Corey Dennis knows there are questions about him being Ohio State’s quarterbacks coach.
Not that the 2014 Georgia Tech graduate lacks football knowledge after five years soaking it up in the hall of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Rather there are many who wonder if he is really qualified to get his first full-time coaching gig at a program of such magnitude.
All he can do is prove himself.
“You first have to dive into it to kind of get your feet wet and go, but obviously, the trust that (coach Ryan) Day's had in myself and things like that — the fact that there's a lot of people that believe in me, then that ultimately has kind of given me the confidence to be ready to go.”
Dennis came to Ohio State as an intern in 2015. He worked his way up from graduate assistant to quality control coach and in January made another leap to full-time assistant.
He was already working with the quarterbacks, but now he will be in charge of the room and able to recruit off campus.
Everybody has to start somewhere, of course, but starting at Ohio State is widely viewed as a privilege, and inevitably the role Dennis’ father-in-law played in such an opportunity presenting itself came up during Dennis’ first meeting with the media.
That would be Urban Meyer, Ohio State’s head coach from 2012-18 and a three-time national champion.
“I would say that there was an influence,” Dennis said. “Maybe not the influence that people will say, or things like that, but being around coach Meyer, what he's done, the type of person, the type of coach he is. He's had an influence on a lot of young coaches who've come through this profession. I feel like there's been a lot of young coaches at Ohio State who've gone on and gotten jobs. And I think if you'd go ask those guys, they'd say, 'Sure, there's definitely been an impact from coach Meyer on their profession.’”
He acknowledged his connection with Meyer may have opened the door for him to start his career at Ohio State, but from there Dennis had to actually do something with it.
Judging by the praise he has received from current and former players he’s worked with — including Justin Fields, Dwayne Haskins and Michael Thomas — Dennis has done just that.
“Coach Day wouldn't have hired me if he didn't think that I was ready,” Dennis said. “So I don't know if that answers your question, but I think I'm ready. Coach Day thinks I'm ready. I have a lot of coaches here, (offensive coordinator Kevin) Wilson, the guys believe in me. I've had players believe in me and I think I'm ready to go.”
For his part, Day has explained hiring Dennis gives him a young coach he can groom, one who is likely to remain at Ohio State for the foreseeable future — and one who will do things the way the head coach wants them to be done.
“I have great mentors and I have great people,” Dennis said. “For me to sit there and say that I have the answer to everything, that would be naive and that'd be ignorant. But I have coach Day, coach Wilson, I have some unbelievable people to lean on if I need to lean on them. That's unbelievable.
“But when it comes to the actual position, I think I'm ready. I've been around coach Day, I've seen what he's done. I know the way that he does things. And I feel like that I'll be able to keep this thing rolling.”