COLUMBUS -- Ryan Day rather definitively shot down rumors he could be interested in leaving Ohio State for the Chicago Bears.
“Yeah, I mean, I’d just tell you what I told the recruits if any of that ever came up,” Day said Wednesday. “There’s nothing to that. There’s no truth to it, and the second thing is I love Ohio State. And I love being the head coach at Ohio State.”
A report from CBS Sports published Sunday linked Day to the Bears through his agent, Trace Armstrong.
Armstrong is a former Bears player who represents Day along with several other high-profile clients, including new USC coach Lincoln Riley, and Day is often linked with the NFL because he spent two seasons as an assistant in the league before coming to Ohio State in 2017.
He has also developed a reputation as a passing game guru and developer of quarterbacks, including first-round picks Dwayne Haskins Jr. and Justin Fields.
However, Armstrong wasted little time shooting down the report.
“I have the utmost respect for the Chicago Bears organization, the McCaskey family (who own the Bears) and Ted Phillips,” he wrote on Twitter on Sunday morning. “However, any assertion that I have engaged in conversations with them about joining the club in any capacity is simply not true.”
Day was less forthcoming about the composition of his staff beyond the Jan. 1 matchup with Utah in the Rose Bowl.
Which Ohio State assistants will remain beyond that game has been the subject of much speculation over the past two weeks, but Day has insisted on waiting to address any of it with one exception.
Last week he announced the hiring of Jim Knowles to be the team’s new defensive coordinator starting Jan. 2.
Knowles will make $1.9 million next season and replace someone on the current staff after coming over from Oklahoma State, but who that is remains to be seen.
“We’re going to kind of start fresh on the 2nd,” Day said. “He is going to come for a couple days and just kind of get a lay of the land, meet with a few folks, but I don’t think it’s the right thing to do to have him out at practice. I just think that our staff is intact right now and we’re going to do a great job playing in the Rose Bowl.”
In the meantime, all of the 2021 assistants remain on the job recruiting and preparing for the matchup with the Utes.
Day said he has had discussions about their futures with them but downplayed the idea having some members in limbo at this time is novel.
“Yeah, I mean, every year there’s always going to be stuff,” he said. “If we do well, then the opportunities are going to be all over the place for our guys (to get promotions elsewhere), and if we don’t do well, there’s going to be situations where guys are concerned with losing their jobs. You know, it’s just kind of the way of the world — not that I agree with it, but that’s just the way it is. And so this year is (not) unlike any other year. There’ll be things that come up and we’ll just try to adapt with them as we go, but right now I know our whole staff is just focused on this Rose Bowl.”
Day did confirm the overall structure of the defense will not change drastically under Knowles.
He still plans to play with a four-man front, two traditional linebackers, four defensive backs and a hybrid player with the traits of a linebacker and defensive back.
“Jim will have his own flavor to things and what he sees and talent and those type of things, but schematically, we’re looking for the same type of players,” Day said. “Jim certainly didn’t have an opportunity to recruit through a whole calendar year with this class right here, but you know, in terms of the four down and two linebackers and you know, having that kind of outside guy who can play nickel or bringing in a bigger guy against bigger personnel, and then four DBs in the game, so kind of a four to five like we’ve been working towards.”
Jan, 1, 2022
Utah vs. Ohio State, 5 p.m., ESPN, 1410