For three games, all the focus was on Ryan Day.
As acting head coach for the No. 4 team in the country following a three-game suspension to head coach Urban Meyer, Day’s temporary promotion from offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach moved his name to the front of college football headlines.
Day said the experience, specifically last Saturday in Arlington, Texas against TCU, is one he will never forget.
“Saturday night was a little surreal going through that, what a great atmosphere, it was almost like a bowl atmosphere just being there, so that was, that was one of those experiences we’ll look back on,” Day said. “It goes to show you what this place is and how powerful it is, and how fortunate my family and I are to be here.”
After taking over for a three-time national champion, Day went 3-0 in his time at the helm, easily handling the likes of Oregon State and Rutgers, while handing the Buckeyes a statement win over a ranked opponent, defeating then-No. 15 TCU 40-28.
The 3-0 record leaves Ohio State at No. 4, one spot higher than where it started, and exactly where Day said he wanted the team after he left: in a great spot for Meyer’s return.
Going back to his original position, Day said it will be a bit of a weight off his shoulders.
“It’s one less thing to worry about,” Day said. “But, you know, the job of coaching the quarterbacks and working with Kevin and the rest of the guys on the offense is still a major task, it takes a lot of work.”
Day goes back to the offense after three weeks as the guy for Ohio State, and he comes back to a terrific situation.
Day returns his focus to the quarterback room, where redshirt sophomore Dwayne Haskins has left any doubt of his capabilities.
Throwing for more than 300 yards in two of his first three starts and earning 12 total touchdowns with only one interception, Haskins has stepped up and proven himself through the first three games of the season.
This week, and against Tulane on Saturday, Day is on his way back to normal. But looking back at his tenure, he said his experience as head coach changed daily.
“Every day it was a little different, honestly. I mean early on, it was overwhelming, and then every day it became a little bit more normal,” Day said. “Every day brought on a new challenge and there were certain things I wasn’t ready for, certain things I was ready for and I think every day was an opportunity for me to get an experience in that role.”
Regardless of the controversy, what he did or didn’t know or what he did or didn’t do regarding the domestic violence allegations made against a former employee, Meyer is back. But Day more than handled his time as acting head coach, bringing Meyer back to the sideline with an undefeated Ohio State team with a top-10 offense in the nation.
Now, Day will go back to being an offensive coordinator, joining Meyer on the sidelines for the rest of the season.
He said, of all the moments through the first three weeks of the season, coming out of the tunnel at AT&T Stadium is the one that remains at the top.
“Really, of all of the things on Saturday night, the greatest part was coming out of the tunnel that first time, and seeing the Ohio State fans there going crazy, I mean it was like, you had chills all over you, and, I mean, tingling like in your scalp, like just to see those guys going crazy for us,” Day said. “Really cool experience, something I won’t forget.”