It has taken only two games for Kevin Wilson to feel the wrath that can follow an Ohio State loss.
The Buckeyes’ new offensive coordinator, who has an impressive resume guiding prolific offenses, finds himself under the gun after a 31-16 loss Saturday to Oklahoma. He is one of the ones doing the pointing.
“I was awful on Saturday,” Wilson said.
Coach Urban Meyer didn’t use that word, but he didn’t absolve Wilson as the Buckeyes prepare to play Army on Saturday. He said that he was pleased with Wilson’s play-calling in the second half of the 49-21 victory against Indiana.
“Last week, I did not think it went well,” Meyer said. “It’s obviously a work in progress, and we have to do better.”
Meyer and Wilson would not use his newness with the Buckeyes as an excuse.
“Should be much better,” Meyer said.
Wilson downplayed the suggestion he needs time to learn his personnel better. He said it’s his job to adapt to his players’ strengths and weaknesses. Wilson faulted himself for “being all over the place” with play-calling instead of working to allow the Buckeyes establish an offensive identity. That has been a focus since the Oklahoma game.
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“What do you want to be and where are you hanging your hat so that you can be assertive and play aggressive football?” Wilson said.
As he did after the game Saturday, Wilson voiced support for quarterback J.T. Barrett.
“He’s going to look good when we, starting with me, do the job and get it going,” Wilson said. “That’s every quarterback. They get all the credit and all the blame. You’ve heard those lines and that’s true. But it’s not one man.
“He is a phenomenal manager, and it’s my job to get us in position where he can be the player he is. We’re going to work hard to get back on track and we’ll see how it goes this week.”
Wilson was particularly critical of his play-calling in the red zone. Twice, the Buckeyes had to settle for field goals after having first-and-goal inside the Oklahoma 10-yard line.
“I think I’ve called a couple plays on a couple drives that have gotten us off schedule and behind chains,” Wilson said. “Third-and-8 and third-and-9 happened too quick. I did it in the first game two times. I did it last week a couple of times.
“We anticipated some looks we didn’t get and they weren’t clean plays. I put us in bad situations.”
Ohio State’s receivers have taken criticism for struggling to get separation. Asked whether Ohio State receivers got open against Oklahoma, Wilson replied, “I don’t think so.”
But he pinned that on his failure to get the offense in rhythm, not their route-running.
“We were an offense that was disjointed on Saturday,” Wilson said.
The Buckeyes have to be better against Army, but they might not get a lot of chances. The Black Knights like to shorten games with their triple-option run game. Army’s opponent last week, Buffalo, ran only 39 plays.
“If you don’t execute on offense and don’t shut them down defensively, you can play a quarter and have one drive,” Wilson said.