Ohio State football: Why Ryan Day promoted QBs coach from within

Ohio State’s opening for a quarterbacks coach did not last long because Ryan Day knew just how he wanted to fill it.

Day moved quickly to replace Mike Yurcich, who left for a promotion and a raise at Texas, with Corey Dennis, who has not been a primary position coach before.

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While Yurcich is experienced, Dennis is not.

Yurcich was plucked away from Oklahoma State a year ago.

Dennis was called up from the back of the room.

From the outside, filling such a job at such place as Ohio State with a green coach looks like a risk, but Day does not seem to see it that way.

“I don't think so because I know what Corey's capable of, and I know that he's got a great feel for those guys,” Day said. "He's a good teacher, and he's going to do a good job.”

Beyond that, Dennis will be far from alone mentoring the quarterbacks, a group he has already been working with as a quality control coach the past two seasons.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson is a veteran with head coaching experience on his resume, and Day was a quarterbacks coach in college and the NFL before ascending to head coach of the Buckeyes last year after Urban Meyer retired.

“Kevin is a huge part of what we do on offense, and he’s going to continue to do more,” Day said. “And we've talked even about moving forward, having him share some of the play-calling roles with me. And we'll continue those conversations as we go through the spring.”

On one hand, Dennis will not be working without a net because of Wilson and Day.

On the other, he won’t have to make any introductions in the quarterbacks room, most importantly to returning starter Justin Fields.

“I feel great with not only the fact that he can teach the way we teach it, but also we need some continuity in that room,” Day said. “Corey is a young coach who has a really bright future, and I think everything you put into Corey you're going to get back in invest because he's so bright.”

Continuity is important for multiple reasons.

Fields has not had it, having arrived in Columbus last January after one season at Georgia.

The coaching position has not had much of it, either, since Tim Beck replaced Tom Herman in 2015.

After two disappointing seasons, Beck was replaced by Day, who hired Yurich to replace himself prior to last season.

Coincidentally, 2015 was also the year Dennis joined the staff as an intern after playing at Georgia Tech. He has climbed the ladder since then, spending two seasons as a graduate assistant and two more in “quality control.”

Meyer’s son-in-law and the father to two young boys, he has put down roots in Columbus in that period of time, too.

“I really want to solidify that room and have some stability in there,” Day reiterated. "So I think that was critical too because I know Corey is invested in Ohio State and his family. So when you combine all those things together, I thought it was a great hire.”

Day said he would have preferred Yurcich to spend at least one more year in Columbus, but he did not begrudge him taking the opportunity from Texas — where ironically his new boss is Herman and he is replacing Beck, who left for another job following a demotion.

“I don't know if it's public the amount of money (Yurcich) was offered to go to Texas, but that's a lot of money that he and his family couldn't pass up,” Day said. “So wish him nothing but the best of luck.”

Yurcich had two-year contract worth an annual salary of $950,000 at Ohio State, but Yahoo Sports reported he is in line to make nearly double that ($1.7 million) in Austin.

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Meanwhile, Day is looking forward to mentoring a young coach and admittedly maintaining a major role in leading the quarterbacks.

He said while Yurcich handled things in the meeting room most of the time last year so Day could stay abreast of what was going on throughout the football facility, practices were another matter.

“I think if you saw the flow of how it worked, once we got on the field, I was kind of right there with the quarterback and coaching them up on the field and making sure we were on the same page,” Day said. “When it came to meeting, Mike and Corey were in there and they were meeting.

“And, again, the best thing about having someone like Corey who is young and really sharp is everything you invest in him you're going to get back. That's what I love. Sometimes when you have somebody older like that, that's not the case. And so he's going to be here for the long haul and that's a huge deal.”

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