By the time Hurricane Urban blew out of Gainesville eight years ago, nobody really understood what kind of cultural rot had seeped into the place and how long it would take to remove it. In some ways, frankly, Florida football has never been the same.
From the outside, Ohio State today appears to be on more solid ground than Florida was in 2010 when Urban Meyer stepped aside, citing his health as the primary reason he could not continue. Still, it’s never easy to follow a legend, which prompts a question as Meyer once again abruptly leaves the stage: Does either Ohio State or Ryan Day know what they’re in for?
Though the 39-year old Day was both the natural and obvious in-house successor once it became clear at midseason that Meyer was at least contemplating retirement, promoting him under these circumstances is still a decision fraught with risk on both sides.
For the Buckeyes, it’s a huge gamble on the potential of their offensive coordinator, who has been in the mix for some Power Five jobs the last couple years but none approaching the magnitude of Ohio State.
And for Day, while it’s the career opportunity of a lifetime, it’s also a massive task to replace a coach who won 90% of his games over the last seven seasons because almost anything he does short of that will be viewed as a failure by a fan base that is accustomed to greatness.
On one hand, you can understand Ohio State’s thinking. Day will presumably keep a lot of Meyer’s staff in place as well as his offensive system, easing the transition for current players and recruits who are already in the pipeline.
The model for this has been Oklahoma, which successfully handed off the program from Bob Stoops to Lincoln Riley in the summer of 2017 and subsequently made consecutive College Football Playoff appearances.
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