Why Ryan Day, not Greg Schiano or Kevin Wilson, is Ohio State interim

On Wednesday evening, Ohio State announced that head coach Urban Meyer would be placed on paid administrative leave as the school conducts an investigation of Meyer’s handling of longtime assistant Zach Smith’s domestic violence allegations.

Offensive coordinator Ryan Day will serve as the Buckeyes’ interim head coach.

Day has been on Meyer’s Buckeye staff since 2017. In January, it was rumored that Day might join Mike Vrabel’s staff with the Tennessee Titans, but he remained in Columbus.

Prior to Day landing at Ohio State, he coached under now-UCLA head coach Chip Kelly with the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers. Previously he was Boston College’s offensive coordinator from 2013-14, where he worked as a wide receivers coach from 2007-11. He also has coached at Temple and New Hampshire, and was a graduate assistant for Meyer’s first Florida staff in 2005.

There are a couple former head coaches on Meyer’s staff with more qualified résumés.

But there are clear issues with promoting either of those guys, especially amid an ongoing scandal.

Option one: Co-offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson

Wilson was fired from Indiana in Dec. 2016 amid concerns over player treatment:

Administration objected to multiple issues regarding player treatment, per the source.

During a press conference on Thursday night, IU athletic director Fred Glass made the news official, and stated that Wilson’s departure from the program was a “resignation” due to “philosophical differences in how to run a football team.”

The news came a mere hours after reports came to light:

At the time, Wilson’s firing came as a surprise — the Hoosiers qualified for bowls two years in a row in 2015 and 2016, the program’s first such streak since 1990 and 1991. He had also signed a six-year extension a year earlier.

Wilson joined Meyer’s staff about a month after his firing, following the departure of former Buckeyes OC Tim Beck. It was reported that Meyer conducted a “thorough vetting process:”

“In the end I came back and talked with Urban, he had done his vetting,” Ohio State AD Gene Smith said via Cleveland.com. “Urban already knew him, I just knew about him, shook his hand. Urban knew him and had a higher comfort level. I first wanted to understand what happened there (at Indiana), and then once I began to understand the person, I was fine with it.”

Option two: Associate head coach/defensive coordinator Greg Schiano

Schiano, entering his third season with Ohio State, is a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Rutgers head coach.

It was reported that Schiano was to become Tennessee’s next head coach last November, until a massive public outcry from former players, fans, and even local politicians stopped it in its tracks. The offered reasoning? Schiano has been named in documents as allegedly having known about Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse.

The allegation came from a former Penn State assistant, Mike McQueary, who became a coach at the school almost a decade after Schiano left and who said he heard another coach, Tom Bradley, say Schiano claimed to have seen abuse. McQueary was under oath at the time, though if you take his word as fact, you only advance to the question of whether Bradley was telling the truth. The allegation wasn’t pursued, and Bradley and Schiano denied it.

Whether he knew about Sandusky or not, Schiano’s NFL flop definitely included the MRSA debacle, his players hating him, and accusations of him leaking a player’s drug test results to the media.

This serves as a significant reflection of Meyer’s choices.

Day might not have previous head coaching experience, but a seasoned coordinator should step in competently, and several other coaches on the staff likely could handle the job as well.

The bigger issue is what the fact that two experienced head coaches had to be passed over says about Meyer’s staffing.

Meyer just had to fire a longtime assistant amid multiple domestic violence allegations. His school then had to pass over a successful former Big Ten head coach and a former NFL head coach for the interim job, all because of off-field issues. How many other staffs have problems like that?


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