Ryan Day Discusses Giving Up Playcalling Duties And Bringing Chip Kelly To Ohio State (2024)

A new episode of Big Noon Conversations hosted by FOX's lead college football analyst Joel Klatt was released on Monday. In the nearly 24 minute episode, Klatt sat down in the office of Ohio State Buckeyes' head coach Ryan Day for a one-on-one interview.

There was a lot covered during the insightful interview, but one theme came up towards the beginning of the interview and cycled back around towards the end. That theme was about Ryan Day making the decision to give up his own playcalling duties and then getting Chip Kelly to come to Ohio State.

Klatt got the ball rolling on this topic just a few minutes into the interview by stating, "You made a giant decision. You're one of the best playcallers that I've ever been around and you decided to step away from that role and bring in an offensive coordinator. Before we talk about who you brought in, take me through the decision to step away from playcalling duties."

Day went on to explain his thought process and it is likely one that resonates with many college football coaches in the current era of recruiting, plus the transfer portal and NIL as well.

"As you move up, you've got to give up and that wasn't easy for me," said Day. "I feel like the time is right, now. With the transfer portal, with NIL, it was more and more energy and time that needs to be focused on the players in those areas. I also think that it's going to allow me the opportunity to be more present with the team, especially later in the season."

Ryan Day Discusses Giving Up Playcalling Duties And Bringing Chip Kelly To Ohio State (1)

The current era of college football is certainly more of a challenge from a coaching perspective. Head coaches are wearing many different hats as they run a program. This is all new with many moving pieces in the landscape of the game, especially in the offseason.

By giving up playcalling duties, Day seems to feel that this will allow him to be even more invested in the recruits, potential transfers and current players throughout the year. Perhaps that is something already paying off as the Buckeyes currently have the top ranked 2025 recruiting class and also have numerous veterans who returned to the program for this next season.

Some coaches have not necessarily liked what feels like more of a CEO role, just managing everything and perhaps not getting to coach as much football specifics as coaches once had the time to do.

One head coach who wanted to feel like he was coaching football was UCLA's Chip Kelly. After leaving the UCLA job to join Day's staff at Ohio State as the offensive coordinator, Kelly told Pat McAfee, "I really enjoy coaching. I really enjoy being with the players. I really enjoy the relationships you have when you’re in the meeting room...The opportunity to come here and just coach football and not have to do the things that a head coach is asked to do now in college football appealed to me.”

Ryan Day Discusses Giving Up Playcalling Duties And Bringing Chip Kelly To Ohio State (2)

As most Ohio State fans know at this point, Ryan Day and Chip Kelly have a long history. Day played under Kelly as the quarterback at New Hampshire from 1998-2001. After Day graduated, they both coached on the same staff in 2002. Kelly was the offensive coordinator and Day served as the tight ends coach.

Years later in 2015, Chip Kelly was the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL and hired Ryan Day to be his QB coach. Just one year later, Kelly became the 49ers head coach and Day made the move with him to be QB coach.

Now the roles are reversed with Ryan Day being the head man of Ohio State and Chip Kelly serving as the offensive coordinator. Day explained some of the behind the scenes information in his interview with Joel Klatt.

"When the decision was made to hire an offensive coordinator, I had an A-list, a B-list and then kind of a C-list. Chip was on the A-list and so was Bill O'Brien," stated Day. "The timing wasn't right, I kind of reached out to Chip and said 'Hey, I know this is kind of a crazy idea. What do you think?' I don't think it was easy for him. He had a lot going on."

As we know at this point, Kelly did not end up jumping on that initial offer and the Buckeyes needed to make a decision for recruiting purposes. The Buckeyes brought in Bill O'Brien, but that was short-lived due to a head coaching opportunity at Boston College luring the offensive coordinator away in the matter of a few weeks.

Day said he then called Chip Kelly to try one more time. Although it wasn't easy, Kelly's desire to get back to just coaching football made for a great fit. Day went on to add, "It allows me to handle some of this other stuff."

In many ways having Chip Kelly at Ohio State to run the offense feels like an excellent match on the field. Behind the scenes may actually be where this allows Day to shine in his role as the Buckeyes look to strengthen their current unit in hopes of a National Championship. At the same time, Day and his staff are laser-focused on continuing to build a strong group for the future as well.

Ryan Day Discusses Giving Up Playcalling Duties And Bringing Chip Kelly To Ohio State (2024)

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