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Dating back to Ohio football’s offensive slump during the Jim Tressel era, whenever play-calling seemed painfully conservative and woefully uncreative, my dad became fond of saying something with the effect of, “They’re just saving the good plays for Michigan.”

Despite the fact that offensive output has changed and improved dramatically in the two coaching periods since the Senators have been played out of town, there is still a regular refrain from my dad when Urban Meyer stops caring enough to innovate on offense and when Ryan Day gets stubborn So much so that he forgets he has the best group of receiving talent in the country to play with.

I’ve been very open with my feelings that Ryan Day should give up his playing duties in favor of someone he can focus on full time while also watching the game from the box, but I’ve also talked to a 180-degree turn around him. Is it possible that after two decades of using a well-worn cliché as a crutch, my dad might actually be right? Was the Ohio State head coach a season-long trick-or-treat in the North?

Now don’t get me wrong, the offense has looked great for large swaths of the season, but there have been a few times what Ryan Day has done in offense seemed to go against what makes sense given the specific talents in his team and the things the coach himself has said about his offensive philosophy.

Even Day said his yardage issues forced him to metaphorically bang his head against a wall, which at the time had me exclaiming, “Dude, you call those plays, do something different then!”

But now, I’m starting to think he’s been sandblasting all season. Whether it was with the short-handed running back calls, insistence on bubble screen calls that never worked, lack of short-to-medium passes over the middle, and generally uninspired vanilla play designs, I really started to think that day he was just doing what needed to be done. By getting to 12-0, style points are damned.

Of course, Ohio State didn’t really need to think out of the box to win most of their games this season, so Day was able to take some risks, by not taking any risks. He gambled on his team’s talent being able to carry them to the point where they are now without having to delve too deeply into his attacking bag of tricks.

Call it blind homerism in search of a reason to believe the Buckeyes have an unforeseen advantage over their rivals, or just excessive optimism in a coach who has shown brilliance in the past, but has been somewhat pedestrian this season. Either way, I think Day has more than a few tricks up his sleeve. I think he might have a whole new overcoat to put on Jim Harbaugh to prove he’s worked lately and deserves to stand on third base.

I may be ready to be disappointed on Saturday, but until I’m proven wrong (which happens almost every Saturday), I expect Ryan Day to unleash a completely different, exciting and creative game plan on Saturday against the Wolverines.

Now, if we can get Larry Johnson to stop alternating his second and third runs during the game’s most important drives, I’ll be a very happy fan and never happy to have my coach prove him wrong. .

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