Ryan Day at Ohio State after two seasons in the NFL
Ryan Day has worked with the likes of Matt Ryan, Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert and Sam Bradford. His most important pupil in 2017 in his first season on the job as the quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator for the Ohio State Buckeyes is J.T. Barrett.
Day has NFL experience. Barrett behaves like a professional quarterback, the result of spending the last four seasons in a program that prepares players for the next level. It’s a match the Buckeyes hope leads to big things for the offense in the fall.
“He’s been an impressive kid ever since I’ve been here,” Day said Tuesday after Ohio State’s third spring practice. “I’ve been impressed by the way he’s gone about his business. It’s like dealing with a pro. When you show up to work every day, you better be prepared, and you better give him a good plan.”
Urban Meyer hired Day in January to replace Tim Beck, who left Ohio State to become offensive coordinator at Texas under former Ohio State quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Tom Herman.
Day is the third quarterbacks coach Barrett has had in his five seasons. He’s the first with NFL experience. He coached quarterbacks with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015 and with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.
Day first crossed paths with Meyer in 2005 as a graduate assistant at Florida. Meyer was the head coach. Dan Mullen, who’s from Day’s hometown, Manchester, N.H., was the offensive coordinator.
When Meyer called Day about the job opening in January, he didn’t hesitate to take it.
“I would have walked here,” Day said. “It’s a great place to be.”
With the job comes the pressure of helping Ohio State’s offense regain the form it had when Barrett was a redshirt freshman in 2014. That offense was good enough to keep humming when Barrett broke his ankle in the regular-season finale against Michigan. Cardale Jones took over and guided the Buckeyes to a national championship.
The Buckeyes have lacked the explosive plays that marked that championship run in the last two seasons. Barrett threw for 196.5 yards per game last season. The offense averaged 6.8 yards per pass. In 2014, Barrett averaged 236.2 passing yards per game. Ohio State averaged 9.1 yards per pass.
Improving that part of the offense is a goal this spring, Day said.
“Obviously when you complete the deep ball, it changes everything,” Day said. “It’s not just the quarterback. It’s not just the receiver. It’s everyone involved. When you can be explosive in the pass game, it makes a huge difference.”
Day has worked with Barrett on improving his footwork and throwing from the pocket. He said Barrett is excellent with the play-action pass.
“From when I got here until now, the best thing he does is play the game,” Day said. “Today’s practice when we got out here and started playing, he’s moving the team up and down the field. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing as a quarterback, reading the other 10 guys on the field and moving the team down to score points.”