ARLINGTON, Texas — Since he was appointed acting head coach Aug. 1, Ryan Day has had little time to reflect on his unexpected ascension.
After Ohio State’s 40-28 victory over TCU in his final game before Urban Meyer returns full-time from a three-game suspension, Day acknowledged satisfaction that he’d gotten through the month and a half pretty smoothly.Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
“I do feel a little bit of relief right now after that game and the past few weeks,” he said.
It can’t be easy for someone who’s never been a head coach to fill in for a coach who’s won three national championships and be elevated over former head coaches on the staff.
“I’ve just been trying to get the quarterbacks better and help the offense as best we can, and when Coach isn’t here keep the thing going,” Day said. “Obviously, we get him back tomorrow, and we’re fired up about that. Our goal was to get to 3-0 so when coach got back, we were 3-0.”
>> See 100 photos from Ohio State's win over TCU
As he did throughout his stint as temporary head coach, Day credited the culture Meyer has instilled in the program for helping him steer the team through the adversity it has endured.
“It’s gotten us through these first three games and through preseason,” Day said. “The players who’ve been recruited here and the coaches who are here have kept this thing going. I’m just humbled to be a part of such a great tradition.”
Day even noted the crowd at AT&T Stadium, which was dominated by Buckeyes fans despite the proximity of TCU.
“I couldn’t believe all the people who’ve traveled,” he said.
Day thanked Kevin Wilson, who shares the offensive coordinator title with him. He was even more effusive about defensive coordinator Greg Schiano. It was a surprise when neither Wilson (the former Indiana coach) nor Schiano (Rutgers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) was selected as acting coach instead of Day.
“What Greg Schiano has done for me in the last month is something I’ll never forget,” Day said. “He’s the classiest person I’ve ever been around in the coaching profession the way he’s handled himself, helping me along the way, counseling me on day-to-day stuff. The way the defense played, I couldn’t have been happier to day for him and that defense.”
Day, 39, was courted after last season before electing to stay at Ohio State and receive a promotion from co-coordinator and a major bump in pay. The way he handled his stint as acting head coach will only make him more in demand.
But when he was jokingly asked if he’d be content to retire as a head coach with his undefeated record, he laughed.
“Sure,” he said.