Chip Kelly

Even With A Late Start, Chip Kelly Made Strides With Ohio State Offense

Chip Kelly spent the first month of this offseason with his UCLA football team, but eventually made his way to Ohio State the first week of February.

It’s not the latest a new coach has shown up, but it did give him just over three weeks to catch up with the Buckeyes’ personnel and playbook before spring practice began.

Kelly got to work right away evaluating the talent, going over the playbook, the verbiage, and all the things a new coach has to do in order to speak the same language as everybody else on the staff.

Chip Kelly is a veteran, however, which not only allows him to catch up quickly, but also begin to make his own mark along the way.

As the Ohio State offensive coordinator, Kelly runs that side of the ball. Head coach Ryan Day has taken a step back from the offense.

He has given Kelly his space, and Kelly’s offenses generally do pretty well in space.

“I think he brings one voice to the offense and I think that’s very, very important,” Day said following last month’s Ohio State spring game. “Certainly has an unbelievable history of running the football.”

As the head coach at both Oregon and UCLA, Kelly’s teams were consistently effective on the ground.

Oregon led the Pac 12 in rushing every year of Kelly’s tenure. When he returned to the conference with UCLA in 2018, the Bruins climbed up the rushing leaderboard, finishing second in 2020 and 2021 before leading the league each of the past two seasons.

One of the ways that Ohio State plans to improve its running game this year is by involving the quarterbacks more. It won’t be a ton, but it will be noticeable, just as it was in the spring game.

“I think when you start to tie in some of those quarterback runs — and you notice those quarterback runs aren’t designed quarterback runs,” Day said. “Really most of them are reading an end. He does a really good job of that.”

The Buckeyes won’t just be a ground-based team, however, as they have too much talent at receiver to completely ignore them. Day has already said that much of what this offense can do will be predicated on what the quarterbacks can handle.

Kelly and Day just saw 15 practices of those quarterbacks, so they’ll take that information and figure out how best to utilize it moving forward.

“I think the next couple of months will be important to figure out where we go now,” Day said. “What do we do? What does the install look like in the preseason? And then we go from there. So like any spring you want to identify the personnel and get guys better, and then really dive into the scheme and the chemistry as we head into the summer.”

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