Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson met with the media following the first practice of spring ball for the Buckeyes. He discussed OSU’s new defense, the offensive line, CJ Stroud, and much more. The highlights of everything can be found below.
+ You’d like to think that Paris Johnson can handle the left tackle spot because of his athleticism. They will definitely need somebody consistent there because that’s the quarterback’s blind side. They expect him to handle it well but the ball is in his court. Zen Michalski has come along nicely. Donovan Jackson was also mentioned as a possibility at tackle.
+ When you design plays, you have to have answers against every defense for that play. Getting ready to deal with the new defense in walk throughs, they didn’t know what to expect from the OSU defense. There is a lot of movement, but they are still gap sound. Coverages change. You have to think on your feet as an offense. The more you stress the offensive line in practice, the more you stress the quarterback. And the better the offensive will get through practice against that kind of defense. There are a lot of tools in the tool box.
+ CJ Stroud will have more ability this year to handle things on his own during games. He is gifted mentally. “I think we can put a little more on his plate.” They have tremendous confidence in his ability to get the protections right.
+ CJ Stroud is now a veteran and he only had 13 games under his belt. This is still a young team but now they have veterans who are headed into the second years as starters.
+ Donovan Jackson isn’t 6-foot-6 but he has skills that are rare for an offensive lineman. He’s smart and mature. He’s got a high cognitive ceiling. He has as high a ceiling as anybody on the field today for the Buckeyes. He wouldn’t have had any concerns about Jackson playing last year. He wouldn’t have changed any of his play calls.
+ What does he want to fix offensively this year? They have some young receivers that need to step up. The running game needs to get more consistent. The tight ends need to step up. To be an elite offense they need to be more physical and that is the goal through the spring and summer.
+ Who will be the beneficiary during a game of defenses having too much focus on Jaxon Smith-Njigba? There will be one less guy in the box, which can even the numbers up front. Let alone the other passing targets. “But that dude’s got a way of getting open.”
+ He noticed in February workouts that there needed to be more focus on leadership this winter and spring. Leaders had to judge and grade their respective groups. Players were holding teammates accountable. Short term, it’s off to a great start. But the proof will be in the pudding this fall.
+ There is going to be good competition at running back. They have all had good offseasons. You need to have two with a third pushing them. They have that right now. They’ll know more in week three or week four when the pads are on.
+ Gee Scott has gotten into the 230s, which is good. He has had some great blocking fundamentals, but he’s still learning. He’s working on his consistency. He’s got a pretty good ceiling, but tight end can take a couple of years to grasp and he’s just beginning his second year. He can be a matchup guy. He will be in the mix to be one of the two or three guys who will play. He is off to a good start and continuing a strong winter.
+ Joe Royer has done well at tight end. He’s on the verge of two years right now. Sam Hart could be an in-line guy this year. Bennett Christian has a bit of an ankle injury but will be good after spring break. They have H-back/split out guys like Joe Royer and Gee Scott, then H-back/fullbacks Mitch Rossi.
+ When Harry Miller returns, he will be somewhere inside. Matt Jones at this point would be the backup center, but Jakob James has had a great offseason.
+ Evan Pryor just needs consistency. It’s not about doing something better, it’s about doing the same thing again and again. “Let’s just see him play.” He and Jayden Ballard had great offseasons. Just stay healthy and consistent and Pryor could have a big role in the offense this year.