Buckeyes interim coach stays mum on scandal
Investigators didn’t quiz Day
The coordinator filling in for Urban Meyer while the Ohio State head coach serves a three-game suspension said on Monday that investigators did not interview him as part of their probe on what Meyer knew about domestic violence allegations made against another assistant coach.
Co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Ryan Day said in a news conference he had nothing to say about the investigation involving his boss as well as fired colleague Zach Smith, who had coached receivers.
Day declined to answer questions about the scandal, saying he was choosing not to comment “out of respect for everybody involved.”
Day has run the team since Meyer was put on leave two days before training camp opened Aug. 3.
Investigators said in a report released by Ohio State that they interviewed at least 40 witnesses, including key football staff members. Ohio State didn’t immediately respond to messages on Monday seeking comment on why Day wasn’t interviewed and which coaches were.
“Regarding the details of the investigation, I know everyone in here has a job to do, but I was not part of the investigation, I was not interviewed, so I have nothing to add,” Day said during his first media availability of the preseason.
Meyer was suspended last Wednesday following a two-week investigation that found Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith tolerated bad behavior for years, including allegations of domestic abuse against Zach Smith, the grandson of former Ohio State coach and Meyer mentor Earle Bruce.
“I understand there’s been a lot of pain and stress for a lot of people surrounding the last few weeks,” Day said. “Our program has been working hard, our coaches and team have been working hard during that time to get ready for the season.”
Regarding the uncertainty of the past three weeks over Meyer’s future with the program, Day said he didn’t see any signs of that wearing on players until Thursday morning when their demeanor made it clear they had stayed up late watching the televised news conference announcing the suspension.
Day is trying to prepare the Buckeyes for the first home opener in six years without Meyer on the sideline. It helps that they likely won’t have to do much heavy lifting. The Buckeyes host Oregon State, a 1-11 team last year that comes in as 38-point underdogs.
Day said he has gotten important support from co-offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, both of whom have experience as head coaches.
“It has been a whirlwind,” Day said. “But my goal in this was not to replace Coach [Meyer]. That’s not what I wanted to do. What I wanted to do was empower the coaches, empower the leaders and just keep this thing moving, and I think we’ve done that.”
Day said he’ll coach from the sideline and call the offensive plays in conjunction with Wilson. He said the team is being led as if Meyer was still present.
“Ryan is certainly qualified to do this,” Schiano said. “Kevin Wilson, myself and the rest of the staff have done this a long time. That all said, we have to step it up. We’re missing our leader, we’re one down right now.”
Day said former guard Michael Jordan will start at center, following the departure of Billy Price (Austintown Fitch), who was an All-American last season. Brady Taylor, who seemed to be the one to take over the starting role, also will play. ... Baron Browning will start at middle linebacker while Tuf Borland continues to recover from a leg injury, although Schiano said Borland may play. Pete Werner and Malik Harrison will be the starting outside linebackers. ... Day said that while Dwayne Haskins Jr. is the solid starter at quarterback, backup Tate Martell likely will play against the Beavers. ... Former West Virginia quarterback Chris Chugunov has been added to the roster as a graduate transfer.