Since Urban Meyer took over the Ohio State football program in 2012, the Buckeyes have led the Big Ten in scoring or total offense every year except for 2015. When Ryan Day took over in 2019, he improved the metric by leading in both each year — and by a lot.
In 2019, the Buckeyes led the conference in scoring at 46.9 points per game. Penn State was the next closest team, averaging 35.8 points per game. In total offense, Ohio State was tops with 529.9 yards per game. Wisconsin was second, but way back at 433.2 yards per game.
Last year, the Buckeyes led the Big Ten in scoring at 41.0 points per game. Iowa finished second with 31.8 points per game. Ohio State led in yardage with 519.4, with Penn State second at 430.3 yards per game.
Having the Big Ten’s best offense has become the standard at Ohio State, and Day doesn’t want it to stop now. The fact that the Buckeyes are choosing from three inexperienced quarterbacks this year is relevant, and yet irrelevant at the same time.
“We don’t have a choice,” Day said at the close of spring practice. “I tell the guys all the time, we have to. Whatever that means. That’s the desperation that we have to wake up with every day as a coaching staff, as players. I tell the guys all the time I wake up scared every day that people will want what we have.”
There is little doubt that the rest of the conference would love to have what Ohio State has, but one of the reasons Ohio State has what it does is because of the standard that has been set long before Day’s arrival. The Buckeyes work each day to live up to it, regardless of how many starters return on offense or freshmen are in the two-deep.
“So the expectation’s been set, we know that,” Day said. “It was the same expectation when I was fortunate enough to be the head coach a couple years ago, and the expectation hasn’t changed. And it won’t in 20 years here at Ohio State. We’re expected to be the best, and with that comes great responsibility.”
No program in the Big Ten recruits as well as Ohio State, so the talent should always be there to produce at the top of the conference. But having the talent on hand is just one part of the equation.
For Day and his program, it starts with waking up every morning with the proper mindset and a targeted plan for reaching that day’s goal.
And even though Day may be talking about the Ohio State offense, his words apply to the entire program, be it players, coaches, and staff. As with anything, talent can only get you so far. It’s the drive that gets you to the top.
“So we’ll just wake up every day and just grind,” he said. “Again, I keep using the word ‘obsessed.’ I mean, our players have to become obsessed with maximizing themselves in the weight room, watching film, and getting themselves prepared to play against Minnesota.”