Ohio State’s Ryan Day still trying to finalize coaching staff

COLUMBUS — Ryan Day’s Ohio State football staff remains in flux a month before the start of spring football.

The head coach said Wednesday his new offensive coordinator, Bill O’Brien, is still on the job, but it remains to be seen how long that is the case.

According to multiple reports, O’Brien is a candidate for the head coaching position at Boston College.

His accepting that position could set off a potential chain reaction at Ohio State.

Day’s hope entering the offseason was to hire an offensive coordinator to take over play-calling.

Day sees the need to relinquish those duties in favor of having more time to manage the program overall, but he said Wednesday he will not do it if he does not have someone he feels comfortable handling the job.

“At the end of the season, you look hard at what kind of changes need to be made, and as you know at Ohio State we’re chasing that one or two percent,” Day said. “We’re chasing that last couple drives of a game or whatever that is, and I felt like in that particular situation for me to really be able to hand over a lot of the duties that I was doing I really was looking for somebody who had a great background in the NFL, the SEC.”

A 10th spot on the coaching staff remains open regardless of what O’Brien does, and what Day does with that will depend on what happens with the offensive coordinator position.

“We have some flexibility there. We’ve had multiple conversations, and I think we could go in a couple of different directions, but we’re still not ready to make a decision.”

Day indicated if O’Brien leaves, he would like to replace him with another person who could take over the offense, but he will not try to put a square peg in a round hole.

“It has to be the right person, and after spending a lot of time on it, I felt like Bill was the right guy,” Day said. “Now if something would change, then we’ll adjust from there, but that was something I spent a lot of time on to make sure that was right.”

The other spot on the coaching staff could then be a position coach while Day also picks up some special teams duties, but if Day remains heavily involved in calling plays and planning the offense during the week, he might feel the need to hire another full-time special teams coach.

“How much will it affect the day to day? That goes back to how much will I be involved with special teams based on the offensive coordinator role, so that will affect a little bit about that position, but in game I feel like when you’re calling the game you have an idea of should you go for it on fourth and 2? Well, do you have a good play?” Day said.

“I feel like when you’re calling the game, you’re a little more in control of the situation. You know what’s going on. If you don’t like the look, you can call timeout. But I do think having somebody else call the game will allow me to step back and see things from a wider lens.”

Ironically, the limbo Ohio State finds itself in came from Jeff Hafley’s decision to leave Boston College to become the defensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers.

Hafley also left Day and the Buckeyes in the lurch four years ago when he left OSU to for BC after one very successful year as co-defensive coordinator on Day’s first staff.

“It was not good,” Day said with an exasperated laugh. “But I spoke to Jeff and happy for him that he’s got a new challenge ahead of him, but yeah that was a curveball we were not expecting.”

James Laurinaitis is a candidate to become the 10th assistant after serving as a graduate assistant the past year, though Laurinaitis could remain as a GA for another year if that position would be better served in another way.

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