Dec 29, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day watches during the second quarter of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic against the Missouri Tigers at AT&T Stadium.

Ohio State awaiting final word on Bill O’Brien status

Ohio State coach Ryan Day hired Bill O’Brien as his offensive coordinator this offseason, entrusting him to call plays for the Buckeyes in the 2024 season.

And Day is proceeding with that plan until he hears otherwise.

O’Brien, the former head coach of the Houston Texans and Penn State, is a top contender for the recently opened head-coaching job at Boston College, interviewing earlier this week. Day told reporters O’Brien was on campus in Columbus and at work on Wednesday.

He said he had “no update” about O’Brien’s future with the program, although ESPN reported Boston College is expected to name a head coach this week. Day has a Plan B should O’Brien, his hand-picked choice to relieve him of play-calling duties, depart.

“It isn’t just one of those situations where you take out one guy and put another guy in there and move on,” Day said. “It doesn’t work that way. But yes, we talked to different people for that position, and we have contingency plans in place. Hopefully, we don’t have to go down that road, though.”

Day also addressed a problem most college coaches would love to have entering spring practice: a glut of quarterbacks.

Following the transfer of last year’s starter, Kyle McCord,” Day said he anticipates a “fierce competition” at the position.

The Buckeyes have in their quarterback room Will Howard, an experienced transfer from Kansas State; returnees Devin Brown and Lincoln Kienholz; and Julian Sayin and Air Noland, incoming freshmen ranked as the No. 3 and No. 7 quarterbacks, respectively, in the 2024 class by 247Sports.

The youngsters will try to push the veteran Howard.

“Will came here to play football, so I hope that’s his mentality, and I hope all the guys have that mentality,” Day said. “He’s got to learn the offense and get going.”

–Field Level Media

Aug 25, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien talks with quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State reportedly hires Bill O’Brien to run offense

Ohio State is on the verge of hiring Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator, multiple outlets reported.

He is expected to take over play-calling from head coach Ryan Day and also mentor Buckeyes’ quarterbacks.

O’Brien has a promising record working with quarterbacks, including Tom Brady during his first stint on the New England Patriots’ coaching staff more than a decade ago.

O’Brien, 54, spent the 2023 season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in New England, following two seasons in the same role on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama. He was the head coach of the Houston Texans (2014-20) and Penn State (2012-13) after experience as an assistant coach at both the pro and college levels.

At Alabama, the O’Brien-led offense averaged 39.9 and 41.1 points per game in his two seasons.

In 2023, Ohio State averaged 30.5 points per game, good for 44th in the nation. In 2022, the Buckeyes were second in the nation with 44.2 points per game.

The dropoff in points followed the shift from C.J. Stroud to Kyle McCord as starting quarterback.

In 2024, Ohio State’s quarterback depth chart will include Will Howard, formerly of Kansas State, and five-star recruit Air Noland, ranked as the nation’s No. 4 team by the 247Sports composite.

The offense will be boosted by the addition of two-time All-SEC tailback Quinshon Judkins, an Ole Miss transfer, as will as the returns of standout wide receiver Emeka Egbuka and running back TreVeyon Henderson.

–Field Level Media

Jan 17, 2024; Columbus, OH, USA; Ross Bjork speaks during an introductory press conference for Ohio State University   s new athletic director at the Covelli Center.

New Ohio State AD Ross Bjork predicts football titles

Ohio State introduced new athletic director Ross Bjork on Wednesday, and one of the first things he did was give football coach Ryan Day a vote of confidence.

The university hired Bjork, 51, on Tuesday. He has been at the helm of the athletic department at Texas A&M since July 2019 and previously was the athletic director at Ole Miss and Western Kentucky.

Contract terms were not revealed.

Bjork will take over on July 1, replacing retiring athletic director Gene Smith. Until then, he undoubtedly will have his eyes on the football Buckeyes and Day, who was in the audience.

“I’m a football guy. I’m going to help and I’m going to make sure that, again, we compete at the highest level because the pedigree is here,” said Bjork, who went on to predict College Football Playoff titles in the future.

“This guy right here, Coach Day, he’s going to get it done,” Bjork said. “And it’s going to be a lot of fun when we win those championships.”

Day has a 56-8 record at Ohio State, which includes three games he filled in for a suspended Urban Meyer in 2018. He succeeded Meyer the following season.

His resume, however, includes three straight losses to rival Michigan and a 2-4 mark in bowl games.

A Kansas native who played football at Emporia State, Bjork fit the qualifications new Ohio State president Ted Carter recently said the school was looking for — extensive big school experience.

A blemish on Bjork’s record is the contract he gave to football coach Jimbo Fisher that left the school holding the bag for $77 million when Fisher was fired last fall. Carter said that situation was reviewed with Bjork during the hiring process and that he “owned it.”

Hiroyuki Fujita, chair of Ohio State’s board of trustees, echoed the need to bring in someone like Bjork.

“The college athletics landscape is changing each day, and Ohio State was firmly committed to finding an athletics director who would lead us with confidence and innovative thinking into the future,” Fujita said. “Ross Bjork possesses all the qualities we had envisioned — and more — and I am thrilled to welcome him to our Buckeye family.”

–Field Level Media

Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson watches warmups before the Buckeyes game against Maryland at Ohio Stadium on Oct. 7, 2023.

Ohio St. RB TreVeyon Henderson to return from 3-game injury absence

Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson will play Saturday at Wisconsin after a three-game injury absence, coach Ryan Day said Thursday on his radio show.

Henderson suited up and went through warmups for the No. 3 Buckeyes in each of their last two games, including last week’s showdown with Penn State, but did not see game action due to an undisclosed injury.

Henderson last appeared Sept. 23 against Notre Dame and ran for 104 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. After a bye, Henderson was a late scratch for Ohio State’s Oct. 7 win over Maryland.

“Trey’s had a really good week of practice,” Day said on the radio show. “He’s full-go, so excited to get him back out there.”

Henderson leads Ohio State in rushing this season with 295 yards and five touchdowns on 44 attempts.

Day said “other guys will get opportunities as well” against the Badgers. Chip Trayanum started the past three games and Miyan Williams had a season-high 62 yards and a touchdown against Penn State.

Day didn’t specify whether wide receiver Emeka Egbuka or cornerback Denzel Burke would return from their respective, undisclosed injuries against Wisconsin.

–Field Level Media

Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson watches warmups before the Buckeyes game against Maryland at Ohio Stadium on Oct. 7, 2023.

Ohio State RB TreVeyon Henderson to return vs. Purdue

No. 3 Ohio State will have running back TreVeyon Henderson back this week when it travels to face Purdue, while wide receiver Emeka Egbuka’s status is less settled.

Henderson was held out of Saturday’s 37-17 victory over Maryland as a protective decision. No reason was given by Ohio State on gameday, but Henderson had a broken bone in his foot last year and missed five games.

Without their leading rusher, the Buckeyes gained just 62 yards on 33 attempts.

Egbuka picked up a leg injury during the fourth quarter and left the game after catching three passes for 40 yards.

“One thing I can tell you is that it’s not going to be a long-term issue,” coach Ryan Day said Tuesday. “We’ll probably have a better idea of how he’s doing later in the week. The good news was that it’s not a long-term issue. We’ll reevaluate it as the week goes on.”

Egbuka is second on the team to Marvin Harrison Jr. with 22 receptions. He has 303 yards and three touchdowns.

Henderson has 295 rushing yards and five touchdowns in four games this year.

–Field Level Media

August 26, 2020; Washington, D.C., USA; (Editors Note: Screen grab from Republican National Convention video stream) Former football coach, Lou Holtz, speaks remotely during the Republican National Convention at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. Mandatory Credit: Republican National Convention via USA TODAY NETWORK

Lou Holtz sticking with comments despite Ohio State’s victory

Turns out Ohio State football coach Ryan Day didn’t have the last word with the No. 4 Buckeyes’ dramatic victory over host Notre Dame on Saturday night.

Former Fighting Irish coach Lou Holtz — whose pregame comments questioning Ohio State’s toughness had Day fired up in his postgame interview on the field in South Bend, Ind. — fired back on Tuesday.

“He doesn’t want to talk about Michigan (because he’s) 0-2,” Holtz said on the “Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich podcast. “He doesn’t want to talk about the big game coming up against Penn State and against Michigan again. He’s a great coach. He’s done a tremendous job. He’s a great offensive mind.

“Ohio State’s a good football team, but I don’t think they’re a great football team, and he can go after me all he wants.”

Holtz didn’t stop there, saying that now-No. 11 Notre Dame, which lost 17-14 on a goal-line touchdown run in the final seconds, was the better and more physical team.

“I’m sorry that coach Day was offended by it and I hope he goes on and has a wonderful year,” Holtz, a College Football Hall of Fame coach, said on the podcast. “I don’t think they’ll be a great football team, I really don’t. I felt Notre Dame won the football game.”

Holtz had fired the first shot Friday on the “The Pat McAfee Show” when he claimed that Day-coached teams at Ohio State were not tough enough in losses to Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Michigan (twice) “and everybody who beats them does so because they’re more physical than Ohio State.”

Day didn’t let those comments slide as his team celebrated moments after the victory.

“I’d like to know where Lou Holtz is right now,” Day said on NBC. “What he said about our team, I cannot believe. This is a tough team right here. We’re proud to be from Ohio. … It’s always been Ohio against the world, and it will continue to be Ohio against the world.”

Holtz did apologize — to Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman on Monday for providing Ohio State with more motivation with his comments, he said on the podcast Tuesday.

“I called coach Freeman and apologized,” Holtz said. “I don’t feel bad about saying it because I believed it. Notre Dame was a better football team. Three times, Ohio State had fourth-and-1, ran the ball and couldn’t make it. … If I was coaching, I would have said it.

“I would (have) went to our team and said, ‘I think you’re better. I think you’re more physical. I think you’re more talented.’”

–Field Level Media

Jul 26, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day speaks to the media during the Big 10 football media day at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Day not close to naming winner in Ohio State QB competition

It’s “not ideal,” head coach Ryan Day said, as Ohio State’s starting quarterback competition appears set to continue into the regular season.

Neither Kyle McCord nor Devin Brown have fully seized the No. 1 quarterback job in the coaching staff’s eyes, Day told reporters Monday.

Ohio State, ranked No. 3 in the preseason AP Top 25 poll released Monday, will open its season Sept. 2 at Indiana.

“That’s something we have to decide this week, probably,” Day said. “Are we ready to name someone by the end of the week or does the competition continue into the season? That’s not ideal, but if that’s where we’re at, that’s what we’ll do.”

By this point of fall camp in recent Buckeyes seasons, the program was ready to name a starting quarterback. Past starters included Justin Fields and C.J. Stroud.

Day initially pictured a similar timeline for this year’s camp and had a press conference scheduled for Wednesday before moving it up to Monday.

“In C.J.’s or Justin’s year, it was probably about that time (that we named them the starter), practice 12 or 13,” Day said. “But we’re not there right now.”

Ohio State held a scrimmage on Saturday, but Day and his staff didn’t see enough from either McCord or Brown that would significantly alter their competition.

McCord has seen limited game action in relief of other quarterbacks over the past two seasons. He has tallied 606 yards on 41-of-58 passing, with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Brown was an early enrollee in January 2022 and appeared in two games last season before redshirting. He missed the end of spring practices and the spring game due to a finger injury but is healthy now.

“I do wish that somebody had really emerged,” Day said. “I don’t think, right now, it’s two guys that are just blowing it out of the water to where you’re like, ‘Oh my God, I don’t know who’s going to play.’ But it’s also not like they’re not doing well either. There’s really good play out there, there’s ability. Now we’re just looking for consistency.”

–Field Level Media

Mar 21, 2023; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State University football coach Ryan Day answers a question about quarterbacks during the 2023 Spring Practices. Mandatory Credit: Doral Chenoweth-The Columbus Dispatch

Ryan Day 01 Jpg

Ryan Day gets vote of confidence from Ohio St. AD

Ryan Day has a coaching record of 45-6, 32-0 and 1-2 in his four-plus seasons at Ohio State.

Three of Day’s six losses overall have come in the College Football Playoff and the Buckeyes are 32-0 against every Big Ten team, save one, during Day’s tenure. It’s that 1-2 mark against Michigan that ostensibly required a vote of confidence from Buckeyes athletic director Gene Smith.

That came during an interview with ESPN published Tuesday.

“My standards are high, our team standards are high,” Smith told ESPN. “So we talk about how do we get better and how do we make sure we are able to win the championships that we aspire to win? We look at each individual contest that got in the way of that, and we’re trying to figure out what’s the strategy to mitigate that.”

The Buckeyes dropped a second consecutive game to Michigan in 2022, 45-23. Ohio State hasn’t lost three straight to Michigan since 1995-97, per ESPN.

Day defeated the Wolverines 56-27 in 2019 and the 2020 game was canceled due to the COVID pandemic. Michigan beat Ohio State 42-27 in 2021, giving Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh his first win in the series as head coach. Harbaugh, for the record, is 2-5 against the Buckeyes.

John Cooper went 111-43-4 in 13 seasons as head coach at Ohio State. But despite that .715 winning percentage, Cooper is remembered for a 2-10-1 mark against Michigan.

“The rivalry game’s obviously very, very important,” Day told ESPN. “When you look at those games, and you see these single plays that really cost us the game. When you’re talking about on defense, giving up explosive plays, certainly that’s very, very important. That’s how games can go sideways.”

Day’s next shot at Michigan: Nov. 25 in Ann Arbor.

–Field Level Media

Jul 27, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day talks to the media during Big 10 football media days at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Day: Winning Rose Bowl not a great season at Ohio State

Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Wednesday that going 11-2 and winning the Rose Bowl game might mark success at other schools, but not in Columbus, Ohio.

Day made the comments during Big Ten Media Days in Indianapolis.

Anything short of a Big Ten title and another national championship is disappointment at Ohio State. Losing to Michigan for the first time since 2011 is another dagger.

“That’s part of the deal here. A lot of times you go 11-2 and win the Rose Bowl, you say that’s one heck of a season. Well, not around here,” Day said. “Our goal every year is to beat the Team Up North and win the Big Ten championship and win the national championship, and we didn’t get those things last year.”

Day guided the Buckeyes to the CFP national championship game following the 2020 season but got devoured by Alabama, 52-24.

Ohio State last won the national title in 2014, under Urban Meyer.

The Buckeyes’ main problem last season: youth and defense.

OSU finished 2021 ranked No. 59 nationally in total defense. That led to the hire of defensive coordinator Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State in the offseason. The calendar — players becoming older and wiser — took care of itself.

“Last year, we were so young that we didn’t know what we didn’t know,” Day said. “This year, we know what it’s like to lose a game. We know what it’s like to lose that rivalry game. And that was not good. And so there are some scars there, which is a good thing.”

Further, the Buckeyes don’t open their season with a cupcake – they play Notre Dame on Sept. 3.

“It amplifies the preseason, for sure,” Day said. “You know you have to play your best football right then and there. You can’t take a game or two to find your footing, so that game is going to be amped up. It’s going to be kind of a frenzy, and we know that, so preseason is going to be very important.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Jack Miller III (9)throws during the fourth quarter against the Akron Zips at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State set to reinstate QB Jack Miller

No. 4 Ohio State is set to reinstate third-string quarterback Jack Miller, who was suspended after being charged with operating a vehicle under the influence.

Ohio State-focused website Lettermen Row said Miller pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge of reckless operation and paid a $150 fine. Coach Ryan Day said the suspension, which went into effect Nov. 5, was expected to be lifted Thursday.

Miller didn’t travel with the Buckeyes to Nebraska on Nov. 6 and also missed last Saturday’s win against Purdue.

The Buckeyes (9-1) host No. 7 Michigan State on Saturday in a game that could knock them out of contention for a berth in the College Football Playoff with a loss. Having Miller back on the sideline would provide Day with an insurance policy should something happen to starter C.J. Stroud or backup Kyle McCord against the Spartans.

A four-star recruit in the Class of 2020, Miller has played in four games this season, completing 7 of 14 passes for 101 yards.

–Field Level Media