally locked in.
+ It’s awesome to be at Ohio State and to get reps and to play with “5” and “6” at the end of games (Garrett Wilson and Jameson Williams).
+ Fields is physically a freak. “He’s just not the same.” He’s one of the fastest guys on the team. “He’s also just a super-cool dude.”
+ Chase Young is still doing what he’s always done. He’s supporting the team and they are supporting him.
+ His biggest change over his five years? He’s got a much better feel for everything that an offense is going to do.
+ He is better conditioned that he was when he came in.
+ The biggest thing he likes about Zach Harrison is his willingness to learn. He’s fun to be around. Potential? The sky is the limit. Larry Johnson is preparing him well. There’s nothing Harrison can’t do.
+ The thing Hamilton has tried to do every week is be consistent.
+ He is playing faster due to getting faster and also knowing what is going on.
+ He has felt like a leader of the defensive line for a long time now because he’s been one of the older guys, so he felt like he needed to lead long before Chase Young and Jonathon Cooper didn’t play last week.
+ Rashod Berry is excited to play defensive end and that excitement always helps to learn. He’s an energetic guy. He enjoys the game of football.
+ Josh Myers and Jonah Jackson have really grown this season.
+ Playing against Josh Myers is like playing against himself. They make each other better and it depends on the week who gets the edge over each other.
+ The team spends more time together than in years past.
+ DaVon Hamilton is really, really strong and quick. Generally guys have one or the other and he has both. They have made each other better and they talk about reps about what they are seeing and what is working.
+ The offense early on was still trying to figure out who they were and what was working. They’ve figured that out now.
+ The blowouts have limited the playing time, but it’s so fun to see the younger guys getting out there and mixing it up. The starters enjoy watching them. Gavin Cupp played really well last year. (Cupp graded out a Champion.)
+ It’s the best feeling in the world to have a great block and have the running back fly by you.
+ You can sense that this is a big week for Jonah Jackson, who spent four years of his life at Rutgers. Jackson is finally used to winning.
+ The biggest challenge this week is focusing on themselves and playing together.
+ No concerns about the CFP rankings tonight. “We try not to worry about what we can’t control.”
+ The offensive line being closer happened organically. He loves everybody in his room.
+ Justin Fields is very smart.
+ Jonah Jackson was a captain at Rutgers and that wasn’t a mistake. Can’t say enough about how good of a job he did when he came in to Ohio State. He came in trying to start and that can cause a lot of hostility if that person goes about it the wrong way, “but he didn’t do that at all.”
+ There was a focal point on stopping the inside blitzes for the Maryland game and they did a good job of that.
+ There are a bunch of different OL rituals. Some guys get breakfast Friday morning. There is also a victory meal at Josh’s house on Mondays. There was biscuits and gravy yesterday and about three dozen eggs.
+ The new facilities has helped build the cohesion among the team. He spends time on the golf simulator and other position players will do that as well. And then there are guys shooting hoops from all different positions as well.