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Ryan Day Using Previous Playing Experience To Help Inform Upcoming Quarterback Decision

By August 4, 2023 (9:00 am)Football

Before trading in his helmet for a clipboard, current Ohio State head coach Ryan Day – following an impressive prep career at Manchester Central High School – suited up for New Hampshire from 1998-2001, where he played quarterback for the Wildcats.

During that time, Day received coaching from then-head coach Bill Bowes and then-offensive coordinator Chip Kelly, who has since become a mentor for Day as he has continued his coaching career. Their shared time at New Hampshire saw Day set program records in completions (653), touchdown passes (53), completing percentage (59.9 percent) and total offense (8,492 yards), and he remains third in program history in passing attempts (1,089) and fourth in passing yards (7,760) and completions.

In addition, Day also holds the program record for most passing attempts in a game, throwing the ball 65 times in a 45-44 victory at then-No. 2 Delaware on Nov. 4, 2000, after New Hampshire fell behind 31-3 to begin the contest. Through three seasons as a starter, Day experienced the ups and downs that every quarterback in college – regardless of program or division – will experience at some point, including going through a battle to win the starting job.

“I remember when I was playing college football and we had a competition between me and somebody who was a couple years ahead of me and it went all the way down to that last scrimmage and then it kind of went into those first few games,” Day said Wednesday. “I was named the starter and then continued to be the starter, but every situation is different.”

A different situation is now the one that Day himself presides over, with a choice to make in the coming weeks between junior Kyle McCord and redshirt freshman Devin Brown, who are both vying for Ohio State’s starting job with fall camp beginning this week and Indiana approaching on Sept. 2.

While Day said that he did not win his own starting job at New Hampshire until the team’s third week of fall camp, this time around, he said in an “ideal world” that Ohio State will be able to name a starter after the first “week or two” of the Buckeyes’ fall camp, which features 25 practices. Given that Day has been through a similar situation in his own playing career, the coach said that his past experience does inform how he will approach Ohio State’s upcoming decision.

“Yeah, it does (inform my decision). I think that’s part of the position in general about quarterback, there’s so many things that come with it,” Day said. “And when you’ve gone through it – not at this level, but still playing college football and being around the position – there’s so much that goes with it. And you don’t know until you’re actually in the game.

“I mean, to sit here and say we went into that Minnesota game (in 2021) with C.J. (Stroud) saying that he’s going to be a Heisman Trophy finalist for the next two years, that wasn’t true. You know, shoot, after the first half, I was like, ‘I don’t know what’s going to (happen),’ but you just have to figure it out and you keep growing and you keep building. You know, everybody’s different.”

Looking back at his own experience, the advice Day would offer to a signal caller is to simply go out and compete, adding that he struggled at points trying to be perfect at all times, which further compounded mistakes and made it more difficult to play. And as fall camp begins and McCord and Brown continue to battle it out, Day said the coaching staff is looking to build up both signal callers – regardless of who ultimately takes the job – to be ready for this season.

“(Regardless of) how it all shakes out, you have to prepare the best you can and compete as hard as you possibly can,” he said. “And then the more you play, the more confidence you get. That’s part of that’s part of coaching, too, is the coaches bringing them along and building up their confidence that, ‘Hey, man, you can do this.’ There is self doubt that that comes in every now and again, you have to fight that.”

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