Scarlet Sunrise: Justin Frye serving as 'Rosetta Stone' for Buckeyes OC Chip Kelly

IMG_7408by:Andy Backstrom04/05/24


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Justin Frye serving as ‘Rosetta Stone’ for Buckeyes OC Chip Kelly

Offensive line coach Justin Frye was asked this week what he would say if someone were to tell him when he arrived at Ohio State in 2022 that, two years later, Chip Kelly would be his offensive coordinator.

“I would have laughed,” Frye said. “But then I’d say it’s college football, so who knows, right?”

The duo is back together after Frye worked under Kelly at UCLA from 2018-21.

Frye was the Bruins’ offensive line coach, and, for three of his four years in Westwood, he doubled as their offensive coordinator. During that span, UCLA completed its turnaround under Kelly, winning more games in 2021 than it did in 2019 and 2020 combined.

The Bruins also established a top-15 rushing attack in the country along the way. Both Kelly and Frye were the architects of that success. UCLA went from 81st nationally in rushing offense in 2019 to ranking 12th and 14th in 2020 and 2021, respectively. 

Not only is Kelly taking over play-calling duties at Ohio State, but the offensive guru is also expected to spark the run game, which ranked 88th nationally with 138.9 yards per game last year.

Frye said that, more than anything, Kelly’s a fresh set of eyes on the offense. And not just any eyes — a well-trained set that has seen a lot of football.

“I believe he’s coached every position on the field, both sides of the ball, through his whole career. So as he looks up, and he writes, ‘Well, this WILL linebacker’s going to do that,’ he might have coached that at Columbia. Or, ‘This is what the 3-tech’s going to read on a down block of a tackle,’ because he’s coached the offensive line and he’s been a coordinator for a long time.

“So just a really good vision of big picture, understanding the next step.”

Frye said Kelly is supplementing the offensive meeting room. There are things Kelly does that Frye, as well as other Buckeyes offensive assistants, can pull from for their own position groups.

Kelly is another good person on staff, Frye emphasized. Frye talked about how the people component of every hire or recruitment is key at Ohio State.

It helps, though, that they have a prior relationship, even if it’s not as extensive as the one Kelly has with Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day.

“Obviously as he says something, and he might speak in old terms that we had,” Frye said, “[I can] be a little bit of the Rosetta Stone, like ‘No, no this is this.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s right.’ Because that happens to all coaches. That happened to me when I got here first.”

For how involved Frye is in the run game, that level of communication and comprehension is significant. So is Frye’s respect for Kelly.

“Adding just another good dude that’s in the room,” Frye said of Kelly coming aboard.

Buckeyes bringing young safeties along, adding depth for star-led unit

Ohio State’s safety room is led by a pair of stars, one returning and one new: That’s fifth-year strong safety Lathan Ransom and sophomore Alabama transfer Caleb Downs.

Although Ransom is coming off a season-ending Lisfranc injury, he was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award — given annually to the best defensive back in college football — just two years ago. Downs earned second-team AP All-American honors last season.

The Buckeyes are going to need depth at the position, though, and safeties coach Matt Guerrieri is confident in that depth, which continues to develop under his watch.

Second-year safety Jayden Bonsu’s recent growth is evidence of that development.

For the full story, head on over here.


Jamison Battle finishes third in College 3-point Championship

Ohio State standout wing Jamison Battle finished third in the College 3-point Championship Thursday night in Phoenix. He made the semifinals after notching 23-of-30 possible points.

Then Battle replicated that score in the semifinal round. Unfortunately for Battle, he was edged out for a spot in the finals by both Hofstra’s Tyler Thomas (26) and Nebraska’s Keisei Tominaga (24).

Battle went toe-to-toe with Tominaga in the semifinals before Tominaga’s final push — capped with a buzzer-beating finish that he intentionally waited for — put the Cornhuskers phenom over the hump.

Tominaga wound up winning the title with 19 points in the final round.

Counting Down

Buckeyes vs. Akron: 148 days
Buckeyes vs. Michigan: 239 days

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