Ohio State football has a new coach in Ryan Day (as you might have heard).
He took over officially Jan. 2, one day after Urban Meyer led the Buckeyes to a 28-23 victory over Washington in the Rose Bowl.
There’s already been a flurry of activity during Day’s tenure, but what will his first full week on the job bring?
Here’s a look at some things he will want to get done.
1. Figure out who will be on the staff this season.
“That's going to be something that's ever-evolving as we go, and then once the bowl game gets through, we'll figure out what that exactly is going forward,” Day said Dec. 29 before mostly deferring staff questions during Rose Bowl prep.
Day added one member to his staff last week, hiring Mike Yurcich to replace him as quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator, but many more decisions loom.
Four members of Meyer’s 2018 staff have contracts that expire this month — Bill Davis, Greg Schiano, Greg Studrawa and Kevin Wilson — while Larry Johnson, Taver Johnson and Tony Alford have deals that run another year.
Contract status does not necessarily mean a coach is staying or going, though, as we learned when Alex Grinch (who signed a two-year deal last year) accepted the position of defensive coordinator at Oklahoma last week.
Despite his contract status, Wilson said Dec. 30 he expects to be back.
UPDATE: Ohio State announced Monday afternoon Larry Johnson has been promoted to associate head coach while Greg Mattison and Jeff Hafley were hired as co-defensive coordinators.
Day tweeted his thanks to Schiano for his contributions to the program and indicated he will be finding a new job elsewhere.
2. Find some offensive linemen.
Michael Jordan’s announcement he will enter the 2019 NFL draft makes a questionable situation even more precarious for Day’s first Ohio State team.
He will have to replace four starters up front but perhaps more importantly figure out a way to stock the cupboard for the future as soon as possible.
While there is reason for optimism a potential starting group of (left to right) Thayer Munford, Branden Bowen, Josh Myers, Wyatt Davis and Josh Alabi will be able to get the job done, depth is a major question with only six other scholarship linemen on the roster (including two true freshmen).
Finding Ohio State-worthy 2019 prospects who did not sign a letter of intent last month won’t be easy, but the efforts are already underway.
Enokk Vimahi, a four-star offensive lineman from Kahuku, Hawaii, announced Friday he has received an offer from Ohio State. Vimahi’s long list of offers includes Oklahoma, USC, Nebraska, Washington and Notre Dame according to 247Sports.
3. Formulate a plan for a quarterback competition.
With Dwayne Haskins announcing he will enter the NFL draft, Day will have to pick a new starting quarterback from a group that includes Tate Martell, Justin Fields, Matthew Baldwin and Chris Chugunov.
Fields, a former five-star prospects who spent last season at Georgia, will be fighting on dual fronts to get on the field this fall. He must win a waiver from the NCAA to be eligible (rather than sit out a year), and he must beat out Martell to win the starting job if the former effort is successful.
Martell has promised he will not go down without a fight, and already having two years in the system figures to be an advantage.
Also hoping to join the mix will be Baldwin, who redshirted in 2018 while recovering from a knee injury that ended his high school career, and West Virginia transfer Chugunov.
4. Evaluate the 2020 recruiting class in Ohio.
Day wasn’t even officially the coach yet when he fielded his first question about recruiting Ohio. It’s a rite of passage that goes back at least to the 1990s when John Cooper expanded the recruiting to a true national scope.
“It’s always a priority, so we want to make sure that in the next class that’s a huge emphasis, as well,” Day said on National Signing Day in December. “But we’re recruiting the kids from Ohio harder than anybody in the country, and it’s going to continue to be a priority.”
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Prioritizing in-state kids is one thing, but holding off other Power 5 programs is another.
Meyer often lamented how early his competitors offered Ohio prospects before his staff was certain or not if they were Buckeye material — or perhaps more accurately, better than various national prospects who were strongly considering Ohio State.
That will continue to be a dilemma for anyone coaching in Columbus, but the earlier Day and his staff begin digging on players in their backyard, the more comfortable they might feel getting in early on some of the state’s prospects.
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Despite Cooper’s reputation, 59.5 percent of his signees were from Ohio.
His successor, Jim Tressel, signed 60.4 percent Ohioans while Meyer’s recruiting classes from 2012-2018 came in at 46.3 percent in-state.
5. Decorate his office.
All work and no play make for a dull day, right?
Taking some time to put that personal touch on his new work man cave could provide a nice diversion from the chaos that comes from college football’s never-ending news cycle.
“I got a lot of stuff on Christmas,” he said. ”Family members gave me a lot of stuff. A lot of things for Buckeyes, when they come in there, recruits, they can see. I'll build it up as we go.”
So rearrange chairs, move that desk if you must and find the right place for every picture, Ryan— you never know when that phone is going to star buzzing again.
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