Ohio State football coach Ryan Day sought continuity at quarterbacks coach

Bill Rabinowitz
Apr 13, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) and coach Corey Dennis during the first half of the Spring Game at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Maintaining quarterback stability on college football rosters is almost impossible these days.

Backups don't want to wait long to get their chance. The position has become a revolving door.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day accepts this, even if he doesn't like it. If you can't have stability at that critical position, at least you can strive to get it with the coach in charge of quarterbacks.

That's a major reason Day hired Corey Dennis as quarterbacks coach after Mike Yurcich left to become offensive coordinator at Texas. Dennis, 27, has served as a senior quality control coach the past two seasons after joining the program as an intern in 2015.

He's best known, though, as former coach Urban Meyer's son-in-law. While Dennis' promotion might raise some eyebrows because of that, the expectation that he will be content to stay in Columbus because of having family here played into the decision.

“I wanted continuity,” Day said Wednesday during his postseason news conference. “So I knew Corey is invested here for a while. That was certainly important.”

What's interesting is that Dennis was all but gone last month to Colorado State as quarterbacks coach under new Rams coach Mike Addazio before Yurcich decided to leave. That would have been Dennis' first job outside of Ohio State after graduating from Georgia Tech.

It's atypical for a program like Ohio State to hire a coach without experience elsewhere, but Day is comfortable with the decision. He isn't looking for someone to reinvent the wheel.

“I think when you're dealing with a quarterback, for me, it has to be done the way that we've done it here,” he said. “And when someone else starts bringing in their different opinions or, 'we read it this way,' we don't have time for that. We know what works here. We have a system in place that's really efficient. We feel strongly that we know how to develop quarterbacks.

“Corey's bought into that and he's going to enhance that.”

He said Dennis has been his right-hand man from the time Day got off the plane after Meyer hired him as quarterbacks coach/offensive co-coordinator after the 2016 season.

“He knows exactly how we teach things,” Day said. “And he's got a tremendous relationship with the quarterbacks here.”

Dennis will be overseeing a room that has a returning star in Justin Fields and some interesting competition behind him. Gunnar Hoak, a graduate transfer from Kentucky, returns after he was unable to beat out fellow graduate transfer Chris Chugunov last year. Chugunov is gone, but the Buckeyes signed two blue-chip recruits in December — C.J. Stroud and Jack Miller — who have already enrolled.

Day will always be heavily involved in coaching quarterbacks. But he learned last year how important it is to delegate and trust his assistants. He does trust Dennis, including as a recruiter.

“I think his eye for talent is really good,” Day said. “He also has a dynamic personality. I think the kids really like him and I think the parents really like him. He's a great husband, a great father and made of the right stuff.”

So instead of looking outside for a quarterbacks coach, Day is putting his faith in Dennis.

“Corey was what I wanted, really,” Day said. “I didn't really spend much time thinking about (alternatives) because I knew that was what we needed right now.”


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