LOS ANGELES, CA- There isn’t much Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer hasn’t achieved throughout his storied career. Meyer’s been named “Coach of the Decade” for 2000-2009, has the second-highest bowl game winning percentage in college football history and is one of only two coaches to win national titles at two schools. Meyer announced his retirement on Dec. 4 and will coach his final game in the 2019 Rose Bowl against Washington.
Despite losing the third-winningest coach in college football history, Ohio State’s football program seems to be destined for continued success. This stability comes from Ryan Day, Ohio State’s current offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach who will officially take over as the 25th head coach in Buckeye football history beginning Jan. 2.
“The first thing on the list was recruiting, and obviously that went really, really well,” Day said. “Now it’s getting ready for this bowl game. But every day [is] a little bit more [responsibility].”
Day isn’t quite sure whether or not he’ll be calling plays next season.
“It’s something we’re still going to work through and figure that out,” he said. “I still want to have a heavy hand in the offense.”
Since taking over the Ohio State offense in 2017, Day has guided two quarterbacks to record-setting seasons and turned the Buckeyes into an offensive juggernaut.
Last season, J.T. Barrett became a finalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Year Award and was named the Big Ten’s quarterback of the year under Day. His offense ranked fifth nationally in passing efficiency, sixth in scoring and eighth in total offense. Ohio State led the Big Ten in all of those categories. In 2018, Day commanded the Buckeyes to a 3-0 start while Meyer suffered a suspension as the result of an NCAA investigation.
Heading into the Rose Bowl, Ohio State’s 2018 offense ranks second nationally in both total and passing yards. Heisman Trophy finalist and sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins leads the nation in yards passing with 4,580.
— Blake Atwell (@blakeatwell5) December 29, 2018
“Rhythm of our passing game is critical,” Day said.
Day agreed to a five-year contract that will pay him $4.5 million per season to lead the Buckeyes. Age 39, the Manchester, New Hampshire native came to Ohio State with 15 years of previous coaching experience. He spent more than 10 seasons in the collegiate ranks with Temple, Boston College, New Hampshire and Florida. He played quarterback at New Hampshire under former NFL and current UCLA head coach Chip Kelly, when Kelly was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Day vaulted to the NFL in 2015, joining Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles staff. He guided Sam Bradford to a record-setting 2015 season with the Eagles, a year in which Bradford completed 65 percent of his passes and threw for 3,725 yards. When Kelly moved from Philadelphia to San Francisco, so did Day. He spent one season coaching quarterbacks with the 49ers.
Day faces one of his toughest assignments yet for this year’s Rose Bowl, as Washington’s dynamic defense awaits. Ben Burr-Kirven leads the nation in tackles and defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake directs a Washington defense that’s allowed just nine touchdown passes in 2018.
“Jimmy Lake does a great job and the whole staff does a great job,” Day said. “They play very hard. They’re powerful up front. They don’t give up a lot of big plays.”