Moving On To A New Day
Urban Meyer is stepping down as Ohio State’s head coach after the Rose Bowl, and will be replaced by offensive coordinator Ryan Day. Newly hired North Carolina head coach Mack Brown said Meyer called him, and said his health is the sole reason he is resigning. Meyer had surgery for an arachnoid cyst on his brain in 2014. While it is well known he battled headaches this season, he said he began having problems in 2017. It was around last season’s Penn State game when he first began to think of stepping away. By his own admission his coaching style is intense, and says he tried to delegate more this year. But, he was not happy with the results, and became much more hands on again. His health problems will not allow him to continue to coach in the way he feels he must in order to be successful. He does acknowledged the issues he dealt with in August (the Courtney Smith/Brett McMurphy garbage) had an impact on the situation.
We all know the success the Buckeye football program has seen in Meyer’s time, so I won’t go into it all. I think the national championship in 2014, and the 7-0 record against Michigan are the ones that jump out. He took Ohio State to the top of the college football world, and made it one of the top three programs in the country. Part of the reason for the ascension is because he greatly expanded the program’s recruiting philosophy from Ohio-centric to a national one. Because of that change in recruiting philosophy the other schools in the Big Ten had to follow that model if they wanted to keep up. There is a lot of speculation about whether he will coach again. At the press conference today he said, “I believe I will not coach again.”
Meyer wanted to make sure the program was being handed off to someone who would be able to continue with what he’d built. Athletic Director Gene Smith said he considered a national search, but feels they have a coach in Day who will continue with the stability and consistency the program has. Maintaining that stability and consistency will be helped by some key off-the-field people deciding to stay with the Buckeyes. Strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti, and recruiting coordinator Mark Pantoni are the two biggest names who are staying. Meyer said Day is elite, and made his decision less difficult. Day said Meyer isn’t going to go away and not be heard from again. He plans on using the former head coach as a resource, and can have whatever role in the program he wants to take on. The 39-year old New Hampshire native was a graduate assistant under Meyer at Florida in 2005. He was offensive coordinator at Temple, and Boston College before moving on to the NFL where he was the quarterbacks coach for the Eagles, and 49ers before being hired by Meyer in Columbus.
I really like this hire. Day is one of the hottest young coaches in football, and if the Buckeyes , and didn’t take him, another school assuredly was going to knock on his door, and offer a pile of money. He turned down Mississippi State last year, and I’m happy we’re not going to have to sweat out possibly losing him after this season. I think Day is an outstanding play caller, and does a great job of finding the best ways to utilize his weapons. The mesh passing concept (two receivers run shallow crossing routes, while the outside receiver runs a curl to the middle of the defense), and jet sweep to Parris Campbell are just two examples of how Day designed things to take advantage of the skillsets of some of his players. He said he intends to adapt to the offensive personnel each season, and they will continue to be aggressive on defense. Those who have dealt with Day say recruits love him, and he’ll have no problem continuing to recruit at the high level Buckeye fans became used to under Meyer. Some in the current crop of commitments for 2019 have already said they still have every intention of becoming Buckeyes. So far the only decommitment they’ve had is Class of 2020 recruit Lejond Cavazos, a defensive back. Day said he will evaluate the coaching staff after the Rose Bowl. His contract is for five years.
And Then There Were Three
Dwayne Haskins has quite deservingly been invited to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York this Saturday. He, along with Alabama’s Tuo Tagovailoa, and Kyler Murray of Oklahoma make up the three finalists. Haskins’ chances may be hurt by the nearly ten percent of the ballots that were returned before the conference championship games. But, he finished strong, and I’m sure swayed a few voters in his direction with his performances against Michigan and Northwestern.
I know a lot of Buckeye fans are upset by Meyer’s departure, and have visions of the program sliding backwards. I think quarterback Tate Martell put it best on Twitter when he wrote, “Everything’s gonna be alright.” Yeah, I have to say I very much agree.