Kevin Wilson embracing challenge of tuning up, turning loose Ohio State offense

Ohio State football started preseason Thursday with an early-morning practice.

Here are five things to know about what the Buckeyes’ new offensive coordinator had to say to reporters after practice:

1. Kevin Wilson is pragmatic about his current popularity among Ohio State fans. 

“Right now you’re very loved because you’ve yet to call a play that really counts, so we’re whatever days we are from being the most-hated guy around because it comes with the territory.”

The former Indiana head coach and offensive coordinator at Oklahoma embraces the challenge.

“It’s nice to be at a place where it can be negative because that means people truly do care and want success,” he said. “That’s a part of college and pro sports — there’s a standard they want you to uphold.”

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2. Tempo was a big topic on the first day of practice at Ohio State. 

Naturally, the new Buckeyes assistant coach who spent the last six seasons working in Indiana, quoted one of that state’s most famous natives when talking about how to properly ramp up the speed with which OSU operates this year.

“You know it’s that old John Wooden deal about you want to be not in a hurry, but quick. You don’t want to rush, but go fast.”

3. To really allow the Buckeyes to take off, Wilson likely will have to convince Urban Meyer he doesn’t need his boss’ help.

Wilson can make his new boss a better head coach by earning Meyer’s trust to let him do the offense his way.

“If I can’t, then he feels he has to be there to set that tone, whether it be the defensive room, the offensive room, the kicking game — if you earn the trust, it allows the head coach because he has so much to do. If you don’t have that trust, most really good head coaches are going to be right in the middle of it fixing it. It’s my job to show him we’ve got it the way he wants it, and we’ve got to fight every day to do that.”

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4. Wilson wants to have eight offensive linemen ready to play when the season starts. 

Four starters return from last season — senior Billy Price has moved to center from guard, where sophomore Michael Jordan is also back while the tackles will again be Jamarco Jones and Isaiah Prince.

A four-star recruit from Maryland, Prince had some struggles during his first season as a starter last year.

“We need to put him in better situations,” Wilson said. “He’s stronger and he’s physically going to play in better position and in better situations. So a little bit of that is us and how we do it. A little bit of the is him. He’s tremendously talented. He’s become one of our better leaders. He’s had a great offseason. I’d like to see what if he’s going to have a great preseason.”

5. At the end of the day, the overall identity of the Ohio State offense shouldn’t change much under Wilson.

A former Miami University assistant who was one of the spread offense innovators who helped motivate Meyer to develop his own attack as a young assistant nearly 20 years ago, Wilson has many of the same goals his predecessors did.

“We want to be a great running team that can get the ball out in the flat and down the field,” Wilson said.

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