Despite two years of stellar work as Ohio State’s offensive coordinator, there are still some Buckeye fans who don’t trust soon-to-be head coach Ryan Day.
Because he ain’t from here.
Instead, he’s from New Hampshire.
Only two of his 39 years on this earth have been spent in Ohio.
That’s fewer years in Ohio than a 3-year old born in Wapakoneta, and that terrifies some people.
The last time Ohio State went out and grabbed somebody from out of state was John Cooper, who was born in Tenne-freakin’-see, and they all remember what happened during that stretch of time.
Sure, Cooper rebirthed the football program and put it on the trajectory it has enjoyed for 25 years now, but come on, he wasn’t even from here.
Cooper isn’t the only non-local to run into trouble.
Remember Carroll Widdoes? He took over for Paul Brown in 1944 and went 16-2 in his two seasons, but couldn’t handle the pressure and so he stepped down to remain an assistant coach.
You know where he was born? The Philippines.
And Ohio State hasn’t hired a football coach from the Philippines since!
People don’t forget, and these things matter, and Day’s lack of Ohionicity is a worry.
Like, does he even know what to lead with in Euchre if his partner orders up the right bower and he has an off-suit ace?
Does he even know what Euchre is?
What’s his favorite breakfast at Bob Evans, and why does he need a menu?
Does he even own a tractor?
His first time watching The Game was probably the first time he coached in it, right?
Well, not quite.
During the retirement/introductory press conference on Tuesday, I asked Day when he knew he wanted the Ohio State job.
“Probably when I was growing up and watching the Buckeyes play on TV and watching them play The Team Up North,” he said. “I remember being on my grandfather’s couch and watching the game. And just the respect I had for this place, and it was always a dream of mine.”
Wait, he wanted to coach at Ohio State since he was a kid, and he remembers watching games with his grandfather back in New Hampshire?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Transformer.
But at least I was from Ohio, dammit.
Is he even calling soft drinks “pop” yet?
He’s only been in Ohio for two years now. How much can he possibly be appreciatingly-ensconced in the greatest state in the world?
“My family and I have fallen in love with the passion that every fan has for the Buckeyes and what football means to this great state,” he said on Tuesday. “You can feel it on game day during the skull session, during the walk to the stadium, and playing in the Horseshoe on Saturdays.”
That’s all well and good, but what’s your favorite ride at Cedar Point? Do you even have one?
This isn’t just a one-day-a-week thing for people. That’s why we have so many different shirts with the outline of our state on it.
What makes Day think he can handle being Ohio State’s head coach when he probably doesn’t even have the proper appreciation for Jamie Farr?
“Every coach who ever put a whistle around their neck strives to be the head coach at The Ohio State University,” Day said two days ago. “I fully understand the challenges that wait for me. And being on the same list as Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Earle Bruce, John Cooper, Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer, it’s extremely humbling, but I’m prepared and ready for the task.”
And you know he hasn’t spent enough time in Ohio when he said he’s humbled by something.
Humility is a sign of weakness in this state! That’s why we also have shirts that say we are against the entire world. It’s a bit confrontational, admittedly, but at least people know that Ohio isn’t messin’ around.
But you know, if we take a step back and look at Day calmly for a second, maybe there is enough Ohioness there. Even with the lack of years, there has been a full-on immersion into this grand culture of ours.
If we subscribe to the 10,000-hour rule that dictates 10,000 hours of practice in a field makes you an expert in that field, then Ryan Day is absolutely an expert on being an Ohioan, especially with this state having so many damn fields.
Think about it. Say an Ohio State assistant coach sleeps five hours a night, that’s 19 waking hours of being an Ohioan. Day became an expert on day 527. That would have been sometime earlier in the spring.
Perhaps people are off on this whole “not an Ohioan” thing.
Plus, Day has had Urban Meyer there to explain the lay of the land — which is generally pretty flat, but always fertile.
“It didn’t take long for me to figure out what the expectations were of Ohio State football,” Day said this week. “Number one, win the rivalry game. And number two, win every game after that.”
Maybe Ryan Day does understand what being Ohio State’s coach is all about, and maybe he does understand the Michigan rivalry.
Maybe that’s why he had no problem dropping a 60-burger on the Wolverines.
And if that’s not Ohio, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know what is.