Ohio State's Ryan Day Would Vote To Eliminate Kickoffs In Interest Of Player Safety

The third-year head coach noted the hardest collisions in any game occur on kickoffs.
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Despite having a returner that has put his offense in great field position several times this season, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said on Thursday that he would vote to eliminate kickoffs in the name of player safety.

“I would vote for doing away with kickoff and kick return” Day said during his weekly radio show on 97.1 The Fan, noting the number of hard collisions that occur on those plays. “For the safety of the players, I think that we should put the ball on the 25-yard line and start every drive right from there.

“If you want to do an onside (kick), that’s up to you. But once you get up there, you have to do an onside kick. That’s just my take on it moving forward. Whether that happens or not, I don’t know, but that’s my thought.”

The Buckeyes haven’t returned a kickoff for a touchdown since Jordan Hall went 85 yards for a score in the 37-7 win over Michigan in 2010, but freshman wide receiver Emeka Egbuka came close in Saturday’s game against Maryland, returning a second-quarter kickoff 67 yards to the Terrapins’ 29-yard line.

He also had returns of 46, 33 and 22 yards, bringing his total to 166 yards on the afternoon, the second-most in a single game in school history, trailing only Carlos Snow’s 213 yards on five returns in a 42-10 loss to Pittsburgh in 1988.

“As a kickoff returner, you have to be rugged and you have to be strong because there’s a lot of people coming down the field at you,” Day said. “You have to be able to take care of that football and stand in there and sometimes take some shots. He’s kind of the ideal guy for that.

“He’s courageous, but it’s also the guys in there in front of him that are blocking for him. He’s only good if the guys block for him, and they take a lot of pride in it. You’re starting to see we’re a couple blocks away.”

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