While Ryan Day made a fantastic hire to get Bill O'Brien to be his new offensive coordinator and play-caller, that may only be short-lived. With former Ohio State assistant Jeff Hafley leaving Boston College for the Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator job, that highest perch up there in Chestnut Hill looks mighty appealing for the Boston native O'Brien. He is the favorite to take over for Hafley.
When asked by the media about what all is going on in Columbus, Day made it abundantly clear that no, he will not be calling plays on the Buckeyes sidelines this year. Hiring O'Brien was a way to rectify losing Kevin Wilson to the Tulsa job two years ago, as Brian Hartline is more of a coordinator in name than anything. He is a fantastic wide receivers coach and a tremendous recruiter. I will give him that.
Should O'Brien leave for Boston College, the expectation is that Day will just hire somebody else to replace him and be the primary play-caller, but it is not just going to be anybody. The fit has to be right, one who has plenty of experience calling plays at big-time programs like Ohio State. Prior to coming over from New England, O'Brien called plays over at Alabama and led the Houston Texans.
To lose O'Brien right after getting him because a friend in Hafley had enough would be so maddening.
Ryan Day is not planning on calling plays this season leading Ohio State
I am all in favor of this delegation of responsibilities by Day, even though I think he is a great offensive mind and play-caller. This is all about narrowing his level of focus intently on having his 2024 Ohio State team ready to compete week in and week out to win their first national championship since 2014. Ohio State is one of the four best teams in college football on paper, but paper only goes so far.
Right now, Ohio State is my pick to come out of the expanded 18-team Big Ten. The Buckeyes will face stiff competition next year, none more so than when they take on Dan Lanning's Oregon Ducks. That is the other team I think has a great shot of winning the league during its first year in the conference. That team could be special. Of course, the SEC has contenders like Georgia and Texas.
While Michigan is poised to pull back, as the Wolverines have lost so many coaches to the NFL because of Jim Harbaugh's Ann Arbor exit, there will be hell to pay if Day loses to The School Up North for the fourth year in a row. Last year's Michigan team won the College Football Playoff, but recently promoted head coach Sherrone Moore will be up against it trying to sustain this excellence.
By conceding play-calling to someone else, all the focus will be on Day as a CEO-type needed to win.