From now until preseason camp starts in August, Land-Grant Holy Land will be writing articles around a different theme every week. This week is all about what we would do if we were in charge of our favorite position group, team, conference, or sport. You can catch up on all of the Theme Week content here and all of our ”If I Was in Charge” articles here.
Ohio State has not won a national championship since 2014. In my whole hearted opinion, this last decade since has been a disappointment. The Buckeyes have lost no more than two games in each of those seasons, and that is absolutely egregious that they have fallen to that level. Heck, even the national championship year there was that albatross of a loss to Virginia Tech of all schools.
Losing games at Ohio State is unacceptable, and there are some seriously simple solutions that the Buckeye coaching staff just seems to avoid. Situational play-calling is a place to start. The times the current staff runs the ball when they should throw is obscene, and then they have the audacity to call a pass when they should obviously run the ball. This is just the inflection point for me though, and this is the first example of what would be different if I was in charge.
There is such a simplistic way to be a great football team, and enough people in the coaching profession often over think the simplest aspects. On the Chris Renne Pyramid of Success – as illustrated below – the most important aspect is getting the best players. The second level is scoring more points than the opponent, and the third not ever losing to lesser opponents. The fourth level of the pyramid is the defense only giving up a few points per year, more on that below. And the fifth and final point is having unlimited money, which is only vital if the first four levels of the pyramid aren’t working.
If this isn’t in every coaches office at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, I can’t take them seriously. That is why I need to be in charge. If I was in charge the first four levels would be guarantees. I can’t control the markets is the only reason the fifth is not a guarantee.
As a fan, a professional journalist, and an avid knower of ball myself, there is not a better option to put in charge than myself. I will break down my foolproof plan for the Buckeyes that would lead to them never losing a game again. This whole pyramid thing worked for John Wooden, and he won championships, unlike this program.
If I was in charge... Ohio State would get every recruit they wanted
To win football games, the best place to start is getting the best players. This is simple and straight forward. If there is a “5” and a star next to their name, Ohio State has to have them, and if they don’t it is an astronomical failure. Now you may sit here, you may scold at the idea that the Buckeyes need every five-star. They likely don’t, but if I wanted a recruit there would be a king’s ransom to land them all.
Oh, you want early playing time and to be close to home, but you live in Florida? No need to fret, the other five-stars on the roster will play as well. Ohio is only a two and a half hour flight from any major Florida airport. See how easy that was to ease the worries of a five star recruit? Boom, in the time you read that we just landed another.
Now having a roster of 85 five-stars means that there are still some to go around the other teams in the country. Even with that being the case, we did not want those guys, so since they did not come to Ohio State they are just no good. The next step is development, and not mentioned in my plan is we have the best coaches, so don’t worry about it. We gotta score points now.
If I was in charge... the offense would never have a bad day
Every generation has an offense that not only changes the way we think about football, but changes the entire philosophy of of the game of football. Back in the day, circa 1920 something, the great Knute Rockne said in a speech motivating his players and discussing the plan of attack. The plan was simple. Rockne stated, “We’re going inside of ‘em, we’re going outside of ‘em — inside of ‘em! outside of ‘em! — and when we get them on the run once, we’re going to keep ‘em on the run.”
The simplicity of it, and the ease of the Notre Dame Box alignment on offense was so forward, so progressive that defenses could not stop it. Rockne lost a few games, but that was more due to the offense being too simplistic. It’s why a Baylor offense will never win a championship. But the basis of what Rockne was trying to accomplish was what inspired me to create my pyramid of success.
When I’m in charge, Ohio State will be dynamic on the ground and throwing the football. Pretty simple. We might even end up with a top-10 run offense in yards per play and top-10 pass offense in yards per play as well as attempts. By not having a bad day, we will keep everyone on the run, and eventually when they’re so far on the run, we’ll pass to one of our five-star receivers from a five-star quarterback. Heck, the one guy catching the pass might be a hall of famers son. I know Ohio State has something similar currently, but trust me when I say this, the way I would do it would mean no off days.
The wind in Chicago – just kidding, Evanston – would not even slow us down. Nor would a defense. And because of this dynamic offense where the play call is always right, and the opponent can’t do anything because their players stink, because we already recruited all of the best of them, we wouldn’t even lose to the best opponents, let alone the stinkers in the Meyer era.
If I was in charge... the Buckeyes would not lose against lesser opponents
Urban Meyer was a great coach — er, he was pretty good. Lost a few more games than I would have, and especially the ones to the likes of Purdue, Michigan State, and Iowa. The big reason is the offense did not score enough points. We already addressed that, our offense would run the ball exceptionally, and when that was working we’d catch them with a pass.
The main reason this is on the pyramid is how many times has Ohio State played Purdue, Michigan State, Oregon, and even Michigan or Alabama, where the Buckeyes were just the better team and didn’t win. It feels like that’s every time, so my solution if I was in charge would be to just not do that. I’d be getting paid millions of dollars, I have 144 hours in the week after a game — that’s so much time to watch film — and all the winning would take care of the recruiting.
That allows me to be the most informed game planner in the country. You think Nick Saban sleeps? No he doesn’t, and as a human being I would develop Short Sleeper Syndrome, no need to nap or sleep in. And if I can’t do that I will get one of those brain implants and turn myself into a football cyborg to ensure that even the weakest opponent is annihilated.
If I was in charge... Ohio State’s defense would only give up a few points a year
Moving forward, defense is less important than offense to me because you can’t win a football game zero-zero. This is not the United States Men’s National Team playing Mexico or England where that somehow feels like winning. The Ryan Day era has had three teams where it felt like the defense just wasn’t good. Even last year with the improvement, there was still a sense that they weren’t elite.
My defenses would tackle athletes in space, fill gaps with a physicality that the lore of Brian Bosworth would be proud of, and whenever a quarterback was able to get a pass off (never) the ball would have little chance of being completed. This is the staple of the philosophy that comes when you just get all the recruits you offer scholarships. It sets you up to win at all three levels.
It starts up front, as it does with every team, and that is because we always would have the best 3-tech in the country. He could be from Streetsboro, Ohio or anywhere else in the country, but you’d be mistaken if he wasn’t the best. Then the linebackers would at worst play at the level of two A.J. Hawks and be so good that fans wouldn’t complain about the 4-2-5 because it would feel like there was three linebackers. Then in final the secondary would clean up everything else.
This would be done by utilizing the best schemes with all the five-stars we collected, Justin Fuente could have won with this strategy. And if you add the defense to the offense, it’s really easy to win a game 42-3.
If I was in charge... there would be an unlimited NIL Fund
To close the pyramid out, the greatest programs of all-time have been the richest. Think directly back to the rise of SMU. The Pony Express was an elite football factory due to the oil baron graduates. Ohio State has rich alumni. Some guy just donated a lot of money to the arts and to computers, if I was the coach all that money would be funding our football team.
Ohio State has some alumni who have become active in the NIL Foundation game. Unlike the Gator collective, if I was in charge a seven-figure NIL deal would be real, and the elite quarterback recruit on the other side would have it guaranteed through legal means. By using the funds money like an endowment, we would invest in blue chip players and blue chip stocks. When the numbers are down we put money in, and when they rise we pull it out. Doing this enough and at the right times would create unlimited money. There are people on Twitter just giving this financial advice away, and nobody takes it!
Using the alumni base, and obviously everyone would pitch their fair share, the only place that would have more money being funneled through it is the United States Federal Reserve. Now you might be thinking this sounds a little bit Dr. Evil, but the fact we’d have unlimited money with our NIL Fund would mean there would be no transfers who could say no. Like we’d need them, and with this money there would be no excuse which is why this is the foundation of the Pyramid.
I hear the concerns, “more money, more problems,” but no need to fear. There are four other levels to the pyramid for that reason. If the fund takes a hit, we just move the foundation up one level and play good defense.
The Chris Renne Pyramid of Success is trademarked, patented, and copyrighted because of the amount of success. As a fan, I obviously know more than most people and whatever I say would definitely mean the team would have more success. Football coaches think too much. They are so worried about losing that they forget, the point is to win the game.
Call me crazy, take this article as a joke, won’t be any weight off my back. But now I’m talking to you, Gene Smith, specifically. I know you’re reading this, and when the day finally turns to the night, get me in the lab and sail off into retirement. The Big Ten and Ohio State would be in elite hands. National championship on a yearly basis hands.
If you want greatness, you use my pyramid of success. If you want to never lose again you put me in charge. And if you think this is a fluff, no substance, you don’t know how the mind of fan, columnist, ex-football player works. There are five levels, five rungs to this ladder, and if I’m in charge every single decision I would make would be the right one.
You might be irritated reading this if you take things too seriously. But the thing is I am serious as a heart attack, nay, two heart attacks at the same time. Give me the headset, there would be no more sadness, no more humiliation. If I was in charge, Ohio State football would never lose again.