There is a little bit of irony in Ryan Day gaining full control of the Ohio State football program, but as the head coach, having to give up quite a bit of control when it comes to coaching quarterbacks and possibly calling the plays.
A head coach has to be concerned about the entire team, and the program itself.
Is the recruiting department in need? Is the nutritionist keeping up with the latest science? Is Mickey Marotti running out of sweats?
Ryan Day can no longer lock himself in the quarterbacks room and let the world pass him by.
That job now belongs to new quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Mike Yurcich.
A former quarterback himself, Day has spent years studying the position in order to better coach it. As the head coach now, however, his time will be split in many directions.
But he will always make time for the quarterbacks.
“I’m still going to be involved with the quarterbacks a good amount,” he said recently. “I obviously won’t have as much time as I had in the past. And I do love that. Having the feel for the quarterbacks in terms of what they’ve seen, what they’ve practiced, what they know, what they’re experiencing on a day-to-day basis kind of keeps you in tune with the offense, because the offense goes as the quarterback goes.
“But I’m going to do a really good job of making sure that I am in those meetings and I am a part of it and that I do have a good feel for what the quarterbacks experience.”
Day’s first two years at Ohio State produced quarterback records every step of the way, as well as an offense that scored at least 45 points in half of his games as an offensive coordinator.
Clearly, he was productive as a playcaller this past season, which begs the question of whether he will continue in that role even as head coach. Kevin Wilson is still on staff as an offensive coordinator and is widely regarded as a tremendous playcaller. Yurcich has also been pretty effective calling plays at Oklahoma State.
“It’s something we’re still going to work through and figure that out,” Day said. “I still want to have a heavy hand in the offense. I think the guys on offense are really excited and there’s a lot of energy and positive momentum on our side of the ball. I want to keep that going.”
It isn’t unheard of having a head coach call plays on offense or defense, and it is those past (and current) examples of how to do it that Day will take a closer look at.
“You look at different models that people have used over the years,” he said. “And a lot of it has to do with as we move forward, kind of the positions that some of the coaches take on and the responsibilities as we go. But I think there are a lot of models out there that work. Obviously at Oklahoma and Notre Dame, and obviously I use Chip Kelly as a guy I go to a lot. He’s made it work that way. So all conversations will be had moving forward.”