Why Timely Return of Ryan Day So Critical for Buckeyes

Ohio State Quarterbacks J.T. Barrett, Tate Martell, Joe Burrow, Ryan Day, Dwayne Haskins, Kory Curtis


Ohio State football is about to embark on a new journey, led by a brand new starting quarterback. This is a situation that produces plenty of stomach acid for a head coach, as they operate in a world where the known is almost always better than the unknown. This, of course, flies in the face of the world of the fans, where the unknown is very often better than the known because the unknown has yet to fail.

With J.T. Barrett off to his next stop, the Buckeyes are now in a position of needing a new starting quarterback. Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins, and Tate Martell have already begun the competition, and with the return of quarterbacks coach Ryan Day, they won’t have to start back at square one.

Day had other coaching opportunities after the regular season, but turned all of them down to return to Ohio State. Imagine where the quarterback situation would be this coming season if Day had left and now a new position coach had to be brought in to not only teach new techniques, but learn what each of the Buckeye quarterbacks can do. The entire spring would have been spent learning from each other, rather than getting closer to finding a starting quarterback.

With Day’s return, however, the quarterbacks know what they are going to get because they spent all of last year with him. They all know each other. There is no longer an acclimation period. He teaches, they learn. They work, he works. The process is ongoing. Ryan Day’s return essentially allows the quarterbacks to hit the ground running in their competition to replace J.T. Barrett.

“It means the world,” said Martell after the Cotton Bowl. “If he would have left, it sucks having to go through that after just one year. It was tough for me just knowing Coach Day for like a week before I came in, so that was a weird situation for me. But now that’s my guy, I love him, and I can’t wait to get it going with him.”

Martell’s opinion is shared by his fellow quarterbacks. They know what they are going to get from him and they know what he wants. He knows Urban Meyer’s offense, and they do too. This isn’t a situation where the quarterback coach has to learn the offense and also try to teach the quarterbacks on the fly. Day understood the offense well enough early on to add his own flourishes to it, and now that will continue in 2018 as well.

This spring is going to be a hellacious battle between three very competitive players. They have each already been through plenty at Ohio State, and this past season they went through it all with Ryan Day. It brought each of them closer with their position coach, which makes each of them more comfortable in going through the competition all over again this spring.

“There were some of us that went through it. It’s tough,” Martell said of the difficulties of spring camp. “Coach Day helped me get through a lot of my struggles. He’s a great guy I can go to and talk to about anything.”

Day and his quarterbacks have a lot of equity built up. The continuation of their relationships is key. The QBs don’t need to get to know a new position coach. They also don’t have to go through the process of learning from a new teacher.

For a guy like Tate Martell, Ryan Day is the only position coach he has ever known, which is only going to help him be more ready in 2018.

“Coach Day taught me a ton with my mechanics throughout the season,” he said. “That’s what I’ve become a lot better at is throwing the ball. My speed went up a ton because they’re coaching me to get me stronger and faster, but throwing the ball, I’m way better throwing the ball right now. I can throw the ball with anybody right now, I feel like. We’ll see when the time comes around.”

J.T. Barrett may be gone, but Ryan Day is back, and so are the three other quarterbacks who have been learning from him for the past year. Together, they will make this transition much smoother than it could have been if Day would have elected to leave for a job somewhere else.

With Day’s return, every day is a continuation of the day before, so to speak. It is seamless for each individual quarterback, because the only new thing about it is more reps in practice. The plan is to then make this a seamless transition for the entire Ohio State offense as well.


13 Responses


  2. I’m quite sure that Kevin Wilson could handle the QB coach and OC jobs if allowed to by UM. We may actually have been better off with Day gone and Wilson handling both duties.

  3. Excellent article Tony, well written. I would make Martell my starter, encourage Haskens to transfer, make Burrow my backup & red shirt the freshman. OSU would be solid at the QB position for next 4 years. You can win a national championship with Tate. Just watch him play, a Houdini with the football. No other QB on the team possesses all the attributes as he. A true magician with a football in his hands!!! Actually throws better on the run then from the pocket. He will drive defenses CRAZY!!!

  4. …….and sometimes the unknown is better than what is known. Sorry but Ryan Day was an AWFUL hire last year and that hasn’t changed.

    1. This season was the 4th-highest combined passer rating for any Ohio State team ever. 1) 2014; 2) 1995; 3) 2006; 4) 2017.

      1. Tony. You and I can pass the football 5 yards at a pop and appear like heroes. We both know that isn’t true. Day cannot coach. Period.

        1. If he can’t coach, why do so many head coaches want him to coach for them?

          1. For a different position, not quarterback coach.

  5. Excellent article. Clearly continuity at the QB coach position is vitally important. One other comment. Nobody knows what Urban Meyer’s offense will be this year because there will be a totally different starting QB. Each of the three QBs you mention have different skills and their skills are different from J T’s skills. So, Coach Meyer may have some rethinking to do especially about those 3rd down plays.

  6. So true! Couldn’t agree more and should be a great battle for them to see who wins the job! And I would suppose it probably win go into the first couple games?? Go Bucks! ???

  7. What difference does it make who is QB coach as long as UFM continues his quest for the next Tim Tebow?

    Sarcasm aside, coaching continuity is important for team success.

  8. I thought that all of Urban’s assistants give a two year commitment when he hires them.

    1. That’s what Urban Meyer wants, but it’s not a contractual obligation.

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