No, the offensive coaches’ meeting room at Ohio State does not include a game of musical chairs every morning in which Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day scramble for the seat at the head of the table.
“We’re sitting in the same ones we did last year,” Wilson said the other day with a slight grin.
The query was appropriate, though. In January, in a move to keep Day from leaving for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, coach Urban Meyer took the “co-” off of his one-year run as co-coordinator.
Meyer left it understood that Wilson — the former Indiana coach who also joined the staff a year ago — would also continue as coordinator for an offense that was at or near the top of the Big Ten last season in several major statistical categories.
The reaction from the media and fans, was … What? Two offensive coordinators? How is that going to work?
“They're the same role,” Meyer reiterated last week. “The exact mechanisms (of play-calling) that take place on game day, we're still working through it. But as far as what we're doing, there is zero change.
“Ryan was a coordinator last year. So the whole thing was I took the title off of him, co-coordinator, because … both of them work very well together. I've done that many, many times. It was like when Chris Ash and Luke (Fickell were defensive coordinators), and then Greg (Schiano) and Luke, and then at Florida I did the same thing on defense a couple times.”
With his offensive assistants now, Meyer said there is a “hierarchy.” But what is it?
“That's for me to know,” he said. “Within the staff it's very clear (to) the people that need to know.”
He likes to have two people involved at the top on both sides of the ball for continuity in case one moves on. Ash and Fickell left Ohio State to become head coaches at Rutgers and Cincinnati, respectively, while Schiano, despite some offseason interest, remains as defensive coordinator.
As for Day, Meyer didn’t want to lose him after just one year. Now Day, who made $400,000 in 2017, has a three-year contract, and it’s starting at $1 million this year. Wilson gained a $150,000 boost to $800,000 and has a one-year contract.
Though Meyer demands a collaborative approach within the meeting room, he sees the coaches as individuals when it comes to contracts.
Of the three-year deal for Day, Meyer said, “He’s an excellent coach, one of the better ones I've had. We can't get into that rotating door. I've always asked for at least two years, then we'll have a conversation. So I would expect him to stay because that's what he told me he would do.”
Day, with young children, had moved his family over four years from Boston College to the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles to the San Francisco 49ers before coming to Ohio State. When new Titans coach Mike Vrabel, a former Ohio State star and assistant coach, offered to make Day his offensive coordinator, Day decided that staying in one place for a while was more appealing, especially after Meyer upped the ante.
“There's unfinished business here,” said Day, also the quarterbacks coach. “We didn't win the whole thing (last season). And I didn't come here to win the Big Ten. I came here to win a national championship. … Growing up, that's what I wanted to do, I wanted to get to a place where I can win a national championship.
“I'm here, so now I'm gonna leave? No, I'm not doing that.”
But how’s the play-calling going to work? In short, even he said, that point is moot.