Wednesday was one of the most jam-packed days of interviews on the Ohio State beat that I can remember.
The day started at 9:30 with each of the seven early enrollees — quarterback Justin Fields, running back Marcus Crowley, receiver Garrett Wilson, offensive tackle Ryan Jacoby, defensive ends Noah Potter and Zach Harrison, and safety Ronnie Hickman.
Each of the players sat at individual tables for 30 minutes, answering questions from reporters.
Their first month on campus has been a glimpse into life as a Buckeye, and on Wednesday they received another glimpse with cameras and recorders in their faces as questions rain down on them to the point of repetition.
An hour after the players, we then had our first opportunity to speak with the new assistant coaches — quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich, linebackers coach Al Washington, co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Jeff Hafley, and assistant secondary coach Matt Barnes.
The coaches all talked about why they came to Ohio State, but weren’t ready to reveal any of their plans for the spring or fall because they have yet to see much of their players in any kind of live action.
And then following that hour with the assistant coaches, Ryan Day showed up about an hour later and talked for 45 minutes.
All told, the transcripts on the day came to over 38,000 words, which equates to about 110 pages in your average paperback.
And like any good book, there was a common thread throughout.
Of the seven players, six are true freshmen who signed with Ohio State in December despite the fact that Urban Meyer was leaving.
Why did they stay with Ohio State? Obviously, the University is a draw all its own, but the desire to play for Ryan Day was a familiar refrain.
“I love Coach Day a lot. I’m glad that he’s the head coach,” said freshman offensive tackle Ryan Jacoby.
“I miss Coach Meyer, but that happens. Coach Meyer is a great guy and I’m going to miss him a lot, but Coach Day brings a new face to the program, new opportunities, and a new energy that I think is going to be good for the program. He’s really full of energy. This morning at mat drills he was out there blowing the whistle in everybody’s face and yelling. It’s an awesome atmosphere and energy.”
Justin Fields also came to Ohio State to play for Ryan Day. He didn’t even enter the transfer portal until Urban Meyer had already stepped down.
It wasn’t just the players who were excited about the Buckeyes’ new head coach, however.
In general, it doesn’t usually matter who the head coach is at Ohio State for assistant coaches to want to work there. The University is bigger than any one coach and the history of the OSU football program has its own gravity.
But when it came to putting together this coaching staff, Ryan Day had plenty of pull of his own.
None of the assistant coaches verbally committed to Urban Meyer and then decided to sign with Day. They all came to work with Day and be a part of the Ohio State culture and coach these players.
Wednesday was an introduction to a dozen new Buckeye players and coaches who all chose not just Ohio State, but Ryan Day’s Ohio State.
And they all believe this is the start of something very special.