LOS ANGELES — For now, Greg Schiano’s focus is on winning the Rose Bowl.
Anything else, such as his future with Ohio State, will wait to be resolved.
With offensive coordinator Ryan Day taking over as head coach for the retiring Urban Meyer after Ohio State plays Washington on Tuesday, there has been plenty of speculation about whether Schiano would return next season. The Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator didn’t do much on Thursday to dispel the notion that he is likely to be elsewhere.
“I love being here,” Schiano said. “My family loves being here. But anytime there is a coaching change, whether it’s internal or not, the head coach has to select the staff that he feels gives the team the best chance to win.
“Whatever coach Day decides to do is certainly his prerogative. Right now, I’m concerned with one thing and that’s winning the Rose Bowl.”
Schiano said he and Day have had discussions about his future, but Schiano did not want to provide specifics.
“I’m going to keep that all private,” Schiano said.
It has not been the best season for the Buckeyes’ defense. It is on pace to be the most porous in Ohio State history in terms of yards allowed per game (400.3) and points per game (25.7). Some of that can be attributed to the explosive offenses seen in college football. But Ohio State breakdowns allowing big plays have been a season-long issue.
As coordinator, Schiano accepts the responsibility. He said that the defense made game-changing plays in the team’s biggest wins, but those don’t erase the deficiencies.
“I think process is critical,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we’re in a performance-based business, and our performance wasn’t what it needed to be.
“You’re not allowed to take skip-its. You’re not allowed to take years where you don’t play great defense at Ohio State. That’s not the way it works.”
When Meyer was placed on administrative leave just before training camp, it was a surprise that Day, not Schiano, was named acting coach. After all, Schiano had been a successful head coach at Rutgers and coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two years.
Day has been consistently complimentary about Schiano’s assistance during that difficult period, though he has been noncommittal when asked about his future coaching staff.
Schiano, 52, was set to be hired as the University of Tennessee coach after the 2017 season before a backlash among some Volunteers fans scuttled that. After that fiasco, the NFL might appear to be Schiano’s best career path if he doesn’t stay at Ohio State.
“I'm not going to get into all that today,” Schiano said. “This is about the Rose Bowl game. That’s our goal, to win the Rose Bowl. So I’m going to stick to that.”
He reportedly was offered the defensive coordinator job with the New England Patriots in February but turned it down to remain with Meyer, a longtime friend. Schiano had been out of coaching for two years before Meyer hired him in December 2015.