COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ryan Day stored his toes on the bottom at Lucas Oil Stadium whereas Ohio State coach City Meyer and a number of other Buckeyes gamers celebrated on the dais, the Massive Ten championship trophy in hand following a 45-24 victory in opposition to Northwestern.
As they stood atop the Massive Ten, figuratively and actually, Day and his spouse, Nina, celebrated along with their kids. Day wore a perma-smile after a dramatic 12-1 season he helped hold intact. He took footage together with his household and energy and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti. Day absorbed the scene, and at that second he was the most popular offensive coordinator within the FBS, sure, certainly, for an even bigger job.
Day may have by no means one other second fairly like that once more.
MORE: City Meyer’s Ohio State legacy? It is sophisticated
Meyer introduced his retirement Tuesday and Day was given a five-year contract value $Four.5 million a 12 months to be the 25th coach at Ohio State. Meyer and Day shared the rostrum with athletic director Gene Smith. The coaches wore grey fits and scarlet ties. The duty for Day, proper there, turned retaining one of the profitable runs in program historical past going. Meyer takes an 82-9 report, three Massive Ten titles and a nationwide championship into his remaining recreation on the Rose Bowl in opposition to Washington on Jan. 1, 2019.
What comes after shall be a brand new period.
“Each coach whoever put a whistle round their neck strives to be the top coach at The Ohio State College,” Day mentioned throughout Tuesday’s information convention on the Fawcett Middle. “I absolutely perceive the challenges that await for me. Being on the identical listing as Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Earle Bruce, John Cooper, Jim Tressel and City Meyer, it is extraordinarily humbling, however I am ready and prepared for the duty.”
Talking of whistles, it was Day who had a malfunctioning one when he took the sphere as appearing coach for the Buckeyes forward of the opener at Oregon State. After the Buckeyes received 77-31, Day made a joke about that whereas discussing whether or not he was nervous to fill in for Meyer.
“They gave me a whistle, and it did not work,” Day mentioned with a smile. “I needed to ship it again. They gave me a recent one. No, not nervous as a result of there was a quiet confidence about this crew all alongside. There is a quiet confidence about a variety of guys on our crew.”
There’s a quiet confidence about Day, too, and he proved that by going Three-Zero in his stint as appearing coach. Ohio State outscored Oregon State, Rutgers and TCU by a mixed 169-62. There started a pass-heavy offense that might end in quarterback Dwayne Haskins changing into a Heisman Trophy finalist after a record-setting season. Day, who was an assistant beneath Chip Kelly with Oregon and the San Francisco 49ers, had provided an thrilling glimpse of this system’s future, even when he downplayed that all through the stint.
He used a distinct rationalization when he first spoke to the media as appearing coach on Aug. 27. Day described full-time teaching duties as “consuming via a hearth hose.”
5 days later, after the victory over Oregon State on Sept. 1, he mentioned, “My job is to not exchange Coach Meyer. My job is to only hold this place till he will get again and by no means wished to interchange him, simply need to hold this factor getting in the best route.”
Now, it is Day’s job, and the fireplace hose won’t ever cease working. At 39, he’s the top coach of a top-shelf program the place Massive Ten championships are the minimal requirement and a nationwide championship is predicted each season.
MORE: OSU’s Playoff standing, for as soon as, is not sophisticated
Day is now tasked with all of the duties Meyer perfected throughout a seven-year stint that reworked Ohio State into one of many prime 5 applications within the FBS alongside Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Georgia. Meyer, who cited well being points as the most important cause for his retirement, threw his assist behind the Day rent.
“I employed Ryan Day as a result of I assumed he was an excellent coach,” Meyer mentioned. “I knew he was. He was with me earlier than (at Florida). What I came upon was that he is far previous these ideas. He is elite.”
Athletic director Gene Smith and Meyer started having Sunday discussions in November concerning the latter’s future. When the subject of potential successors was broached, Day was the very best reply. Smith even put his arm round him on Tuesday to lighten the temper.
“If he wasn’t gifted, I would not have him right here if he could not X and O, let’s be clear,” Smith mentioned. “He is acquired to win ballgames. He is aware of that. Received to win ballgames.”
Day shall be judged on these video games, in an order that Meyer additionally perfected.
The order begins with Michigan. Meyer leaves with a 7-Zero report in opposition to the Wolverines, and Day had a hand within the offensive recreation plan that produced a 62-39 blowout in The Recreation on Nov. 24. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is Zero-Four in opposition to the Buckeyes, however now Day is tasked with sustaining that hole, which has widened significantly within the 21st century. He talked about watching The Recreation as a baby; now we’ll see if he can deal with that legacy-defining recreation as a coach.
“It did not take lengthy for me to determine what the expectations had been of Ohio State soccer,” Day mentioned. “No. 1, win the rivalry recreation; No. 2, win each recreation after that.”
Meaning the Massive Ten.
Meyer received three Massive Ten championships in seven years and Ohio State compiled a 54-Four regular-season convention report throughout that stretch. The Buckeyes haven’t made the School Soccer Playoff in both of the final two seasons, nonetheless, regardless of being a type of elite applications.
That means nationwide championships.
Meyer led the Buckeyes to the primary School Soccer Playoff championship in 2014, however they’ve missed three of the final 4 regardless of a 47-6 report. How will Day deal with teaching at a spot the place one loss is unacceptable? We’re about to search out out.
Day, a Manchester, N.H., native, is just the second Ohio State coach born exterior the state since World Struggle II. John Cooper is the opposite one. Maybe that is why Day instantly appealed to the in-state fan base in his opening remarks.
“My household and I’ve fallen in love with the eagerness that each fan has for the Buckeyes and what soccer means to this nice state,” he mentioned. “You may really feel it on recreation day in the course of the cranium session, in the course of the stroll to the stadium and enjoying within the Horseshoe on Saturdays. To the highschool coaches in Ohio: We’ve the very best coaches and a few of the finest highschool applications in all of America right here at Ohio.”
Meyer does — did — that as properly anyone, even Alabama coach Nick Saban. The Buckeyes are one of the gifted groups within the FBS, and it’s on Day to show himself in that enviornment with the early Signing Day developing. That’s his first large take a look at.
“Ryan’s going to be in 4 states (Wednesday), I think about,” Meyer mentioned earlier than trying over at his successor. “He higher be. We misplaced every week of recruiting.”
MORE: City Meyer cannot afford extra combined messages
That was one final indication that, till the Rose Bowl, Meyer would be the face of this system till Day takes over. Not that the brand new coach shall be within the background: That is his program now, and with that comes much more consideration.
After the information convention, Columbus sports activities anchor Dom Tiberi interviewed Day whereas his spouse and three kids stood by the digital camera. A tv tuned to the Massive Ten Community blared within the background. The analysts on display broke down Day’s probabilities at Ohio State.
That’s his life now. It is his accountability to have fun on the dais. The hearth hose is working.
Is he the following Lincoln Riley — a long-term home-run rent — or the following Luke Fickell — a short-term stopgap?
We’re about to search out out. With honest apologies for the pun, it is a new Day in Columbus, and all people shall be watching.
How will the younger coach deal with it? Can he keep the quiet confidence he projected as appearing coach?
“All of us are a part of one thing particular right here at Ohio State,” he mentioned. “The tradition that City Meyer has created right here is powerful, and my pledge to the gamers is that our employees goes to provide you each alternative to maximise your self as a soccer participant (and) as a scholar in establishing your profession after soccer.”
Day has accepted the problem. Now, discover him a whistle that works. He’ll want it.