Day went 3-0 leading the fourth-ranked Buckeyes during head coach Urban Meyer’s suspension.
Meyer, who was allowed to participate in practice and planning the past two weeks, returns to full duties Sunday and is expected to be on the sideline Sept. 22 when Ohio State hosts Tulane. The school suspended Meyer three games for mishandling allegations of domestic abuse against former assistant Zach Smith.
“I got so much help from these players, and from the coaching staff, [co-offensive coordinator] Kevin Wilson and [defensive coordinator] Greg Schiano,” Day said. “What Greg Schiano’s done for me in the last month is something I’ll never forget. He’s the classiest person I’ve ever been around in the coaching profession, the way he’s handled himself, helping me along the way, counseling me on day-to-day stuff.”
Day, 39, only joined the Ohio State coaching staff last year but was picked as acting head coach over both Schiano, the former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, and Wilson, the former Indiana coach. They led Ohio State during training camp while Meyer was on leave and subsequently suspended, before Meyer returned to some duties Sept. 2, the day after the Buckeyes’ season-opening win over Oregon State.
Asked if he would consider retiring with an undefeated head-coaching record, Day joked, “Sure.”
Day deflected questions about the significance of the three-game stretch for his own career, crediting the staff, players and Meyer for building a program that could handle turbulence.
“We’re just so excited to get [Meyer] back next week,” Day said. “The culture that he’s built here is amazing, the foundation that he’s built here. That’s what got us through these first three games and through preseason. The players that have been recruited here, the coaches that are here have kept this thing going.
“I’m just humbled to be part of such a great tradition.”
Day told Ohio State’s players to “prepare for a fight” against TCU after easy wins against Oregon State and Rutgers. Ohio State fell behind 21-13 early in the third quarter before scoring 20 unanswered points to take the lead, which it never relinquished.
“Is there an A-plus-plus?” quarterback Dwayne Haskins said when asked to grade Day’s performance as acting head coach. “He’s done really good.”