Greg Schiano Says Three Years at Ohio State Were “A Great Experience,” Still Friends with “Excellent Coach” Ryan Day

By Dan Hope on November 2, 2020 at 5:28 pm
Greg Schiano during his Ohio State tenure

Two seasons after his tenure as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator came to an end, Greg Schiano will be back in Ohio Stadium on the opposing sideline when the Buckeyes host Rutgers on Saturday night.

Schiano is now in his first year back as the head coach at Rutgers, where he was previously head coach from 2001 to 2011. Prior to a year off from coaching, Schiano was with the Buckeyes from 2016 to 2018.

Ohio State and Schiano parted ways after the 2018 season, when Ryan Day succeeded Urban Meyer as head coach and revamped the Buckeyes’ defensive coaching staff following a year in which they allowed more points and more yards than any previous defense in school history.

That said, the way things ended at Ohio State don't seem to have tainted Schiano's views on his time with the Buckeyes.

During his press conference on Monday, Schiano said he and his family had a “really good experience” during his years at Ohio State, and that while he was already friends with Urban Meyer before he joined Ohio State’s staff, he built lasting bonds with many others during his time there, including Day, Gene Smith, Kerry Coombs, Mickey Marotti and Luke Fickell.

“There’s a lot of really good people that I had the chance to work with at Ohio State that they’ll be lifelong friends, so I look at it as a great experience,” Schiano said.

As for Day specifically, Schiano described him as “a standup guy” and “an excellent coach,” and said he knew Day had a bright future in coaching before Day even arrived at Ohio State as an assistant coach in 2017.

“When Urban told me he was gonna hire him, I said, ‘Man, that’s gonna be a great hire,’” Schiano said. “And sure enough, you could tell the day he got there, he’s a rising star. And he’s doing a tremendous job with the program, taking it over from Urban and putting his own stamp on it, but keeping – I know a lot of the people there – he kept a lot of things and he put his own stamp on it, and that’s really, I think, what good coaches do.

“We’re close. He’s an excellent football coach. He and his family are great people. And when we go to compete, we compete. Otherwise, we’re friends.”

During his tenure at Ohio State, Schiano was a part of three wins over Rutgers in which the Buckeyes outscored the Scarlet Knights by a cumulative score of 166-3, so he knows his new team is in for a huge challenge. But he believes it will be a “great measuring stick” for his team, which has shown improvement from recent years in a 1-1 start, to see where it’s really at against “one of the best in the country, if not the best.”

The Scarlet Knights are also excited about playing their first night game of the season, though he acknowledged the environment won’t be quite the same without a full crowd in the Shoe.

“I think that that’s what we aspire to,” Schiano said. “So it’ll be a little different, because it won’t be 108,000 people, it won’t be the traditional gala of college football that happens in our conference, but it’s still a tremendous opponent. And it’s in primetime, and talking to the people here, we haven’t had a ton of those. So that makes it special for our kids.”

“There’s a lot of really good people that I had the chance to work with at Ohio State that they’ll be lifelong friends, so I look at it as a great experience.” – Greg Schiano on his time as Ohio State's defensive coordinator

Saturday’s game will also serve as a reunion for Schiano with a multitude of players who he coached and/or recruited during his time at Ohio State, and he still thinks highly of them, too.

“I was involved in the recruitment of a lot of these players and they’re really good players,” Schiano said. “And equally as good people.”

While most of the players he coached at Ohio State are still at Ohio State if they’re still playing college football, two he coached at Ohio State – Brendon White and Malik Barrow – chose to join him at Rutgers as transfers. Asked specifically about White, who’s now a starting safety for the Scarlet Knights, Schiano said White is doing a “doing a tremendous job” so far and has become an “integral part” of their program.

“From the day he got here, he was a leader on our football team,” Schiano said. “He works extremely hard. He’s extremely focused on being the best player that he can be and helping others around him be that, and then I think he’s played well on the field the last two weeks. So certainly, I had a great relationship with him at Ohio State. At the beginning, there was a lot of tough love, and then he really came on at the latter part of ‘18. And when things didn’t work out there for him, I certainly was really pleased that he chose to come join us.”

Schiano and White’s Scarlet Knights are currently 38-point underdogs for Saturday’s game in Columbus, which is set for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on Big Ten Network.

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