“We’re just so excited to get coach back next week. The culture and foundation that’s he’s built here is amazing. Just humbled to be a part of such a great tradition.”
Ryan Day just won the biggest game of his head coaching life, a thrilling 40-28 come-from-behind win over No. 15 TCU, and that's what he had to say in response to question asking generally about how it feels to have guided Ohio State so effectively in Urban Meyer's absence.
For anyone paying attention, that's not surprising however as Day has done nothing but defer credit to his fellow assistant coaches and players since tacking on the acting head coach role when Meyer was placed on administrative leave.
In fact, as I'm typing, Day is in his presser gushing about Greg Schiano for being such a guiding light during the past six weeks and how he'll never forget it. And you can tell just how much he truly means it. There's zero-to-very-little coach-speak with Day.
He gives thoughtful answers when the topic isn't How Great Ryan Day Is whether it be about a play, schematic decision or his players and coaches.
Day navigated somewhat awkward but valid questions the last few weeks about what it was like to have Meyer back in the WHAC, always deferring to the reality he was just trying to hold serve until the real leader of the program returned. Make no mistake, while the culture was already in place thanks to Meyer, Day only enhanced it exuding selfless devotion to the program.
Beyond entertaining the media with effortless, humble grace, he also handled primary game-manager and offensive playcalling duties with aplomb, all while continuing the evolution of Dwayne Haskins into an elite quarterback.
With Day at the controls, Ohio State's offense racked up 56.3 points and 608.7 yards per game while Haskins completed 72.5% of his throws for 890 yards and 11 touchdowns against just one interception.
Yes, Day's offense got fat and happy off cupcakes Oregon State and Rutgers but the 526 yards against an athletic TCU defense make it clear this is one of the best offenses in the land.
But again, while we all know on-field results are what matter most, Day's leadership during the day-to-day grind especially when Meyer's fate was still unresolved helped galvanize a program attempting to circle the wagons.
The selfish down side for Ohio State fans is that Day's spectacular run as acting head coach will most likely expedite his exit from Columbus in the form of a head coaching gig next season but if our character is as strong as Day's we'll all be nothing but ecstatic and supportive as he takes the next step.