After Playoff no-show, Ohio State's offensive makeover begins with new QBs coach


After Playoff no-show, Ohio State's offensive makeover begins with new QBs coach

For the first time ever, an Urban Meyer team was shut out. And Meyer promised it wasn't going to happen again.

Meyer's post-Fiesta Bowl vows of getting back to work and specifically improving the Buckeyes' passing attack are already ringing true, with the offensive makeover already underway.

Ohio State announced Tuesday — three days after a 31-0 loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal — the addition of new quarterbacks coach Ryan Day.

Day replaces Tim Beck, the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach who will reportedly become the new offensive coordinator at Texas under former Ohio State assistant Tom Herman.

Day spent the past two seasons working as an assistant in the NFL under Chip Kelly, with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015 and with the San Francisco 49ers this past season. Day also worked as a college assistant at Boston College and Temple.

While the Buckeyes were good enough to win 11 games this season and reach the Playoff, they struggled to find consistent success throwing the ball behind quarterback J.T. Barrett, who still took home Big Ten Quarterback of the Year honors.

Had the Fiesta Bowl not happened or gone differently, there might not have been such a dire need for change. But on the biggest stage the sport has to offer, Ohio State was shockingly inept on offense, mustering just 215 total yards — and only 88 on the ground — in the program's first shutout loss since 1993.

Play-calling got a lot of attention, with freshman running back Mike Weber getting just three carries. But the Clemson defense was a nightmare for Ohio State, pressuring Barrett on every play and getting into the backfield with ease, recording 11 tackles for loss.

Though offensive coordinator Ed Warinner is still on the job, a Tuesday report indicated his role could change. That and Day taking on just one of Beck's former titles has sparked speculation that there's another big hire to come, someone to fully take over the Buckeyes' offense.

And of course that speculation has grown to typically lofty levels, with Kelly's name being thrown around as a preferred choice of many on social media. Kelly is newly jobless after getting fired by the 49ers, and Meyer has brought on former big-name coaches in the very recent past. Former NFL head coach Greg Schiano is the Ohio State defensive coordinator.

Whether or not a huge splash comes, Meyer has already begun the work of retooling his offense in the aftermath of the worst loss of his career.

Big Ten reportedly talking about expanding conference basketball schedule


Big Ten reportedly talking about expanding conference basketball schedule

Conference play could be getting a bit longer in the Big Ten.

According to a Monday report from ESPN's Jeff Goodman, there are talks about expanding the Big Ten conference basketball schedule from 18 games to 20 games.

Commissioner Jim Delany told Goodman that while there hasn't been a vote among the league's coaches yet, there are ongoing discussions about lengthening conference play by a couple of games.

Conference play expanded a decade ago, when the number of league games jumped from 16 to 18 for the 2007-08 season.

In order for there to be enough days in between games for players, an expanded league schedule would mean the beginning of conference play coming earlier in December. Recently, conference play has typically started around New Year's. Of course, there will be a week earlier start to conference play this season with the Big Ten Tournament — at Madison Square Garden in New York — a week earlier than usual, wrapping a full week before Selection Sunday.

Similar moves have been made in football, with the Big Ten starting a nine-game conference slate last fall. It's meant league games in September — a no-no in the past — and this season will feature a conference matchup in the season's first week, when Indiana and Ohio State play on Aug. 31.

Expanding conference play in college basketball would have a similar effect as it has had on schedules in football. With fewer non-conference slots to fill, those games become more important to a team's NCAA tournament resume. It forces teams to schedule more high-profile opponents and eliminate games against small schools that generate little interest during the season's first couple months.

The ACC, a league that often runs neck and neck with the Big Ten in the debate over which is America's top basketball conference, announced it will be moving to a 20-game schedule last July, with that starting in the 2019-20 season.

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo shared some thoughts on the subject with Goodman, saying he expects the move to happen.

"I personally see us going to a 20-game schedule," Izzo told Goodman. "I don't think there's any question it's going to happen — and I'm not overly against it."

Ohio State has its new head coach in Butler's Chris Holtmann


Ohio State has its new head coach in Butler's Chris Holtmann

Ohio State found its next head basketball coach, going to one of Thad Matta's former employers to find the longtime coach's successor.

The school announced Friday morning that Butler head coach Chris Holtmann is the Buckeyes' new head coach.

Holtmann spent the past three seasons as the head coach at Butler, posting a 70-31 record and making NCAA tournament appearances in all three of those seasons, including a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in March. He was named the Big East Coach of the Year this past season.

Holtmann spent two seasons as an assistant at Ohio under former Illinois head coach John Groce, a former Matta assistant, before serving as the head coach at Gardner-Webb for three seasons. Holtmann left Gardner-Webb for an assistant-coaching job at Butler, though he was quickly promoted to interim head coach and then head coach in Indianapolis.

Holtmann takes over for Matta, who himself was the Butler head coach in the 2000-01 season before becoming the all-time wins leader at Ohio State. Matta's mostly successful tenure was ended earlier this week, when athletics director Gene Smith saw recruiting misses teaming with declining win totals to create a dip in Matta's success.

This week has been dominated by rumors and declarations of lack of interest from numerous candidates and possible candidates for the job. Xavier head coach Chris Mack and Creighton head coach Greg McDermott both made their decisions to stay at their current schools known via social media, and a report linking Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg to the job forced a no-interest comment from Hoiberg, too.

Despite those repeated "no thank yous," though, Ohio State is still seen to be one of the best jobs in college basketball thanks to one of the highest-profile athletics departments and one of the best conferences in the country, providing ample resources.

Recruiting will be a big expectation for Holtmann, as Matta's performance in that area dipped near the end of his tenure. The Buckeyes missed the NCAA tournament in each of the past two seasons, while Holtmann just took Butler to a No. 4 seed in the Big Dance, the highest in that program's history.