Ohio State football coach Ryan Day may give up some play-calling duties

Joey Kaufman
Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson may start calling more plays for Ohio State this season. [Adam Cairns/Dispatch]

As he returned Ohio State to the College Football Playoff in his first season as head coach, Ryan Day retained some old responsibilities.

Day, a former offensive coordinator for the Buckeyes, continued to call plays. He called the bulk of them, he said Wednesday afternoon.

But that might change.

During an end-of-season news conference, Day said he has spoken with offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson about sharing play-calling duties.

“I think there's going to be times where it's going to make more sense for Kevin just to call it,” Day said. “But then I’m also going to be right there, too.”

One reason athletic director Gene Smith tapped Day to replace Urban Meyer in late 2018 was his offensive acumen and strong suit as a play-caller.

The Buckeyes benefited from Day’s continued involvement in 2019, producing the third-highest scoring offense in the nation, an average of 46.9 points that trailed only national champion LSU (48.4) and Alabama (47.2). They ranked fourth in total offense with 529.9 yards per game.

As Day considered some delegation ahead of his second season, he expressed a feeling of comfort with Wilson. They joined Meyer’s staff together in 2017 as co-coordinators.

“Since this whole thing started, we've kind of done it together,” Day said. “We constantly have conversation. And he's got a great feel for calling plays. He's called plays his whole life.”

Wilson, 58, was first an offensive coordinator at North Carolina A&T in 1988.

Day said he plans to have further discussions with Wilson about sharing play-calling.

“I think it would free me up at certain times to go address some other things,” Day said.

Wade moving outside

Shaun Wade will move from slot cornerback upon his return to Ohio State for a fourth season.

After the departures of Damon Arnette, a senior, and Jeff Okudah, who declared early for the NFL draft, Wade will play one of the outside cornerback spots.

Day said he considered Wade’s return of significant value for the secondary.

“We think he should be a Thorpe Award finalist right off the get-go,” Day said. “He's got a chance to be one of the best corners in the country and hopefully a first-round draft pick next year. That's huge for us. We're going to have some younger guys playing back there. So having his experience will be really important.”

Had Wade, who was a third-year sophomore, left early for the NFL, the Buckeyes would have lost all of their starting defensive backs.

Kind words for Yurcich

Day said he “for sure” wanted quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich to remain with the program before he left to become offensive coordinator at Texas.

“If you look at the way Justin (Fields) developed during the season, he did a really great job,” Day said.

Yurcich, who left a day after the season-ending Fiesta Bowl loss, was replaced by Corey Dennis, who was promoted from senior quality control coach.

Day suggested a raise played a role in the departure. Yurcich, who made $950,000 in base salary at Ohio State, will reportedly make $1.7 million at Texas.

“I don't know if it's public the amount of money he was offered to go to Texas,” Day said, “but that's a lot of money that he and his family couldn't pass up.”

Defensive lineman in portal

Alex Williams, a reserve defensive lineman at Ohio State and a Pickerington North graduate, put his name in the NCAA transfer portal, The Dispatch confirmed Wednesday.

In two seasons with the Buckeyes, Williams saw limited playing time, appearing in only six games as he made his college debut this past season. He had redshirted the previous fall.

Williams was not listed on the team’s final three-deep depth chart before the Fiesta Bowl.


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