Sports Today: Almost time to see this revamped Ohio State offense

Ohio State football begins the 2017 season this week, and Indiana presents an appropriate opponent given the biggest story of the offseason: Revamping the Buckeyes offense. 

This would be true even if Ohio State’s new offensive coordinator weren’t the Hoosiers’ old coach, but of course that adds another interesting layer to the proceedings set for Bloomington on Thursday night. 

GOOD NEWS: Buckeyes make big deal about players earning starting jobs

Last season, Indiana was the first team to give the Ohio State offense fits.

J.T. Barrett completed only 9 of 21 passes for 93 yards, and a 37-yard pass to Dontre Wilson late in the fourth quarter when the game was essentially over accounted for more than 1/3rd of OSU’s passing offense. 

The man who coordinated that defensive effort, Tom Allen, is now the head coach at Indiana. 

He performed a minor miracle last season by turning the Hoosiers into a respectable stop unit, and there is good reason to believe IU could present a challenge on that side of the ball again. 

RELATED: IU coach calls OSU game biggest home opener in program history

Even before Allen got to town, the Hoosiers frustrated the Buckeyes in Bloomington in 2016, so Ohio State is due for a big performance against a program it has beaten more than 70 times. 

Enter Wilson: From the first time I heard the rumors he could be coming to Columbus, I thought that would be a home run for the Buckeyes.

He represents almost exactly what Ohio State needed to fix the woes of the last year years: A respected, established offensive mind who understands how to organize a game plan and how to emphasize players’ strengths while avoiding their weaknesses. 

This is a guy who brought a team that almost literally could not pass the ball to Columbus in 2014 and had a lead in the fourth quarter. 

Everyone on the planet knew Tevin Coleman was Indiana’s only offensive weapon, and he still ran for 228 yards and three touchdowns. 

While Urban Meyer was bemoaning how hard it is to run his offense without the threat of a running quarterback, Wilson was coordinating one of the Big Ten’s best scoring units with a statue calling the signals. 

This guy knows what he is doing. 

So, heading into game one it will be fascinating to see what tweaks he has made and of course how the Buckeyes execute them. 

During the preseason, Wilson talked about putting guys into position to succeed —including Barrett and the offensive line, something Ed Warriner struggled with mightily the last two years as offensive coordinator. 

RELATED: Kevin Wilson embracing challenge of fine-tuning OSU offense

Receivers coach Zach Smith said they needed to fix the overall culture on offense, that one disfunction tended to lead itself to another and so on. I am buying that bit of coach-speak as well because the NFL draft proves talent hasn’t been an issue there. 

A better rapport between Barrett and his receivers could pay huge dividends this season, especially if Barrett applies the lessons from new QBs coach Ryan Day regarding how to give his guys more chances to make plays without necessarily taking more risks, and the running backs say the way Wilson talks about the offense gives them more confidence

RELATED: Ohio State football just needs 100 seconds to get you fired up today

Lastly, I expect a coach with the experience and confidence of Wilson to be better at making adjustments than his predecessors were. 

If that all comes to pass, this could be an unstoppable unit, but only time will tell... 

Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Reds won and got another strong start from a young starting pitcher. 

Since I wrote last week the 2017 season was looking like an overall disaster if they don’t find out anybody besides Luis Castillo might actually be worthy of a spot in the rotation, the kids have been all right. 

Romano has made three solid starts in a row, and after the game Jeff Brantley praised him for getting by without his best stuff. 

The latter is a big part in the development of any young pitcher and something that has seemed to be missing much of the year. 

Given my reverse-jinx powers, maybe next I should write something about how Barry Larkin will never be a World Series-winning manager for the Reds. 

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Reds blanked by Marlins, 6-0
Reds blanked by Marlins, 6-0

The Marlins became the first major league team to draw fewer than 1 million fans at home since the 2004 Montreal Expos, beating the Cincinnati Reds 6-0 Sunday before 13,595 to complete the Miami portion of their schedule in Derek Jeter’s first season as chief executive officer. “Obviously we would like to fill it up every day, but I know...
Newton’s 4 TDs lift Panthers over Bengals
Newton’s 4 TDs lift Panthers over Bengals

Panthers coach Ron Rivera wanted a little something more from his offense, which is why he turned to his old boss Norv Turner as the team’s new coordinator this season. Rivera, who once coached under Turner in San Diego, said he got exactly what he was hoping for Sunday. Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others , Christian McCaffrey...
Game schedule: Week 6 high school football
Game schedule: Week 6 high school football

Oakwood at Brookville, 7 p.m., ABC 22 / FOX 45, Ch. 45.2, Ch. 995 (Spectrum), Ch. 44 (Dish), Alter at Cin. Purcell Marian at Cin. Walnut Hills, Arcanum at Bethel Bellbrook at Valley View, Bellefontaine at Kenton Ridge Benjamin Logan at Indian Lake Butler at Greenville Carroll at Badin...
Wittenberg Tigers blast Kenyon 45-3 to improve to 3-0
Wittenberg Tigers blast Kenyon 45-3 to improve to 3-0

Wittenberg University junior Nick Kendall knew he had to pay homage to the players who came before him. After finishing a 75-yard touchdown run, Kendall ran over the alumni section in attendance for Champions Night where he gave high-fives to multiple former Tigers football players. Kendall finished with 113 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries as...
Report: Ohio State discussing ‘coach-in-waiting’ scenario with Ryan Day
Report: Ohio State discussing ‘coach-in-waiting’ scenario with Ryan Day

Ryan Day returned to his role as Ohio State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Saturday after leading the Buckeyes to a 3-0 start.  He was filling in for head coach Urban Meyer, who was suspended after a university investigation found he mismanaged the employment of receivers coach Zach Smith.  >>GAME STORY: Ohio State crushes...
More Stories