Quinshon Judkins Ohio State Buckeyes Running Back

Ryan Day Enjoying His Stint As Buckeyes Running Backs Coach

It’s not every day that the Buckeyes lose a position coach in the middle of spring practice.

In fact, it’s an incredible rarity. But that’s where Ohio State head coach Ryan Day found himself when OSU running backs coach Tony Alford decided last week to accept the same position at the University of Michigan.

It’s one thing to lose a coach. It’s another thing entirely to lose that coach to your rival. But Day and the Buckeyes can’t cry over spilled milk and steak, they have practice to worry about.

Speaking about the situation for the first time since the news broke, Day said he was made aware of Alford’s decision last week, but that he has a good list of candidates and there is no hurry.

“Yeah, was made aware last week, and so now we’re into the process of identifying replacements,” he said. “Excited about the group that we’ve already identified and we’re gonna be thorough in the process. I think the good news is we’re not in a situation where we have to make a quick decision based on recruiting or the portal or anything like that.”

Any time there is a coaching change, the players at that position immediately come to mind. For many players, position coaches become parental figures who have been with them for years. It can be a jarring experience.

Day has made the Ohio State running backs a priority during this change, and will continue to allow them to take ownership of the position room.

“So I talked to the the running backs, they’re great. They’re actually going to be part of the process,” he said. “I’d like for the part of the interview process for the running backs to meet the candidates. Obviously, ultimately, I’ll make the decision and [offensive coordinator] Chip [Kelly] will be a huge part of it, but the input of the running backs will be important as well. But they’ve been great.”

In Alford’s absence, the running back coaching duties have fallen upon Day himself. It’s the first time he’s coached the position. In fact, it’s the first time he’s coached a position other than quarterback in 20 years. But he was out there with the backs for their first practice back from spring break.

“It was actually fun that I took the running backs and coached them out there today,” Day said. “So that was fun. And we had a really good practice.”

Day has also taken over in the Buckeyes’ running backs room, going over film. Though he did admit that maybe he was getting a little too in depth. But there was also a method to his madness.

“It’s been awesome. It’s been great,” he said. “Yeah, we went in there and put up the first play. And the first play, I think I went on for 20 minutes on one play. I think some of the guys are looking around like, ‘Oh, boy.’ But it was great. It’s gonna be good for them to see it through the eyes of a quarterback. I think it’s really good for them in the passing game. I think it’s really good for them overall to understand from a higher view on things. So we’ve had great meetings with a very intelligent group in that room. They’re really good. They’re diligent about taking notes.”

Day’s search has already led to Alabama and Oklahoma giving raises to their running backs coaches in order to keep the Buckeyes at bay. The prospective list of coaches will continue to be evaluated.

Ohio State has five scholarship running backs on the roster right now, including veterans TreVeyon Henderson, Quinshon Judkins, and Dallan Hayden. Together, the trio has over 6,000 career yards rushing.

Day may not know yet who he will be hiring, but he does know that whoever ends up with the job is going to have plenty to work with.

“I think it’s the best running back room in the country,” Day said. “So whoever we hire is going to have an unbelievable opportunity and a great group of guys.”

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