The head coach of Ohio State football works in a fish bowl. That's how it has been, how it is and how it always will be.
As the latest in a long line of successful men to hold the position, Ryan Day understands each of his decisions, both on and off the field, are examined under a microscope locally and nationally, creating the highest of highs and the lowest of lows for the leader of the Buckeyes.
Day's first years as head coach were chock-full of highs, as Ohio State secured two Big Ten titles, two trips to the College Football Playoff and a national runner-up finish in 2019 and 2020.
But as Day's tenure has continued, the lows have also reared their ugly heads. In 2021 and 2022, the Buckeyes suffered back-to-back losses to Michigan, failed to reach the Big Ten Championship and made only one of two possible trips to the CFP, with this year’s appearance viewed as “backing into the playoff” after USC failed to beat Utah in the Pac-12 Championship.
Because the lows are the most recent experience surrounding Day's time as head coach of the Buckeyes, some fans of the program have recently expressed their displeasure with his performance in the role. However, there remain plenty who approve of Day and what he has built in Columbus, and former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel is among them.
According to The Canton Repository, Tressel offered a vote of confidence in Day's leadership while speaking to the Hall of Fame Luncheon Club in Canton, Ohio, on Monday. Tressel believes the program is in good hands with Day as its head coach.
“I'm a Ryan Day fan,” Tressel said. “I think he's got something about him.”
Tressel talked about Day while expressing his views on the NCAA transfer portal and name, image and likeness benefits for players – now-common parts of college football that he and Day's predecessor, Urban Meyer, never had to deal with as head coaches at Ohio State. Because of that, Tressel says Day coaches in a different world than he and Meyer, but that’s a world Tressel thinks Day is perfectly capable of navigating.
“I'm a Ryan Day fan. I think he's got something about him.”– Jim Tressel
“The people who spend a lot of time whining about (the NCAA transfer portal and NIL) aren't going to progress,” Tressel said. “The people who try to figure out how to do it well are going to be much ahead. ... I think Ryan Day is going to navigate this. Sure, he's going to lose some players, and, sure, there's going to be a player or two who comes to him.
“He's never going to be a guy who runs all over the place and has 19 roster changes. He's going to recruit well and build within.”
As Tressel continued to make his stance on the transfer portal, he talked about the value of “fighting through tough times” and facing adversity, something Tressel believes college football players could learn from today.
The same could also be said for Day, who now looks ahead to 2023 with the same goals he has always had for the program: Beat Michigan in November, win the Big Ten Championship in December and hoist a CFP trophy in January.
Tressel believes Day can accomplish those in the years to come as Ohio State's head coach. Now, it’s up to Day to prove him right.