Ryan Day on his first Ohio State team: ‘We’ve got a lot to prove’

Ryan Day’s first appearance at Big Ten Football Media Days is in the books.

Here are five things he discussed with reporters Thursday at the Hilton Chicago.

1. Day has had an interesting summer.

A baker’s dozen rising high school seniors have committed to Ohio State since May 31, a splurge likely influenced at least in part by a change in the recruiting calendar.

With recruits able to take official visits during summer, they can gather more information about their potential future home earlier than they used to, but it also creates more work for coaches.

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“June has changed a lot,” Day said. “We now have official visits, so June is a bear for college football coaches, and having official visit weekends in June, it was a lot of work.”

With their recruiting class numbering 21 players and ranked No. 2 in the country, Day and his staff earned some R and R this month.

“Got into July and really had the staff get away from football a little bit, recharge as we head into August because this team has got a lot to prove.”

2. He is not bothered by Michigan being the perceived favorite in the Big Ten.

Although the vaunted U-M defense must be rebuilt and the Wolverines are installing a new offense, they are a trendy pick to win their first conference title in 14 years.

If Day is worried about his team being overlooked, he isn’t showing it.

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“We’ve got a lot to prove,” Day said. “The offense, we lose seven guys, really eight with Mike Weber leaving as well. It’s going to be a new quarterback under center. And then also on defense, there’s a group of guys over there who are salty who have a lot to prove. August is going to be a big month for us, and we’re looking forward to getting going in a couple weeks.”

3. He expects an interesting preseason for the offensive line.

The biggest question for the offense can be found up front where Thayer Munford is the only returning starter.

However, likely new starters Josh Myers and Wyatt Davis being third-year players with some experience gives Day some confident they will be ready to go.

“Then you also have Jonah Jackson coming in from Rutgers, Branden Bowen and then Josh Alabi, and then the other guy is Nicholas Petit-Frere.

“All of those guys could play. For the most part they had good springs. They’ve had a good offseason, but the battle is really going to happen in August.”

4. Day confers with his predecessor regularly and expects that to continue during the season.

“For sure,” he replied when asked if he remains in contact with Urban Meyer, who has transitioned to a job in athletics administration after being head coach of the Buckeyes for seven seasons. “I’d be crazy if I didn’t.

“He’s been unbelievable in terms of understanding when to be there, when to step away. He’s taken multiple phone calls from me just looking for advice on how to handle certain things. And that would have been the case if I was anywhere else because of our relationship, but being at Ohio State and being right across the street, he’s an unbelievable resource and he’s been a huge help, and he’s going to continue to do that throughout the fall.”

5. Chip Kelly gets the credit for shaping the offense Ohio State will run under Day.

After beefing up the passing game since he was hired as quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator in 2017, Day gets to run the offense exactly how he wants to this fall.

That has lead to a lot of speculation about just how much will change, particularly with dual-threat sophomore Justin Fields expected to win the starting quarterback job after transferring from Georgia.

For a hint of what Ohio State will do, one might look at the Philadelphia Eagles of 2013-15 and the 2016 San Francisco 49ers coached by Kelly, who has served as Day’s No. 1 mentor.

“He’s been an innovator in the game, and so much of what we do is very much in line with his philosophies and some of the concepts that he built,” Day said. “Because what he did was combine the spread run game with the pro passing game when he went to the NFL, and that’s kind of our philosophy.”

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