Despite my distractions and dalliances, I have noticed one thing: fans are clamoring for new ideas and new leadership on offense. Especially, under the headsets.
I have said it before but it bears repeating: coaches are as good as their players. That is not to say that coaches never deserve blame – as they recruit the players that perform for them – but there is a palpable drumbeat for a new offensive coordinator in Columbus.
Who are the best available candidates should Tressel decide to make a change? The list could go on-and-on but I will just name a handful. What follows is a list of under-the-radar names that appear to be qualified, would likely take the job, and have Ohio/OSU ties. Some of them may not be the names that immediately jump to mind, but they have proven to be very successful.
Here is a quick run through of a few:
Walt Harris: Let’s get this one out of the way. Poe mentioned this waaaaay back in the summer, but Harris is currently unoccupied by football-related responsibilities. He is good offensive coach and had some great offenses during his previous tenure at OSU. But he is a pro-style guy and has 14 NFL quarterbacks to prove it. Of all of those, I cannot think of one relatively mobile guy. If Ohio State is going to can Bollman, I cannot see them saddling Pryor with anything but a coach used to running quarterbacks. Which leads us to these guys ...
Ron Hudson: Who? He is the offensive coordinator from Louisiana Lafayette, which currently ranks 5th in total offense and his dual threat quarterback, Michael Desormeaux, has 700 yards rushing and 1000 yards passing in six games, including 242 and 234 total yards against Illinois and Kansas State, respectively. His previous offenses have been One more thing, his hometown is Columbus, Ohio.
James Patton: He is the offensive line coach for Oklahoma. The Buckeyes are not going to lure Kevin Wilson, OU offensive coordinator, away from Norman but Patton seems like a nice alternative on that staff. Plus, he is from Lafayette, Ohio, graduated and coached at Miami (OH), and has Big Ten ties coaching at Northwestern from 1999-2005. Some of those NW offenses were very explosive and featured a dual threat behind center.
David Yost: The Missouri Tigers were the only team in 2007 to score 30 or more points in every game and they did so with Chase Daniel at the helm. Daniel’s position coach? Yost. He is another successful coach with a duel threat at quarterback – something I think is imperative with Pryor having two more years. He is Carrollton, Ohio and started out coaching at Tiffin and Toledo.
Like I said, this is by no means an exclusive list – just off the top of my head. Care to add anyone to this list?
Injuries abound: I could be in the minority, but the defense seems to be playing slightly better in conference. That is faint praise but has to count for something. Lawrence Wilson’s injury, however, will certainly upset an already delicate defensive line.
Does this put Keith Wells in play? Are the coaches considering a 3-4 approach with Terry and others (possibly Sabino) manning a 2-point stance over the tackles? Or, will they move Heyward back to defensive end? The third choice seems like the safest but it is also the lineup that failed earlier this season and was scrapped. Of course, the other two situations were not tried at all, which means that they were either significantly less attractive or simply not needed.
The pass catchers are dinged up. Sanzenbacker is unlikely to play, which means … well, nothing really. He is a spot receiver and it is hard to imagine that Posey, Washington, and/or Thomas cannot fill that fourth spot admirably. But where does that leave the Buckeyes? No better, in my mind. If there is one offensive position getting a free pass this season it is the wide receivers. In addition, Nicol and Ballard are also iffy for the games against the Spartans.
The running backs seems to be a collective 75% these days. Has Saine ever recovered from the preseason hamstring injury? Herron is still out because of the concussion and Mo Wells had back problems a couple of weeks ago. Hell, Beanie is quickly turning into the most injured superstar since Kijana Carter put on tiger stripes. That may be a bit of an exagerration, but I would be lying to you if I said I was not getting slightly annoyed with all of Wells ailments. If you are going to report that you have the flu, you need to come out with Jordan-esque moment. Even I go to work when I have the flu.
Ironically, the healthiest guy on the offense is/was Todd Boeckman and he was taking some of the biggest hits. Maybe we should line him up at tight end?