Ohio State football: Could Ryan Day succeed Urban Meyer as coach of Buckeyes?
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Does Ryan Day staying at Ohio State imply that he may be being groomed to be Urban Meyer’s successor? Wondering why he opted to stay although happy he did.
— William E. Feeman III (@feemandvm) January 29, 2018
Make no mistake, Ohio State’s talent pipeline to the NFL is going to continue to feature more than just players, as the move of Kerry Coombs to the Tennessee Titans indicates. But the Buckeyes dodged a major bullet when Ryan Day passed on a similar opportunity to join Mike Vrabel’s new staff in Nashville, and it could be significant for the program even beyond this coming season.
Day hasn’t had a chance yet to speak publicly about his decision to stick around with the Buckeyes, but it’s reasonably safe to assume a couple of things based on that move.
First, Day showed some loyalty to Ohio State and Urban Meyer, who generally expects his assistants to give him two seasons before moving on to other jobs. Second, he appears to be a natural fit at this point on the college level, given his success as a recruiter, and by passing on an opportunity to return to the NFL ranks this offseason, Day looks to have embraced this path for his career. Third, after four consecutive short stops on his coaching journey, he gets at least a little stability for his family for the time being by sticking around Columbus. And finally, Day has positioned himself even better for a head-coaching job in the future.
That last part is huge, because Day likely will be a much stronger candidate for a top job next year after earning a promotion to offensive coordinator and working under Meyer for two seasons than he might have been by jumping to the Titans for a year.
How that might relate to the future of the Buckeyes is where it gets a bit more complicated, particularly because Meyer really is not showing any signs of slowing down. Eventually, of course, Meyer will choose to head off to enjoy his life as a father and grandparent, but odds are Ohio State ideally would want somebody with previous experience leading a program to take the reins of one of the nation’s premier programs.
Now, that doesn’t mean Day couldn’t stick around and use familiarity with Meyer’s system and the program to slide into that spot. But after having at least one reported chance to lead an SEC school after just one season at Ohio State, there are going to be more opportunities, and better openings, coming his way soon. With the huge payday he could command, Day probably can’t afford to just wait around for a shot with the Buckeyes.
But he could go out and prove himself ahead of the moment that Meyer does decide it’s time to step away from the Buckeyes, just as Luke Fickell is already trying to do at Cincinnati. No matter what, based on the way Day has handled his career just this offseason, expect him to take his time and make sure he makes the right choice for him.
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