The head coach of a big-time football program is a select fraternity. Being the head man at a program such as Ohio State is also a job like few others in the country: Expectations are to the moon and back. It’s a fishbowl where you have to beat Michigan, make a run for the College Football Playoff national championship — and, oh yeah — beat teams you are supposed to handle easily by a margin wider than the Grand Canyon.
So far, there is a large population of Ohio State football fans that aren’t feeling the vibes of the Ryan Day era. Two straight losses to Michigan that include being eliminated from a shot at a Big Ten title whip the armchair quarterbacks into a frenzy.
Couple that with no national titles and there’s no offset to make the restless scarlet and gray natives happy. Even coming so achingly close to knocking off Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl didn’t seem to quiet the doubters despite Day holding a 45-6 record as head coach in Columbus.
Again, lofty expectations.
But someone in the Buckeye coaching fraternity has come out in support of Day: beloved former OSU coach Jim Tressel.
If anyone is qualified to speak on how an Ohio State head coach is doing, it’s the sweater-vested senator himself. He turned the tide in the Michigan rivalry by losing just once in 10 tries against the evil empire, brought home a national championship in 2002 by beating the “unbeatable” Miami Hurricanes, won the Big Ten seven times and made a national championship game appearance three times. He had a 106-22 overall record.
So yeah, Tressel has the authority to speak on what kind of job Day is doing on the banks of the Olentangy.
While speaking to the Hall of Fame Luncheon Club in Canton, Ohio on Monday, Tressel touched on the job he thinks Day is doing, and where he believes the program is headed under his watch.
“I’m a Ryan Day fan,” Tressel said, according to a story from cantonrep.com. “I think he’s got something about him.”
Tressel didn’t stop there and said that the program will be just fine heading into the future. He even spoke about the emerging utilization of the transfer portal and name, image and likeness (NIL), something Day and staff haven’t necessarily figured out just yet (welcome to the club).
“The people who spend a lot of time whining about (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.”
Only time and results will tell whether Tressel’s opinion of the program under Day is right, at least in the eyes of those that plan their weekends around the television watching Ohio State football in the fall.
First things first, Day needs to beat back the colors of maize and blue this November. Then things will begin to fall in place — unless, of course, the Buckeyes lose to Notre Dame, Wisconsin or Penn State along the way.
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