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Ryan Day is built to handle the pressure of coaching at Ohio State

Even though this will be Ryan Day’s first job as head coach, his confidence and calm demeanor should lead him to success at Ohio State.

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

“Some people say, ‘What if you lose? What if you lost to the Team Up North? What if you don’t win the Big Ten Championship? What if you don’t?’ My answer is: What if I do?”

Ohio State football head coach Ryan Day via George Schroeder, USA TODAY

There is always uncertainty in a college football program when there is a head coaching change, but things have seemed to go a little smoother for Ryan Day at Ohio State, who is taking over for the retired Urban Meyer. Some of the concerns about Day stepping in as head coach have been calmed since Ohio State got a sneak peak of Day at head coach last year when he was Ohio State’s interim head coach for the first three games of the season.

Even though Urban Meyer was still Ohio State’s head coach last fall, athletic director Gene Smith picked the brain of Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione on how he knew Lincoln Riley was the right choice to succeed Bob Stoops. Some of the answers that Castiglione gave Smith on how knew Riley was the right fit were a lot of what Smith had seen from Day.

While Day may have very limited experience at head coach, he does have a tremendous support system of coaches he has known for years and worked for to lean on and bounce ideas off of. The biggest of those influences is UCLA head coach Chip Kelly, who Day has known for decades. Along with Kelly, a heavy influence on Day as a head coach is former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, who is still with the school as assistant athletic director. Day seeks the advice of Meyer almost daily, and who better to reach out to than the man who went 83-9 at Ohio State.

Even in his early days as an assistant, Day always tried to think like a head coach thinks. He knows that not only does he have to think two weeks away, but he also has to think two months away, and two years away. Even though Day will be a head coach for the first time in his career, he knows how much work must be put into running a prestigious program like Ohio State, and he will be ready for everything that is thrown at him.

“I would say concern-wise, the O-line just because we’ve lost four real guys there, and Thayer didn’t play in the spring. So how’s that all going to look when we get into the preseason? We do have some guys coming in which is good. We’ve got the cavalry coming, which is important.”

Ohio State football head coach Ryan Day via Colin Hass-Hill, Eleven Warriors

Ryan Day’s first year as Ohio State head coach will likely hinge on how well an offensive line that lost four starters from last year’s team is able to gel. Spring practices helped Day to get an idea on what he will be working with this year on the offensive line, but it didn’t come anywhere close to telling the whole picture. Not only did Thayer Munford miss all of spring practice due to injury, but Rutgers transfer Jonah Jackson hasn’t yet arrived in Columbus.

Ohio State’s depth on the offensive line during spring practices wasn’t ideal, with the Buckeyes barely having enough to put together two lines, when they normally prefer to use three lines in practices. The depth will be boosted over the summer not only with Munford and Jackson being available, but they’ll also see a few freshmen make it to campus. Five-star center Harry Miller, four-star guard Enokk Vimahi, and three-star tackle Dawand Jones will join the team over the summer. Even though none of the three are projected to start, it will help fill out the lines for practice.

Munford was one of Ohio State’s best offensive linemen last year, and should be the leader of this year’s squad. Wyatt Davis started the last two games of the season last year, showing why he was the top-rated guard prospect in his class. Jackson showed what he can do on the field when he was at Rutgers, giving him the upper hand at the left guard position. With Josh Myers taking over for Michael Jordan at center, that leaves the biggest question for Ohio State being right tackle. Branden Bowen and Nicholas Petit-Frere figure to be the two in the mix for the spot.

Even though the offensive line might leave a lot to be concerned about now, things could change by the time the season starts. The players who are projected to start are certainly talented enough to fill the holes on the offensive line. What will be the deciding factor on how Ohio State’s season goes is how quickly they adapt to Ryan Day’s offense and if they are able to adequately protect Justin Fields. If the offensive line can get a handle on that early on, it could lead to a big season in Day’s first season as head coach.

“It’s basically like six meals a day. Huge meals. Waking up in the middle of the night and eating something else. It’s a constant battle.”

Ohio State offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere via Patrick Murphy, Bucknuts

Many college students would feel blessed if they could eat as much food as Nicholas Petit-Frere, but the Ohio State offensive lineman doesn’t quite feel the same. Petit-Frere came to Ohio State at 272 pounds, but that wasn’t anywhere close to where he needed to be, since most of the Ohio State offensive linemen weigh close to 300 pounds or even more.

With the help of strength coach Mickey Marotti and nutritionists on staff, Petit-Frere is up to 295 pounds. Even though he has been able to put on weight, Petit-Frere can’t take a break, as a fast metabolism has him at risk of losing some of the weight he worked so hard to put on. Petit-Frere is eating around six meals a day, and those meals aren’t for the faint of heart, as he is putting down burgers, chicken wings, meaty breakfast sandwiches, and plenty of other foods to help him keep the weight on.

The insane amount of eating Petit-Frere is doing isn’t all for nothing, as he is projected to compete with Branden Bowen for the right tackle spot. Petit-Frere came to Ohio State as the top-rated offensive tackle prospect in the country, and if the redshirt freshman is able to earn a starting spot, he could lock up the right tackle position in Columbus for the next couple of years.