LOS ANGELES — Ohio State has a big challenge ahead of it when the Buckeyes take on Washington in the 105thRose Bowl game Tuesday afternoon.
So does offensive coordinator Ryan Day who has to get his side of the team ready, while also facing the reality of taking over as head coach on Wednesday.
“Every day a little more,” Day said about it sinking in he would be the next Ohio State head coach. “The first thing on the list was recruiting and, obviously, that went well. Now it’s getting ready for this bowl game. But every day a little bit more.”
After seven seasons at the helm, Urban Meyer will be stepping down as head coach and assuming a position as an assistant athletics director for OSU. The two have continued to work well together as they prepare for the game and the transition.
“It’s actually been even smoother than I thought it would be,” said Day, who is finishing up his second season on the OSU staff after coaching quarterbacks for two years in the NFL. “It’s been really good and things have been kind of business as usual. Then on the (Jan. 2) we go from there.”
The business as usual entails getting the No. 6 Buckeyes (12-1) ready to play No. 9 Washington (10-3).
“They make you work the thing down the field,” Day said. “They’re not going to give you big plays. So we’re going to have to do a good job there.”
A big part of getting the job done will fall to quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who has thrown for 4,580 yards and 47 touchdowns this season.
“I just think what our offensive line has done to get him into a rhythm in these games is remarkable,” Day said. “You look at some of those games, he’s actually untouched at times, which is when he can set his feet in the pocket and throw the ball — that’s when he’s at his best.”
- Day on why he’s a good fit as the next Ohio State head coach: “My philosophy and values are so much in line with what’s here right now, and I want to keep that culture going and the infrastructure this year going right now.”
- Day on if Haskins can succeed in the NFL: “I do think he has a chance to be really successful in the NFL. When and how and the situation, obviously, is something that we have to look at after the Rose Bowl. But when you look at what he’s done this season, it’s been very, very impressive.”
- Day on Washington linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven (164 tackles): “He’s right there every time. He’s a really good player. Diagnoses plays at a high, high level. Plays really hard. You can tell he is kind of the heartbeat of that whole defense.”
- Day on Washington’s secondary: “Talking to guys who’ve played against them, they, again, diagnose plays, they break on the ball, really good cover skills. So maybe one of the best secondaries we’ve seen all year.”