Tempo changes, personnel adjustments and ‘cool running plays’: What Chip Kelly is bringing to Ohio State

Some of the most common questions of spring football at Ohio State have centered on the impact of Chip Kelly’s arrival in Columbus.

The Buckeyes’ new offensive coordinator isn’t likely to reveal much in the spring game Saturday at Ohio Stadium, but we have gotten some clues from interviews over the past few weeks.

Here is a sampling:

Head coach Ryan Day told reporters on the first day of spring practice Kelly had already tweaked the running game:

“I think all the different ways that we’re going to attack defense is going to be exciting, but also mixing the tempos, the personnel groupings. Every team’s a little bit different, so it’s not cookie-cutter, but I think the point is that he’s always been innovative in everything he’s done, and if we continue to be that way this year then we’ll have a chance to reach our goals.”

Receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator Brian Hartline also commented on Kelly’s impact on the running game, including the potential to attach more quick screens to running plays to keep the defense off balance:

“Nothing’s really changing. We’re just trying to enhance. We’re not changing, we’re enhancing. So where the things fit is perfect. I think the rest of the dynamics I’m sure Chip can talk about, but it’s been awesome. So I’m excited about it.”

Linebackers coach James Laurinaitis said the defense is seeing new things this spring:

“It’s been good, you know. I think there’s obviously some positives, and I think Coach Kelly has given us a lot of really interesting looks that we can coach off, which is good. Stuff that’s unique, but I think it’s been it’s been going well.”

New center Seth McGlaughlin, who transferred from Alabama, called Kelly “a brilliant offensive mind” and also commented on potential changes to how the Buckeyes run the ball:

“Seen some cool run plays. Kind of the coaching points he gives us on certain things, you’re like, ‘Hey, I didn’t think about it that way.’ So it’s kind of just pieces that hit your mind different and really what works and what grabs the guys’ attention on certain coaching points.”

Luke Montgomery, the potential new starter at right guard, indicated Ohio State could run plays at a faster pace:

“When I first heard he got the job, I was really excited because I’m one of those guys who can run with the tempo. I’ve been playing basketball my whole life instead of football, and I feel like just the fast-paced offense that we’re running really fits the guys we have right now, and I’m really excited for that.”

Offensive line coach Justin Frye, who previously worked for Kelly at UCLA, said getting “fresh eyes” on the offense is a positive:

“He’s one of those guys that goes in the category of he’s forgotten a lot more football than some people have learned in their life. I believe he’s coached every position on the field on both sides of the ball through his whole career. So as he looks up and he’s talking about, ‘Well, this WILL linebacker is going to do that.’ He might have coached that at Columbia. Or, ‘This is what the 3-tech is going to read on a downblock of a tackle,’ because he’s coached offensive lines and he’s been a coordinator for a long time.

“So, just a really good vision of the big picture. Really good understanding of everything and what the next step needs to be.”

Kelly himself was not surprisingly coy at the start of spring, but he seemed open to trying anything:

“It’s always a combination of what you have up front and then what you have at quarterback, and I know we’ve got a couple of really talented running backs behind him. So you know, it’s something that we’re going to look at. But I also know you can’t be one dimensional in football. You need to be able to throw the ball as much as run the ball. You know, it’s funny, some people think I’m an Air Raid guy. Some people think I’m a Wing-T guy. Some people think I want to run the ball every down. We’re gonna do what’s best for Ohio State, and that’s kind of what our game plan is right now.”

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