The Best Kind Of Ability
The Buckeyes are headed into camp next week with one of the deepest and most-experienced running back rooms in the nation. Juniors TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams have combined to rush for over 3,000 yards in their careers. Senior Chip Trayanum has nearly 800 yards rushing under his belt, and Dallan Hayden rushed for 553 yards last season as a true freshman.
Add in redshirt sophomore Evan Pryor, who missed last season with an ACL tear, and sixth-year senior Xavier Johnson who is a one-man band, and the Buckeyes could turn to just about anybody and feel good about their options.
What they feel best about, however, is simply having everybody back and healthy.
“Well, one of the things we’re most excited about is having a healthy TreVeyon back,” head coach Ryan Day said this week. “You really didn’t get a chance to see a healthy TreVeyon last year and a healthy Miyan, so that’s exciting. Chip has had a great offseason. Dallan’s had a good offseason, Evan [too]. You may have five guys in that room, and then we had Xavier Johnson as well play some running back for us down the stretch. You can’t play all six at once, but we’re gonna try to find creative ways to get guys in the game and get them touches, and it’s a long season, so we feel like we’re gonna need them all.”
First-Time Caller, Long-Time Listener
When Ryan Day promoted receivers coach Brian Hartline to offensive coordinator this winter, the questions immediately went to who would be calling plays for the Buckeyes this year.
Day has called plays for Ohio State since he arrived in 2017 and has proven to be one of the best in the nation over that time. After evaluating his own overall performance and acknowledging the added responsibilities off of the field, Day has explored handing the play-calling duties over to Hartline.
Some of that process began in the spring, though neither Day or Hartline have been definitive on how exactly the process is going to work. According to Day, there are still some things to iron out and discuss.
“Brian and I have got to talk about that as we get into the first week or two of camp,” Day said. “We haven’t really sat down and talked about it. I certainly would like for him the opportunity to do some play calling. How much, we’ve got to figure that part of it out. But we’ll get a feel for that as we get back in here in August.”
When a coach is named “offensive coordinator,” the assumption from the outside is that the job also means “play-caller.” The title of the job, however, is “offensive coordinator,” and according to Day that’s the most important aspect of the job.
“I think the biggest thing about being an offensive coordinator is it isn’t always about the play calling. It’s just the day-to-day organization of your staff,” Day said. “The corrections, the installs, the game plan, there’s so many things that come with being a coordinator, and one of the last things is play calling. Now, there is certain things that you learn over the time about play calling that you can learn from, but the organization and day-to-day stuff is way more important and that’s all great stuff that he’s working through now.”
Boats And Noes
While Ryan Day and Brian Hartline still have to figure out the play-calling duties, the first call of the season almost went to neither of them.
Speaking at Big Ten Media Days on Wednesday, Day was asked about the need for creativity when it comes to NIL opportunities for the football program. Next week, for instance, 1,000 Buckeye fans have paid to attend a football practice. Programs around the nation are trying to find revenue streams where they’ve never been before. Regarding Day’s answer to the question, he did have one particular idea but decided against it.
“Yeah, I was willing to auction off the first call in the Indiana game this year on the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer, but I decided against it. Figured that was gonna be some sort of rules violation,” he said laughing.
“No, we’re trying to figure out all kinds of different ways. I think we’ve been creative about it. We’re doing a lot of different things that I think are for the first time. Again, I think you’ve seen us not be maybe the first people to do things that are extreme when we’re putting ourselves out there. But do it in a first-class way, a classy way. Do it the way that Buckeye nation can be proud of. We’re doing it the right way to make sure we give our players what they deserve. But we’re also not getting crazy and out in front of it. Trying to be thoughtful. I think we’ve made a lot of progress in the last year.”
It’s Real, And It’s Not Spectacular
When it comes to utilizing Name, Image, and Likeness, there are many schools more aggressive than Ohio State. In fact, according to the rules, some of those schools would be labeled “too aggressive.”
When NIL was implemented, every bit of legislation written about it made it clear that inducing recruits or transfer targets with NIL deals was absolutely forbidden. However, since the oversight right now is about as attentive as a comatose babysitter, the streets are running green with money. And because common sense is not admissible evidence, there is also no good way to prove inducements are actually occurring.
Overall, however, NIL has been a good thing for Ohio State (and a great thing for its players), but it’s not perfect yet according to Day.
“I think one of the biggest challenges we have right now in recruiting, whether it’s the portal or high school, is this is inducement,” he said. “It’s real, it’s out there right now, and I think that’s probably the area that if you said, ‘Give me the number one thing that we’ve got to get straightened out in NIL,’ it’s that. And because it’s so gray and it’s hard to enforce, it’s out there. And so, to me, if you had to say the number one area that we’ve got to identify and get nailed down and try to put some guardrails around, it’d be that area right there.”