Following a Legend
Just so you’re aware, Ryan Day is not Urban Meyer.
Now that you know that, we can begin discussing how the two are different.
Just don’t expect Day to be participating in that conversation. He’s too busy being Ryan Day.
“I think the easy thing to do is to ask how are you different than Urban Meyer, and that’s not something I really like to answer because first off, you don’t replace a legend,” Day said last week at Big Ten Mediay Days.
“You don’t replace one of the best football coaches in the history of the game. What you can do is just be yourself, and I think that’s what I’m doing, and focusing on what we call tough love, tough is being tough, being tough on the field, and with our strength and conditioning program being the backbone of our program, they have to be tough.”
When you do replace a legend, if you think too much about it, you can lose yourself in the shoes you are filling.
That’s why Day is only concerned with the task at hand and creating a team that is tough enough to handle the rigors of the season ahead.
“Our guys gotta be — it’s a tough game. We’ve got to make tough decisions,” he said. “Leadership is tough, challenging your teammate. But then also love, love for your brother and creating those bonds with your coach, creating those bonds with your teammates, because that’s the ultimate motivator in my opinion. Those are the things we’ve been preaching to our team, and I think there’s a lot of energy and positivity around the program.”
Iron Sharpening Iron
The mantra of iron sharpening iron is used all over the place in sports, and perhaps no place is it more accurate than with wide receivers and cornerbacks.
These are arguably the two most athletic positions on the football field, locked in a constant one-on-one battle. It’s sink or swim to the nth degree.
This sharpening process has worked well at Ohio State, where receivers and cornerbacks are drafted every single year.
It continues this year, where the Buckeyes are deep at receiver and have several talented and crafty cornerbacks.
At Big Ten Media Days last week, OSU fifth-year senior receiver KJ Hill was asked who his toughest matchup on the Ohio State defense is, and he didn’t take long to answer.
“I want to go against everybody that’s the best,” he said. “But the toughest player from my position is Damon Arnette. Me and him came in together. We’ve always been going against each other since we came in. That’s in the circle drill, one-on-ones, tackle drill, anything.
“Because I’m a receiver, he’s a cornerback, so we know each other’s games. He’s aggressive, I’m aggressive, he’s a strong guy, I’m a strong guy. So I feel like iron sharpens iron and we get better by going against each other.”
Coop Knows Selling
Thirty years ago, Ohio State had a John Cooper who was in plenty of commercials.
Today, the Buckeyes have a Jonathon Cooper who would love to do the same.
This, of course, is a problem because the NCAA does not permit players to make money off of their likenesses or by being spokespeople for a product or service.
There has been considerable talk about progressing forward to the point of allowing players to make money off of their likenesses, which OSU’s current Cooper thinks would be a positive change for college athletes.
“We should, we really should. I don’t think it’s fair,” he said. “That’s a whole ‘nother debate. For an example, Zion Williamson. You have a guy like that playing with Duke and he doesn’t get anything. It’s his name and it’s his likeness.”
So if a Columbus car dealer came to Cooper and asked him to appear in a commercial, how does he think he would do?
“I think I would do really well,” he said. “I feel like I can sell you anything. I can sell you a car.”
Cooper is definitely one of the more easy-going, happy-go-lucky Buckeyes on this team, but if you polled the Ohio State beat about other possible salesmen, plenty would mention senior nose tackle Robert “BB” Landers as well.
In other words, even if the NCAA would allow it, Cooper would still have some competition when it comes to selling those cars.
Or maybe not.
“BB will have to get his own gig,” Cooper said, surrounded by reporters and cameras. “I hope he watches this. He can’t outsell me.”