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Kevin Wilson Hopeful Competitive Spring Leads to Productive Summer
By Tony Gerdeman
Kevin Wilson worked this spring for a productive summer
Photo by Dan Harker

Kevin Wilson is in his sixth month of an ongoing 12-month commitment to the Ohio State offense. Spring football is well in the rear-view, while fall camp is still two months away. Long before the shoulder pads went on in the spring, however, work was being done in the winter to ensure that spring camp would be productive.

Similarly, everything in the spring is done with an eye towards the summer. Coaches have a limited number of hours to spend with their players before the season begins, so every moment is precious and momentum needs to be maintained so that there are no lulls.

That can be difficult in the summer when the coaches are around the players even less. That momentum then falls on the players themselves, as well as strength coach Mickey Marotti. The good news for the Buckeyes is that the veteran presence of this team has been at the forefront since winter workouts began.

"I know we’ve got a long way to go to be where we want to be," Wilson said back in April. "To me, I thought the winter was very positive as far as it’s a veteran group, a lot of talent. There are a lot of strong leaders and a lot of positive work habits. So, I thought we started out working pretty good. There’s a challenge every day because we go against a great defensive unit, so the practices are so competitive with trying to block those guys and get open and pick up their blitzes. So it’s a very competitive deal."

All of the workouts and camps and practices and film sessions are done with the intention of building a team identity. Under Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes are always going to feature a physical running attack. The addition of Kevin Wilson won't change that.

In fact, based on a story he shared this spring, it should only improve upon it.

"A couple weeks ago," he began, "I asked the tight ends, ‘What do you need from me in our practice?’ And they said, ‘We’re not working on the passing game enough in our individual work.’ I said, ‘That’s what the summer’s for. Right now, with pads on, I can’t be here in the summer but I can be here now, so we’re going to emphasize some of the blocking fundamentals that are critical to our position.'"

Kevin Wilson was absolutely brought to Ohio State to improve the offense and the passing game, but not at the expense of the physicality that Buckeye football has always been known for. How he is able to marry the two will tell the tale for OSU this year, but right now the courtship is still based on running the ball.

The desire to focus too much on the passing game may have been present, but the strength of Urban Meyer's coaching staffs has always been their single mindedness. This spring was no different, but that doesn't mean it's easy to juggle all of the necessities.

"Every position is a little different," Wilson explained. "But that is a little bit of the rub of putting it together -- you get what you emphasize. You can only be good at so many things and how do we maintain the physicalness we want, the running game we want with the quarterback run game, and still be competent in protection and throwing the ball? And that’s where we’ll put a great deal of looks into how we play in practice, how we script and how we install to be efficient. Because if you’re not careful, you can water it down and really water down your production."

Meyer, Wilson and the rest of the offensive staff did their best to implement as much as they could in the spring. They emphasized the identity that they want to be known for, but there is still work to do on the part of the players these next two months.

"It will be interesting to see how we come through the summer," Wilson said. "It will be interesting to see how we start. At the end of the day, we want to be a very, very physical running attack and try to get the ball outside and down the field. We’ll see if we can accomplish that between now and the preseason."

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