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It’s been three years since Ryan Day took over the helm from Urban Meyer. Back then, Day was a first time head coach who hadn’t been in the college game for several years, let alone run a blue blood college football program.
When Day took the program from Urban in 2019, the bones of the program were already set in place. Urban Meyer did a fantastic job of building out the support staff. Strength coach Mickey Marotti, director of football operations Brian Voltolini, and recruiting coordinator Mark Pantoni were all in place. It may sound simple, but getting those roles correct is critical as those guys handle basically everything that happens off the football field.
Day’s first big move came after his first season when he had to replace defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley, who had departed to the become the head coach of Boston College. Day brought back an Ohio State staple, Kerry Coombs, from the NFL. Then after a season and change, Day was forced to shake up the defensive staff and elevate defensive backs coach Matt Barnes to assist with the play calling duties.
This offseason is the first to force Day to ask some tough questions about his staff. After losing to Michigan for the first time in a decade, failing to win the Big Ten for the first time in four years, and failing to qualify for the Big Ten Championship Game for the first time during Day’s tenure, everyone knew there were going to be changes on the coaching staff. Ryan Day is incredibly competitive.
The team finished strong with a great Rose Bowl victory, but they still fell short of expectations, so a question regarding the coaching staff had to be asked: “Can we be better?” It’s a simple question, but it’s one that can be uncomfortable. Answering that question is the only way a company, organization or team can improve.
Prior to the Rose Bowl, it was announced that Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles would be joining the Buckeye staff in the same capacity. So who would be leaving? That question was answered this week with the announcement that Matt Barnes had taken the defensive coordinator role at Memphis.
The next domino was the offensive line coach, Greg “Stud” Studrawa. Stud had been with the Buckeyes since 2016, hired by Urban Meyer and retained by Day.
Urban had a solid staff in place when Day took over. Some might even say Day landed on third base. But after three seasons at the helm, he is beginning to make some changes and sculpt the staff in his image. This was bound to happen eventually.
Now Ryan Day is tasked with finding a new offensive line coach to help get this running game back on track and to continue to protect CJ Stroud. There could also be more staff changes coming for the Buckeyes, but only Ryan Day knows how those will look.