The Colorado Buffaloes are in the midst of finding their next head football coach. We’re here to break down the top candidates and grade them based on how they would fit in at Colorado.
Ryan Day is a 39-year-old offensive coordinator for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Day is in his second season in Columbus and served as acting head coach during Urban Meyer’s three-game absence. With J.T. Barrett and Dwayne Haskins operating in wide-open systems, the Buckeyes have had elite offenses under Day, and although they have had inconsistencies as a team, that should mostly fall on their defense. He’s one of the more revered assistants in college and it’s only a matter of time before he gets a big-time head coaching gig.
Before his time at OSU, Day was an assistant in the NFL with the 49ers (2016) and Eagles (2015) as QB coach. Both teams were offensive disasters under Chip Kelly as head coach, so I’ll give Day the benefit of the doubt. Those teams were also bereft of talent, which is most evident in that Jordan Matthews and Jeremy Kerley were the most targeted receives in those respective years. Before then, he was an OC and QB coach at Boston College and Temple, which were both solid offensively despite difficulties bringing in talent.
In the NFL and now with OSU, Day’s teams have leaned towards an open passing attack with room for a mobile quarterback to run. With a decent offensive line and accurate QB, his offenses can score bunches against elite defenses, just as the Buckeyes did in torching Michigan on Saturday. This is to be expected considering Day coached under Meyer, Kelly and Matt Rhule at Temple. If the Buffs can bring in a solid o-line coach, Montez and those weapons would be a strong pull for Day. He would very likely fix that broken offense.
Recruiting & Player Development
It’s difficult to isolate Day’s impact as a recruiter considering he’s been coaching under Urban Meyer at a prestigious football power, but it seems that he’s solid in that respect. In Ohio State’s 2019 class, Day is tied to 5-star WR Garrett Wilson and 4-star QB Dwan Mathis. There’s also the downside that Day doesn’t have direct ties to CU’s recruiting areas in California and Texas.
Day fares better in the player development part, though he hasn’t stayed in a position for longer than two years, so that too is difficult to see. Under his tutelage at Ohio State, he’s coached Haskins into Heisman contention, as a well as receivers K.J. Hill and Parris Campbell. There’s a quite a number of young studs there who are being developed for next year.
Day clearly loves the sport and is a bright mind, but his teams haven’t always been the most focused. He might be too laid back to bring this Colorado team the discipline they need.
Day would likely cost less than established head coaches considering the job, but he’s not a cheap. Ohio State is paying him $1 million annually and it’s likely he wants a significant pay raise.
Interest in Colorado
Day seems to always have a wandering eye for something bigger and better. He doesn’t have ties to Colorado or anywhere in the West, so it seems that if he’s eyeing the job, it’s only to be a stepping stone.
Cumulative GPA: 3.00
Day is clearly a great coach, but he doesn’t seem to fit with Colorado as well as other candidates like Jimmy Lake or Derek Mason. He would be a a big name to bring in and he would certainly get the offense back on track, but there’s a strong chance Day will spend his time in Boulder waiting for Urban Meyer to retire.