Today’s Topic: What Is Jeff Hafley Bringing to the College Game?
When Ryan Day hired Jeff Hafley as his co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach last month, most Buckeye fans were probably asking, “Who?”
Hafley wasn’t known in the college game, as he has spent the past seven years in the NFL coaching defensive backs.
Day knew Hafley, of course, having worked with him in San Francisco with the 49ers.
And as Day showed over his first two seasons at Ohio State, the NFL is a pretty good proving ground for college coaches.
One of the things that Ryan Day said about his own time in the NFL is that all you have is time. The players’ union has limited the amount of hours that players can do football activities, but the only limits for coaches are physical.
During his time in the NFL, Day studied quarterbacks and offenses, and it made him a better coach. He brought back plays, plans, lessons, and insight, so it isn’t a surprise he went to the NFL looking for the same kind of thing on the defensive side of the ball.
When asked asked what he wants to bring to the college game, Jeff Hafley’s answer was right in Ryan Day’s wheelhouse.
“It’s a good question, too,” Hafley said. “The biggest thing is if you look at it, for the last seven years I’ve coached 140 games, right, so I’ve gotten ready for 140 games in seven years. In the off-season there’s no recruiting, so today instead of doing this, I’d be in my office just studying tape all day in the offseason. The players can’t even be in until April, so every off-season for seven years I studied tape and I learned, and I feel like that education, that knowledge — I’ve had some scars. I’ve gotten beat on things by trial and error, but I think that has really allowed me to become a better football coach.”
Hafley will still have to get back into stride as a recruiter, and if Day had any doubts about those abilities, he would have never been hired.
Confident in Hafley’s ability to land recruits, Day went out and hired a coach who has spent his time preparing for this opportunity while also learning some of the best lessons in the sport.
“I think the best thing that ever happened to me was I had the opportunity to go to the National Football League and just study football for seven years,” Hafley said. “Because now I feel like I’ve seen a lot, and I think that will help.”