Why now? Why is Ohio State head coach Ryan Day thinking of giving up play calling duties? Especially after a season where the Buckeyes finished second in the nation in scoring at 44.2 points per game.
Of all of the issues with the OSU football program — and there aren’t many — why does Day view this as a possibility?
The Buckeyes have averaged over 40 points a game for an entire season just nine times in school history. Ryan Day’s offenses account for six of those nine seasons. He’s done it every year he’s called plays at Ohio State.
Despite the annual successes on offense, Day isn’t just the head coach of the Buckeye offense. He’s the head coach of the entire program, which now requires more hats to be worn than you can find at your local haberdashery.
“I think when you, year after year, you sit down and you evaluate everything in the program, and certainly evaluate where college football is, and the demands of the job the way it is now, as opposed to two years ago, or four years ago when we started, but I’d have to look at time management,” Day explained last week.
“I think that during the season, or during the offseason, no problem at all. Beginning of the season, you know, pretty good. As we get to the middle of the season, end of the season, I feel like there’s times where I have to manage my time a little bit better and make sure that as the head coach I have enough presence going around the building late in the season.”
The Times They Are A-Changing
That’s not just about game management, even while keeping an eye on the defense and special teams. It’s also culture management in the locker room and the football facilities. It’s recruiting your own players year-round. And it’s navigating the NIL landscape and whatever else is coming down the tracks.
The game is more complicated than ever, on and off the field, so it requires a more attentive head coach.
“You just have to every year take a look at it and you figure out how can I get better,” Day said. “And I think that that’s something that I’d like to be able to do more and be stronger at the end of the season. When you’re so caught up with the weeds of what’s third-and-four and fourth-and-two and in the red zone and those type of things, it can pull you away from that a little bit. So not saying that it won’t happen that way, but just want to make sure that I’m thoughtful about that and make sure that I’m strong in that area and then doing my part.”
It Ain’t Me Babe
Day has been a rarity as a head coach who calls plays. Almost every head coach who calls plays on one side of the ball or the other eventually relinquishes control because of the demands of the rest of the job. Day hasn’t fully committed to giving them up, but he has committed to trying.
Newly promoted offensive coordinator Brian Hartline arrived at Ohio State about a month before Day, and he has risen the ranks quickly with OSU only being the first place he’s ever coached.
It has been that excellent execution of assignments that has Hartline in line to take over for Day as the Buckeyes’ play caller. Provided things go well the next couple of months.
“Yeah, what we’re gonna do is go through the spring, I talked to Brian about that and create some environments,” Day explained. “Have an opportunity for Brian to call it and then we’ll we’ll come up for air at the end of the spring and figure out what that dynamic looks like going into the preseason. So we won’t decide on any of that now, but certainly give him an opportunity to call it this spring and and see how that goes.”