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How Ohio State plans to avoid a repeat of last year’s struggling offense

New coordinators Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day should help the offense from getting stagnant in J.T. Barrett’s final year in Columbus.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Oklahoma Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

“He treats the quarterbacks more like professionals. He expects a lot of us, to come to meetings ready to go. That’s the same for himself. He understands when he was in Philly coaching Sam Bradford, you’ve got to have your stuff ready to go, too.”

-Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett on new quarterbacks coach Ryan Day via Adam Rittenberg, ESPN

After the struggles of the offense last season, capped off by the 31-0 loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl, there are plenty of questions as to how Ohio State will get their offense back on track this year. The Buckeyes took steps in the right direction by hiring former Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson as their offense coordinator, as well as adding Ryan Day as their quarterbacks coach.

One way Wilson and Day are hoping to get quarterback J.T. Barrett back to the form he showed when he burst onto the scene in 2014, is to pick up the tempo of the Ohio State offense. When he was forced to step in for Braxton Miller as a redshirt freshman, Barrett thrived under Tom Herman’s up-tempo offense. Both Wilson and Day have previous experience running successful up-tempo offenses, which shouldn’t take too long for Barrett to adapt to.

Another task for Wilson and Day is to try and help Barrett restore some of the confidence he showed in the 2014. Losing the quarterback battle to Cardale Jones didn’t help Barrett’s confidence, and while Ohio State made the College Football Playoff last year, there were many Buckeye fans who would have been just fine if they didn’t see Barrett at quarterback again following the loss to Clemson.

Barrett may have new coaches in Wilson and Day to help his progression as a quarterback, but what he really needs is some of the Ohio State wide receivers to step up this year. If the passing game is able to match the output of the Buckeye running attack, it’s hard to see many teams keeping up with a revamped Ohio State offense.

“Party at the quarterback. We just can’t wait to show off our skills.”

-Ohio State defensive end Tyquan Lewis via Pete Thamel, Yahoo Sports

There are many reasons why Ohio State is one of the popular picks to win it all in college football this year, but the biggest reason could be because of their defensive ends. While most teams struggle to find two quality defensive ends, Ohio State has double that amount, which will make things especially tough for all the offenses that have to try to game plan for the Buckeye defense.

Last year Ohio State’s “Rushmen” package became well known for the pressure it created in opposing backfields, and it should be even more pronounced this year with a scheme from defensive coordinator Greg Schiano that is more aggressive than Luke Fickell’s.

The scariest thing about Ohio State’s defensive ends is the most talented of the group likely won’t even be starting. Sophomore Nick Bosa registered five sacks last year, but Tyquan Lewis and Sam Hubbard project to be the starters. That doesn’t mean opponents won’t see their fair share of Bosa, as well as Jalyn Holmes.

There is plenty different about all four of the defensive ends, not only on the football field, but off as well. One thing that does bring them together though, is the impact each has on the game. If the Buckeyes can get the defensive ends to build on what they were able to do last year, the Ohio State season will not only find themselves back in the College Football Playoff, but make a lot more noise than they did in it last year.

“It’s kind of difficult because I have to re-learn the playbook again. That’s probably the only difficult part about switching back over is trying to re-learn the playbook and get back in the rhythm of the offense.”

-Ohio State tight end Rashod Berry via Tim Bielik, Northeast Ohio Media Group

All Rashod Berry wants to do for Ohio State is make an impact. After starting his Ohio State career as a tight end during his freshman season in which he was redshirted in 2015, Berry was switched to defensive end in 2016. The experiment only lasted a season, as he was buried behind the talented depth Ohio State already had.

Berry is now back at tight end and with the season-ending injury A.J. Alexander suffered last month, the former basketball player will likely see the field more than he did on defense. Currently, Berry is the co-No.2 tight end with Luke Farrell, both behind Marcus Baugh on the depth chart.

Now that he is back in a position he is comfortable with, Berry is just hoping to make an impact in any way for the Buckeyes. There is no question about Berry’s athletic ability, as evidenced by the basketball skills he showed in high school, which has the coaching staff trying to find ways to utilize him. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Berry make some plays if his number is called, as he is looking to do whatever he can to help the Buckeyes win.

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