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Ohio State head coach Ryan Day is already busy despite just taking the reins of the football team

Not only does Day have to wait and see who declares for the NFL Draft, but he also has to decide how he wants to run the team.

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Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual - Washington v Ohio State Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

“We have a great program intact here. Im going to be very careful about changing too many things just to change them. I’m somebody that’s pretty confident in my own skin. I understand there are things in place here that have been here for a reason.”

New Ohio State head coach Ryan Day via Bill Rabinowitz, The Columbus Dispatch

Now the real work begins for new Ohio State head coach Ryan Day. After Ohio State’s 28-23 victory over Washington, retiring head coach Urban Meyer took his whistle and gave it to Day, signifying a changing of the guard at head coach for the Buckeyes. Day didn’t take long in making his first big move as head coach, bringing in Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich to serve as passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach, a role that Day held for the past two seasons.

Now Day will be playing a bit of a waiting game the next couple of weeks, as the Buckeyes will wait to hear what the intentions of quarterback Dwayne Haskins, wide receiver K.J. Hill, and a number of other players are when it comes to entering the NFL Draft. Depending on how many players decide to move on to the professional level will determine how much room the Buckeyes have when it comes to scholarships for high school recruits for the February signing day.

Another important area in which Day will have to wait on will be whether Georgia quarterback Justin Fields decides to transfer to Ohio State. The freshman put his name in the NCAA transfer portal, and could be an immediate replacement for Haskins at quarterback if the redshirt sophomore decides to enter the NFL Draft, as many are expecting him to.

The most encouraging news for Buckeye fans is Day already knows there are many great practices in place, and he isn’t going to change things just to change things. It’s easy to see why Day is likely to leave many things intact after seeing the level of success Ohio State has achieved under Urban Meyer. There are some areas that Day will likely identify that need tweaking, but the blueprint for success is right under the new head coach’s nose.

“We’re leaving a legacy. We took Zone 6 to new heights, statistically, characteristically, we’ve left big shoes to fill, but the guys behind us are ready to take that next step and be the next great wideouts to come out of Ohio State, so I have no doubt they’re gonna keep the tradition going and make it even better.”

Ohio State wide receiver Terry McLaurin via Wyatt Crosher, The Lantern

The Rose Bowl wasn’t only the final game at Ohio State for head coach Urban Meyer, but it also marked the end of the college careers of wide receivers Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, and Terry McLaurin. The trio of wide receivers were named team captains prior to the season, and they certainly didn’t disappoint, finishing with a combined 167 catches, 2,433 yards, and 31 touchdowns in their final season.

Not only did the seniors produce on the field, but they were tasked with setting a standard for some of the younger wide receivers on the Ohio State roster. When Austin Mack was injured in the Purdue game, freshman Chris Olave saw his role expand. The influence of Campbell, Dixon, and McLaurin helped Olave work through some of the issues he was going through on and off the field. After working with the trio, Olave was able to step up when the Buckeyes needed him most against Michigan and Northwestern.

Now with their final game at Ohio State behind them, the seniors aren’t worried about the wide receivers taking a step back next year. Not only do the wideouts have Olave and Mack returning to build on the high expectations that the trio set, but they also have some talented receivers like Garrett Wilson coming into the fold. The bar has been set, now it is up to those returning to continue the tradition.

Despite not stepping on the field in any regular season games, former Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett is certainly having a rookie season that many won’t forget anytime soon. Barrett was released yesterday by the Saints, marking the 22nd transaction this season involving the former Buckeye. Barrett was signed by the Saints as an undrafted free agent following the 2018 NFL Draft, and after being released by the team in late August as part of the team’s final roster cuts, Barrett was signed or released from the practice squad in 20 transactions.

There is no official explanation as to why the Saints have signed and released Barrett from the practice squad so much, but it is likely the Saints want an extra pair of eyes on the sidelines during games, but they also know Barrett is unlikely to be signed by another team so they can release him when they need to free up some roster space.

Even if that is what the Saints are trying to do, this seems like an extreme number of signings and releasing of one player by the same team throughout the season. With the Saints being in the NFL Playoffs, all those transactions would likely be worth it for Barrett if the Saints do go on to win the Super Bowl and Barrett is awarded a ring for being a part of the practice squad.

Former Ohio State walk-on Nate Ebner was named as the New England Patriots 2018 recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award, which honors NFL players who best exemplify the principles of courage and sportsmanship while also serving as a source of inspiration. Ebner and the winners from the 31 other NFL teams will be honored at the Ed Block Courage Award banquet in Baltimore in March.

This year marked Ebner’s seventh season with the Patriots, and after tearing his ACL early in the 2017 season, Ebner returned to lead the Patriots with 13 special teams tackles during the 2018 season. Ebner is the third former Buckeye to be named as an Ed Block Courage Award winner this season, as previous Ryan Shazier of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jeff Heuerman of the Denver Broncos were named as recipients of the award.