Ryan Day Hires Urban Meyer's Son-in-Law as QB Coach
Ohio State coach Ryan Day is taking a chance by giving someone the same chance he received long ago.
OSU confirmed Friday what's been all but official since Mike Yurcich departed as quarterback coach to become offensive coordinator at Texas following the Buckeyes' loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinals at the Fiesta Bowl.
Corey Dennis, who served as a quality control coach with quarterbacks under Yurcich this past season, has been elevated to full-time assistant and will coach Justin Fields and OSU's three other QBs this fall.
Dennis met and married Nicki Meyer, the daughter of Urban Meyer, when he played football and she played volleyball at Georgia Tech.
Dennis had been positioned to leave OSU and take a job as an assistant on Steve Addazio's staff at Colorado State after Addazio was hired following his firing from Boston College.
The CSU search committee that recommended Addazio's hiring included Meyer, for whom Addazio worked at Florida from 2005-10, including as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator in 2009 and 2010.
Day also worked at Florida during that time as a graduate assistant coach and eventually wound up working for Addazio at Temple and Boston College.
“Corey is a talented young coach and someone I’ve worked closely alongside for three seasons,” Day said. “He knows our system and he knows how we teach. I think he is going to allow us to develop some continuity in the quarterback room, and that’s important. I also believe that he is going to be an excellent recruiter for us.”
Dennis' hiring indeed makes sense for continuity reasons with Fields, who threw for 41 touchdowns against only three interceptions this past season at OSU.
Day calls the plays for Ohio State and is heavily involved in coaching quarterbacks.
When secondary coach/co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley left OSU to become the head coach at Boston College, Day repeatedly stressed he would hire the best secondary coach in the country as his replacement.
Dennis' age and inexperience makes it implausible for Day to make that characterization of him, but he can make the argument Dennis' familiarity with Fields and how OSU structures its coaching of that position makes Dennis the right hire.
The risk is, if Fields goes backward in 2020, Day will be subjected to the same second-guessing that dogged Meyer in 2018 when OSU's linebackers performed poorly.
The blame for that fell hard on then-linebackers coach Bill Davis, with the frequent lament being Davis obtained his job because he was Meyer's long-time friend and the best man at his wedding.
Davis had an NFL resume that included stints with multiple teams, but to critics he was simply Meyer's best friend and therefore an easy target.
Dennis gets high marks from two quarterbacks he's worked with at Ohio State, LSU's Joe Burrow and the Washington Redskins Dwayne Haskins.
“I think Corey is going to be a really good coach for a long time,” Burrow said. “I texted him as soon as I saw the news and was fired up for him. He's worked for that for a long time, and there's nobody more deserving. He's going to be a really good coach. I'm excited for him.”
Dennis received credit from Haskins in the midst of the 2018 season when he threw for 50 touchdowns and wound up third in the Heisman Trophy balloting.
“Basically [Dennis] is like my personal quarterbacks coach when Coach Day is not around,” Haskins said. "I can ask him about looks, coverages, different pressures — and he has everything that Coach Day teaches him."
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