One question was on everyone’s mind heading into Ohio State’s Sept. 1 season opener: Who will be the head coach running out of the tunnel alongside the Buckeyes against Oregon State?
After a Board of Trustees meeting scheduled to share the findings of the investigation of Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer neared its 12th hour of deliberation, the answer arrived at Ryan Day — until Sept. 16.
In the statement released announcing Meyer’s absence from the team on Aug. 1, Ohio State said offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day was named the acting head coach for the duration of the investigation.
As a former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at both the college and the pro level, this is Day’s first opportunity as the head coach of any football program. However, he becomes the acting head coach of a coaching staff with two former head coaches as coordinators, associate head coach and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson.
Both coordinators bring more experience to the coaching staff than Day has, as they each ran Division I programs for several seasons. However, both coordinators have faced controversy in recent years.
In November 2017, Schiano initially was set to become the next head coach at the University of Tennessee after helping the Ohio State defense allow an average of 19 points per game.
However, with a history of being a graduate assistant and a secondary coach at Penn State from 1990 to 1995, allegations resurfaced about Schiano and fellow assistant coach Jerry Sandusky regarding the latter’s sexual abuse. The Volunteers rescinded their offer, breaking a memorandum of understanding signed by both the university and Schiano.
After recording a 26-47 record in six seasons, Wilson was fired as the head coach at Indiana with reports of alleged mistreatment, especially involving injured players.
With the stories attached to both Schiano and Wilson, despite the head coaching experience, Day seemed the safer option for a university that was wrapped up in national scrutiny.
However, Day’s level of responsibility, even without the change in title, was already increased heading into the 2018 season. After his promotion to the offensive coordinator position in January, Day will lead an offense in the midst of an identity shift: a changing of the guard at quarterback, with redshirt sophomore Dwayne Haskins taking over for quarterback J.T. Barrett and leading an offense with an established running game and veteran receiving corps.
Instead of just the offense, Day has been in charge of Ohio State since the start of fall camp at the beginning of August.
Despite the loss of Meyer heading into the season opener against Oregon State, the roster remains the same, with players like Associated Press preseason All-American junior defensive end Nick Bosa and sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins.
For the short term, the team is the same, with the same expectations for the upcoming season: a Big Ten Championship with a sig
nificant chance at a College Football Playoff berth.
Now, knowing what Meyer’s status is going into the regular season, Day and the rest of the Ohio State football program will now focus on the short term.