Chip Kelly brings a Forrest Gump run game to the Ohio State football team's offense

The Ohio State football team's offense is going to bet a major boost on all fronts, but especially in the run game.

Nov 11, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly walks off the field after
Nov 11, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly walks off the field after / Alex Gallardo-USA TODAY Sports

New Ohio State offensive coordinator Chip Kelly’s run game is like Forrest Gump. Well, not like the character, but more like something Forrest said in the iconic movie, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” Ohio State football fans are going to love it.

In an article for The Athletic, Bruce Feldman spoke with a few Pac-12 defensive coordinators who have faced Kelly as well as a couple of coaches who were on his staff at UCLA. All agree that you never know what you’re going to get with Kelly’s run game.

Kelly is a master of running the same play but giving it a different look from week to week. One week he may run the play out of a formation with one running back and no tight ends, the next it may be with one running back and two tight ends. He also uses motion and shifts to give a different look as well. Blocking schemes are changed each week. He may pull the backside guard to block an outside linebacker on a certain play one week, while the next week he’s using a tight end he has put in motion or shifted. One opposing coach quoted in the article said,

"“He does a good job of creating leverage. He really pushes you in terms of your alignment, and once he finds a way to attack you, he stays with it until you get it fixed.”"

Pac 12 defensive coordinator

While Kelly has his core plays, he also brings into each game a set designed specifically for that particular defense. Once the game begins, opposing defensive coaches find themselves looking at things they’ve never seen before and having to scramble to adjust in the middle of the game. Even with his core plays, Kelly will add wrinkles he hasn’t shown before that are specifically designed for that opponent. Multiple defensive coordinators interviewed for the article said it is nearly impossible to win an in-game chess match with Kelly.

Kelly's blocking schemes are sound. We know the Buckeyes offensive line had its share of issues last year, so there is work to do there if this run game is going to be successful. But if there are problems, the scheme will not be the issue. A coach who worked with Kelly at UCLA said he would always have each defensive player accounted for. If a team wants to bring a safety down into the box, he will have a guy available to block him. Kelly’s blocking schemes do not allow for the defense to have someone running free and blowing up a play in the backfield.

I usually take a wait-and-see attitude about most things, but I have to admit, I’m excited to see what Kelly has in store because I love to watch an offense that can really run the ball. You can have those offenses that rely on 4-6 yard dink and dunk passes that kind of offense puts me to sleep. I’ll take an offense that uses multiple formations with motion and shifts to run the ball effectively any day over that short-passing stuff.

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If Kelly can create the same success with the Buckeyes that he’s had at his other coaching stops, Ohio State football fans are in for a real treat.