COLUMBUS, Ohio – The practice fields outside at the Woody Hayes Center were alive on Thursday morning with sounds that signified one thing: football is back.
The 133rd season of Ohio State football began bright and early as the Buckeyes took part in the first of 25 scheduled practices prior to their Sept. 3 opener vs. Notre Dame. A total of 110 players took the field, including 46 returning letterwinners and 16 returning starters. Head coach Ryan Day enters his fourth season leading the Buckeyes with a 34-4 overall record and 23-1 mark against Big Ten opponents.
New Faces in New Places
Four new assistant coaches took part in their first Ohio State fall camp practice on Thursday. Three of them are on the defensive side of the ball: defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Jim Knowles, cornerbacks coach Tim Walton and safeties coach Perry Eliano. On offense, Justin Frye is the Buckeyes’ new offensive line coach.
Knowles coordinated one of the nation’s top defensive units at Oklahoma State last season. Eliano mentored and developed Coby Bryant and Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner at Cincinnati while Walton has both college and NFL experience in his previous stops with the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants and Miami (Fla.), among others.
Frye most recently served as the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator at UCLA where the Bruins ranked 14th nationally with an average of 215.1 rushing yards per game in 2021.
There were several new faces brought in on both the coaching staff and support staff, too, in addition to staff promotions. They are:
Familiar Faces in Familiar Places
While there are plenty of fresh faces on the practice field, the Buckeyes also boast several assistant coaches who have become veterans on Ryan Day’s staff. The most tenured assistant coach is Larry Johnson, who enters his ninth season with the Buckeyes and 26th at the collegiate level.
The offensive side of the ball includes Tony Alford, who enters his eighth season, and Kevin Wilson, who begins his sixth as the team’s offensive coordinator and tight ends coach. In January, Alford was given the added responsibility of run game coordinator in addition to serving as assistant head coach for offense and running backs coach.
Brian Hartline, the team’s passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach, enters his sixth season on the coaching staff and fifth mentoring the team’s wide receivers. Corey Dennis is in his third year as the quarterbacks coach while Parker Fleming enters his second year as the team’s full-time special team’s coordinator.
Single game tickets, including a Pick Three mini-plan option, for a terrific slate of 2022 Ohio State home football games are currently on sale. Fans can learn more and purchase tickets online at http://go.osu.edu/fbtix.
The 2022 home schedule, which features eight games, includes contests against Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan. This fall will also mark the 100 year celebration of Ohio Stadium, one of the most iconic college football venues in history and also the home to many other major moments, including concerts and graduations.