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Scarlet Sunrise: Ryan Day reflects on giving up play-calling this offseason

IMG_7408by:Andy Backstrom07/09/24


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Ryan Day reflects on giving up play-calling this offseason

In the latest episode of “Big Noon Conversations,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day sat down with FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt to discuss the pressure and expectations surrounding a much-anticipated 2024 season in Columbus.

Along the way, Day reflected on his decision to give up play-calling this offseason, a decision he had been weighing since the 2022 season.

“You’re constantly chasing this 1 or 2%,” he said, via FOX Sports. “And the last couple of years, it’s been a drive, it’s been a play. You’ve got to identify the things that are working really well and enhance those. But then identifying and being accurate about the things that you need to improve and then being self aware enough to make those decisions.

“I think as you move up, you got to give up. That wasn’t easy for me, but I feel like the time is right now, with the transfer portal, with NIL, there’s more and more energy and time that needs to be focused on the players in those areas. I also think that it’s going to allow me the opportunity to be more present with the team, especially later in the season.”

Day referenced an interview he saw with legendary basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, who led Duke to five national championships and USA Basketball to three gold medals. “Coach K” said the difference between his great teams and championship teams came down to one play, according to Day, who noted how that line hit him right between the eyes.

“Because that’s kind of how it’s been the last couple of years,” Day added.

Ohio State found itself marching on eventual national champion Michigan last season before a potential game-winning drive came to a halt with a game-ending interception. The year before that, the Buckeyes might have been a kick away from a national championship — a hooked potential game-winning, 50-yard field goal against Georgia cost Ohio State a trip to the College Football Playoff final. Turn back the clock to 2019, and another game-ending interception spoiled what could have been a game-winning drive against Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl CFP semifinal.

Day brought up a book he’s read recently, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, a researcher, author and speaker who writes on why some companies make the jump and others don’t.

“One of the biggest things in that is getting the right people in the right seats,” Day said. “And so it started with our players coming back. It started with those guys coming back. And then it went to adding a few guys from the portal. And then it was with the coaches.

“We’re counting on that to make a difference next year.”

Ohio State returned 11 starter-level and draft-eligible players this offseason while adding seven scholarship transfers, not to mention a handful of key coaching staff moves Day made, the most notable of which was the hiring of Chip Kelly as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Kelly left his post as UCLA head coach to reunite with Day, who played for and then coached with Kelly at the University of New Hampshire before eventually serving as Kelly’s QBs coach in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers from 2015-16.

Now Kelly is technically working under Day in his first OC role since 2008. Kelly is taking over play-calling and will put his spin on Day’s offensive system.

“I don’t think it’ll look drastically different maybe just to someone watching the game, but you’ll see schematically some different things,” Day said. “Chip’s history of running the ball speaks for itself. And we got some really good running backs. He’s creative in what he does. What we’ve done passing the ball here kind of speaks for itself, [too]. And so I think there’ll be a combination of those things.”

Day later continued: “The tough part was [Chip] came in right before spring started. So we just kind of got it started, got it going, put the base things in, got some fundamentals down, focused on techniques and those things. And I think now the next couple of months, we’re really going to dig into what the install looks like going into preseason.”

As hard as giving up play-calling was for Day, there probably isn’t a better recipient of those duties at Ohio State than Kelly, who Day has known since childhood.

Buckeye Bits: Dissecting latest On3 rankings update, latest intel on David Sanders Jr.

Ohio State recruiting is still the talk of the town in Columbus. An up-and-down stretch saw the Buckeyes land a commitment from defensive tackle Maxwell Roy, then miss on three priority targets — cornerback Dorian Brew, EDGE Justin Hill and wide receiver Dakorien Moore — then get a pledge from linebacker Riley Pettijohn.

Now with 23 commits, including 16 in the new On300, Ohio State still has the top-rated 2025 recruiting class in the country, according to the On3 Industry Ranking.

Lettermen Row has the latest intel on the blossoming class, plus a breakdown of the network’s recruiting rankings update.

Check it out here.


‘He’s a warrior’: Battle-tested Lathan Ransom back to take one more crack at Michigan, national title

After suffering the second serious injury of his Ohio State career and missing The Game last year, safety Lathan Ransom is back for his fifth and final season to get one more crack at Michigan and a national title.

“He’s a guy who’s the heartbeat of that [safety] room and has been through hardship before and continues to battle back,” Buckeyes safeties coach Matt Guerrieri said earlier this offseason.

“He’s a warrior.”

For the full story, go here.

Counting Down

Buckeyes vs. Akron: 53 days
Buckeyes vs. Michigan: 144 days

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