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Report: Coaching Changes Coming to Ryan Day's Staff



The Buckeyes enter the 2024 season yet again, losing the season's last two games. Losing to the team up north and not winning their bowl game. This off-season reminds me of a very important off-season that led to Ryan Day moving his family to Columbus, Ohio, and taking over the reins of play-calling which was in 2016 when Ohio State was shutout in the Fiesta Bowl by Clemson 31-0. That may have been the most crucial turn of events under Urban Meyer, where in his post-game press conference Urban Meyer stated, "We will become a better passing team, we will improve this team." A few weeks later, entered Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson. Can Ryan Day make an impact hire, of coaches that will change the future seasons of Ohio State football as we know it?


For Ryan Day, give credit where credit is due, went out and hired Jim Knowles two seasons ago and that hire has changed the Buckeye's defense into an elite defense. With that hiring of Knowles, Day has brought in Tim Walton and Perry Eliano which has brought back the "Best In America" swagger that is the Ohio State secondary which was ranked top five in passing defense this past season. Denzel Burke and Jordan Hancock have become first-round picks and Davis Igbinosun will certainly be there with another season under his belt. The surprising change on the defensive side of the ball was Ryan Day not bringing back Eliano after his two seasons. This was a surprising move for Day and his staff, but with the recruiting woes in the safety room and not landing top safety play in the country, Day had to make a decision.


As that decision to not retain Eliano, Ryan Day needs that immediate impact hire now on the offensive side of the ball to finally play complimentary football for Jim Knowles. I think most people agree and many inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center that Ryan Day needs to take the full CEO approach to this football team and hand the reigns of playcalling over to an experienced playcaller. With that, Day may have to cut ties with some coaches.



Full transparency, I am not one to call for coach's jobs in the grand scheme of things because at the end of the day, these guys were at Ohio State for a reason and they know the game of football. Now, they should be held accountable for coaching at a place like Ohio State due to the history and tradition of Ohio State and what the standard is.


For Ryan Day's staff, being the head coach at Ohio State, he is feeling the pressure entering the 2024 season and many are reporting this is his year to turn things around meaning; beat the team up north, win the Big Ten, and compete in the 12 team playoff for a National Title. With that, he has to embrace the CEO approach of this team and bring in an experienced playcaller on the offensive side of the football. It is also reported that whoever he brings in will have full control of the offensive side of the football and who he wants to coach each position. *Disclaimer, the only reported coach who is safe on the offensive side of the football is Brian Hartline.

 

Let's take a look at the position coaches on staff who could be replaced and potential candidates Day could bring in.


Potential Candidates


Joe Brady, Current Interim Offensive Coordinator for the Buffalo Bills


Joe Brady was the offensive coordinator for the 2019 LSU National Championship team and coached the Heisman Trophy Winner Joe Burrow. He also won the Broyles Award for Assistant Coach of the Year in 2019. Record-setting offensive numbers took place on that 2019 National Championship team and led Joe Burrow to be their number one player selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.


If Ohio State wants to make an immediate impact in hiring, Brady would be the name to call. He also has held NFL experience since 2019 being the offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers and now Buffalo Bills.


Dan Mullen, former Florida Head Coach


Mullen has been in the broadcast booth for the last couple of years since being the head coach at Florida but would bring a combined experience of 13 years of head coaching experience to the Buckeyes if this was the route Ryan Day chose. Mullen was the head coach at Mississippi State and Florida and was the offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer at Florida who coached legendary Tim Tebow. Mullen also coached Alex Smith at Utah under Meyer as well.


Mullen has plenty of experience coaching QBs and play-calling. This could be a route Day selects if Mullen is looking to get back into coaching. Could Mullen set ego aside and take an assistant role? That is unknown but if he is looking to get back into coaching this may be the route he will have to take.


Joe Moorehead, current Akron Head Football Coach


Moorehead has plenty of offensive play-calling experience at big-time level football. He is currently the head coach at Akron but before this role, he was the play caller at Oregon and Penn State. He also served as head coach at Mississippi State for a year as well.


Would Moorehead be willing to leave a head coaching role at a MAC school for a top assistant role at Ohio State? Pay-wise, potentially Moorehead could get a raise as he currently only makes $620,000 a season at Akron. Ohio State could well offer him into the 1 million dollar range as an associate head coach/offensive coordinator role under Day.


Moorehead is known for his up-tempo-spread offense and offensive line development. Truthfully, this would be a home run hire for Ryan Day if he could convince the Akron head coach to take this role and come to Ohio State.


Replacement hire for Perry Eliano as Safety Coach


Many are led to believe Ryan Day could make an in-house hire and promote James Laurinaitis from his graduate assistant role to a full-time role. This would allow him to go on the road recruiting and make an immediate impact on the recruiting trail. He would not coach safeties rather he would stay true to the linebacker knowledge that led him to be one of the greatest linebackers in college football history while at Ohio State and provide the NFL knowledge he learned as well. This would leave Tim Walton to coach the entire secondary on his own as he did while serving his time in the NFL.


Another name floated around is Matt Guerrieri. The current co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Indiana. He is a former assistant under Knowles and spent a season with Knowles at Ohio State. This could be a huge hire for further down the road for the Buckeyes if Knowles was to ever take a head coaching job or if Larry Johnson retired. Guerrieri could slide into any role on the defense with his experience under Knowles and running the same scheme Ryan Day wants on his defense.


 

Current Ohio State Coaches who could be replaced?


QB Coach, Corey Dennis


Corey Dennis came to Ohio State under Urban Meyer as a graduate assistant and then under Ryan Day was elevated to QB Coach when Mike Yurich left the Buckeyes after the 2019 season. Everyone knows that Ryan Day is the QB Coach and he trusted Dennis to follow his coaching and allowed Day to help on the defensive side of the ball which needed the help at the time. Now full spin years later, Day needs the attention on offense since Jim Knowles is a proven capable playcaller defensively.


Dennis is not the full reason the QB play looked poor in the bowl game. The offensive line was a mess and clearly, Lincoln Kleinholz was not ready for the moment but all things aside I believe Day is looking for an experienced coach to take over and they're going to want control of the QBs. Corey Dennis has a lot of potential as a young coach moving forward and the experience he gained at Ohio State will only help him moving forward.


Offensive Line Coach, Justin Frye


This position is tricky only because Frye came to Columbus as a highly sought coach who Chip Kelly did not want to lose as he was the playcaller under Kelly at UCLA. Frye is known for his run game coordinator experience and developing offensive line play from players who are not highly rated coming out of high school. Under year two at this position, it seemed the offensive line took a step back but this is not all on Frye. Coach Stud left the room under distress in a way when he left Ohio State with not a lot of highly sought-out recruits left and development was taking a backseat due to some health implications for Stud.


Although all of this is true, Frye has been unable to land the highly sought recruits that Ohio State wants and has yet to make a splash in the portal up until this past week when he landed Seth McLaughlin from Alabama. Landing McLaughlin has a lot of people thinking Frye's job is safe and he will not be replaced by whoever takes the offensive coordinator role but many have to believe the step back the offensive line took this year and the bowl performance has to have Frye's job in question. The lack of readiness in the bowl game and not having the line ready to play especially guys like Matt Jones who was moved to center for that game and Enokk Vimahi who was starting guard for the game, a lot of that blame falls under you as the position coach.


Many believe Frye will get one more year to prove at Ohio State. Recruiting-wise, this incoming 2024 class has his name written all over it, and can vouch that this is his class and the guys he wants to play for him to which many would agree that he deserves that right to get one more year. All in all, Justin Frye's job should be safe going into 2024.


Special Teams Coordinator, Parker Fleming


The special team woes since Matt Barnes left Ohio State in 2021 have been disappointing to say it nicely. As stated earlier, not one to call for jobs, but tough conversations are needed for Ryan Day at a place like Ohio State. Parker Fleming is a great guy when listening to his interviews and his value under Day is known since he was one of the coaches who received a coaching raise last season. Under Fleming's control of the special teams though there has not been anything worth talking about other than penalties and potential game-changing plays that could have led the Buckeyes to victories but they were either miscommunicated coming out of the huddle or there was a penalty to negate them.


All in all, this has led many to believe Fleming's time at Ohio State is coming to an end. Much like Corey Dennis, he is a young and upcoming coach with experience coaching at Ohio State will help land him a job anywhere in the country.


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