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To Do List: Buckeye Tight Ends Coach Kevin Wilson
By Tony Gerdeman

New Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson is already a busy man as he tears into last year's offensive problems and finds ways to fix them, all the while adding his own flourishes to get the most out of what should be one of the best scoring teams in the country this coming season.

Along with those duties as the offensive coordinator, he also has his own position group to worry about because he assumed Ed Warinner's role as both the OC and tight ends coach when he took the job last month. Wilson finds himself with a pretty deep group of five scholarship tight ends, but they only have 31 receptions between them, and 27 of those belong to senior Marcus Baugh.

So while this appears to be a talented group based on their respective recruiting rankings, overall it is fairly unproven. As such, Wilson's to-do list for the tight ends will have to be expansive and yet still personal. It might look something like this.

1. Get to know his players.

As a new coach, Kevin Wilson is going to have to build a relationship with each of his players, and not just a football relationship. As Jim Tressel used to say, players don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Urban Meyer talks about the strength of the unit and how they use a military style within each unit to help pick each other up and drive each other to be the strongest position group they can be, but that also involves the coach. That's why each summer you'll see the position groups spending time together with their coach, either at a cookout at his house, or going paintballing as the linebackers used to do, or water skiing as the tight ends used to do with Tim Hinton. It's about team building and Wilson is going to have to get to know his players as people, and his players will need to do the same.

2. Determine strengths and weaknesses.

Wilson will have redshirt senior Marcus Baugh, redshirt sophomore A.J. Alexander, and redshirt freshmen Luke Farrell, Jake Hausmann, and Kierre Hawkins in his room this spring. They are all different body types and each possesses unique skills. While Wilson is coaching them how he wants them to be, he will also be keeping account of what they are and how they can best fit into the offense. If one excels in a certain area, then why not find a similar role for him in the offense. With five guys, there can be a healthy rotation, even if some of it is specialized. Eventually there will need to be a depth chart, but if the No. 5 guy can do something that the first four can't, then why not see if he can help an offense that needs it?

3. Get Marcus Baugh ready for the NFL.

If Ohio State is going to sell the NFL in recruiting, then they have to deliver on their promise. Marcus Baugh came to Ohio State on faith and stayed when transferring would have been the much easier path for him to take. Now that he is in his fifth season with his third position coach, it's time to provide him with the final lessons as he gets ready to set out for the next level. Baugh is not a finished product, but part of Wilson's job is to get him as close as possible.

4. Unleash the second-year tight ends.

Ohio State signed three of the top 11 tight ends in the 2016 class a year ago -- Jake Hausmann, Luke Farrell, and Kierre Hawkins -- and each of them redshirted. Urban Meyer said on a couple of occasions early in the season that Hausmann was close to having his redshirt burned, but it never happened. Instead, the Buckeyes went with Baugh, A.J. Alexander, and Notre Dame transfer Chase Hounshell. Now, however, there is nothing left to burn, so let's see what the young guys can do. The scout team tales from last season had plenty of positives to say on the rookies, and perhaps now the Buckeyes can finally have a tight end rotation like a wide receiver rotation. In the past, a third tight end was used sparingly, and generally only for blocking. Perhaps now -- if things go as planned this spring -- the rotation can be much freer and the players can stay much fresher.

5. See what A.J. Alexander can do with the ball.

As the No. 2 tight end, A.J. Alexander played in every game last season as a redshirt freshman. He only caught four passes, which pretty much tells you how he was used. However, he came to Ohio State as a receiver/tight end hybrid, so he could provide the Buckeyes with an interesting matchup problem this season in Kevin Wilson's offense. Some of spring camp for the tight ends should be seeing what Alexander can do off of the line of scrimmage. Last year was a good year for him because it exposed him to blocking and fighting inside the box. But why not let him outside the box this spring and see what he can do? What's the worst that could happen?

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