Despite consecutive losses to their fierce rivals Michigan, Ohio State football program’s head coach Ryan Day has the unwavering support of athletic director, Gene Smith. During a recent interview with ESPN, Smith stated that Day is the team’s CEO, and he has high standards for the program. Even though the team has not won a Big Ten championship or a game in the College Football Playoff in the last two years, Smith’s confidence in Day remains unshaken.
Smith admitted that he holds regular conversations with Day about the program’s necessary changes to achieve its goals. The duo analyzes each contest that disrupted them in achieving an expected win and strategizes how to mitigate their next defeat. Smith also expressed disappointment over the Buckeyes’ losses but said that he and Day are constantly trying to figure out how to improve the team’s chances of winning championships regularly.
Furthermore, the Buckeyes’ coaching staff has been shaken up, with new offensive coordinator Brian Hartline assuming play-calling duties. Day has experimented with Hartline, who served as a receivers coach last season, as the offensive play-caller in the spring. Smith said Day initiated the conversation about possibly handing over play-calling duties to Hartline, a development that Smith welcomed. Smith turned over the decision of whether to hand over play-calling responsibilities to Hartline to Day, as stated during the hiring process.
However, Day remains the chief decision-maker when it comes to personnel decisions within the team. From assistant coaches to support staffers, Day has the final say. Smith describes the process as collaboration, and he believes that hiring Day was the right decision. Smith says he has faith that Day will turn things around for the Buckeyes in the next game against the Wolverines.
Should the Buckeyes lose to the Wolverines for a third straight season, it would mark the team’s first string of three consecutive rivalry defeats since 1995-1997. Nonetheless, Smith remains confident that Day is the right leader for Ohio State and that he will succeed.
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