Much has been made of Alabama’s transformation from a dynasty built on Nick Saban’s business card lockdown to a dynasty fueled by productive offense.
Ohio State No. 3 ( 7: 0), who will play against Crimson Tide (12: 0) in the national championship game on Monday evening, has undergone its own offensive development in recent years.
The wish of the former coach of the US state of Ohio, Urban Meyer, rejuvenating an attack ruled out by Clemson in a 2016 playoff semi-final led him to Ryan Day, who provided exactly what the Buckeyes needed to get stronger and – as a huge bonus – an ideal replacement for his former boss .
« When he got here, I had the opportunity to see him only as a trainer. I knew we would be different, ”said Gene Smith, Ohio state sports director. « His football IQ is phenomenal overall, but offensive on another level. He’s a creative thinker. His ability to analyze and analyze the game of chess, so to speak, is really, really excellent. »
Day was published in 2017 by Meyer hired as quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator just days after the Buckeyes lost 31-0 to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl semifinals. Since then, Ohio State crime has increased. The Buckeyes have not only become more productive, but the way they play has helped make the program a more desirable target for blue chip quarterbacks.
« We had a pretty productive offense with it, but we needed to realize what was happening around us « said Smith.
The last time the state of Ohio won a national championship was in 2014, the first year of the playoffs. Meyer’s proliferation offense relied heavily on the reading option and the quarterback la ufspiel. J.T. Barrett played for the quarterback for most of that season and became a contender for the Heisman Trophy. As is known, Cardale Jones stepped in after Barrett was injured late in the season and led the Buckeyes to the title.
Jones wasn’t as good a runner as Barrett, but he had a much stronger arm to stretch the field. That seemed to help when the Buckeyes faced Alabama in the semifinals.
For the next two seasons, the Ohio State offensive produced good numbers and the team continued to win. Talent and athleticism alone allowed the Buckeyes to overwhelm most opponents, but the offense was occasionally inconsistent – especially against the best competition.
The bottom came against Clemson in Arizona. The Buckeyes were held to nine first downs and a total of 215 yards.
« I’m not used to it. We’re not used to it. It won’t happen again, » Meyer said then.
Meyer cleaned up the house and hired Day, who had worked in the NFL for two years, and former Indiana coach Kevin Wilson as co-offensive coordinators.
« When we got here, it wasn’t like we were coming up with ideas. We learned what Coach Meyer wanted from us, period, « said Wilson.
» Every year it has changed, tweaked here and there, but at the end of the day I think the foundation (of the offense) is pretty much the same Day said this week.
Day’s roots go back to New Hampshire, where he was quarterback for Chip Kelly, the FCS school’s offensive coordinator. Kelly had known Day for years before coaching him.
« When he finished playing and got into coaching, it was a breeze, » said Kelly, now head coach at UCLA.
Day ended up as an assistant at Meyer in Florida and stayed in with Meyer’s coaching tree Connection. He worked with Steve Addazio, a former assistant in Florida, at Temple and Boston College.
Kelly brought Day to the NFL for two seasons with Philadelphia and San Francisco. When Day returned to college football, he did this with the blueprint of an NFL passing game that makes the field vertical r attacks as Meyer’s offense.
The day also brought an understanding of what is perhaps the biggest difference between the NFL and the college game: They can’t be the same team every week.
« It’s about matchups » said Kelly. “I think he did a really good job in the Clemson game by reaching the tight ends. That was a benefit to him, her tight ends with the Clemson linebackers and collateral. And that’s what the NFL taught us that the matchup is different every week. «
In 2018, when Dwayne Haskins was promoted to quarterback and Day sole offensive coordinator, the Ohio State crime moved closer to what it is today. Day also took on the role of acting coach for three games, while Meyer was banned for dealing with domestic violence allegations involving a former assistant coach. The Buckeyes won all three games without Meyer, and Haskins became a finalist in the Heisman Trophy and the state’s first quarterback Ohio, which has been drafted in the first round for more than 30 years.
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When Meyer stepped down after 2018, Day was Smith’s decision to take over. His first big win? Persuaded quarterback Justin Fields, a former five-star recruit, to move from Georgia to Ohio unseen.
« It was just Ohio State – their college-level quarterbacks success, and the same success me under Coach Day and could learn from him because he was in the NFL, of course. He was at the level I’m trying to go, « said Fields.
Last season with Fields, the state of Ohio scored average 6.94 yards per game, the best since the 2014 season (6.98). This season the Buckeyes are at 7.51 after beating Clemson 8.87 in the Sugar Bowl semi-finals.
And while Fields is likely to be a good first-round pick in the next NFL draft, the Buckeyes’ quarterback room looks bright for the future after signing two four-star recruits in 2020 (CJ Stroud and Jack Miller) Ohio State also has a 2022 five-star Quinn commitment Ewers.
Meyer went 83-9 in seven seasons at Ohio State. Remarkably, the Buckeyes still seem trending with Day.
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