Is Ryan Day Morphing Into John Cooper?

July 15, 2023

Andy Billman

Ryan Day’s Coaching Style: Echoes of John Cooper?

Back to Back Losses to Wolverines

After the loss to the hated Michigan Wolverines in 2022, Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day, who at multiple points in his tenure was loved by the Buckeye nation became the dreaded goat of the Scarlet and Gray fandom.  That’s what back-to-back disappointing losses to the Wolverines will do to a fanbase and rightly so, both losses were gut-wrenching as the Buckeyes in both games were clear favorites, only to end up with the “L”.  

Ohio State dominated the series from 2001-2019 winning 16 out of 18 contests with five of the six victories for Ohio State being 10 points or more.  The Buckeyes made a rivalry feel uncompetitive at the end of that stretch.

And then back-to-back losses later, and all is forgotten about the domination from 2001-2019.  Coach Day is now 1-2 against Michigan. 

The John Cooper Era

Following the second straight defeat in a row to Michigan, it reminded me of the mid-1990s Buckeyes and Ohio State’s former football coach, John Cooper.  Cooper was a good coach who recruited well and always prioritized recruiting top-tier talent, leading to consistently strong rosters.  His teams were consistently ranked in the top 15 throughout his tenure and the Buckeyes were great in the Big Ten conference, except against Michigan. 

On the sidelines, especially when facing Michigan, Cooper consistently exhibited an anxious demeanor, akin to someone urgently needing to use the restroom. Through his facial expressions, mannerisms, and body language, it was evident that he often anticipated mishaps and, unfortunately, they frequently occurred against Michigan. His coaching approach seemed to be tinged with fatalism rather than negative motivation. Cooper appeared to approach the Michigan games with a sense of inevitability as if he already anticipated defeat.

Despite leading the Buckeyes to five impressive 10-win seasons and securing berths in four significant bowl games (one Rose Bowl, one Outback Bowl, and three Sugar Bowls) in his final five seasons, Cooper struggled in postseason contests (3-8) and faced consistent defeats at the hands of Michigan (2-10-1). Notably, he experienced three heartbreaking losses to Michigan, dashing Ohio State’s national championship aspirations in 1993, ’95, and ’96, even when the Buckeyes entered those matchups undefeated.

How Big is the Game Against That Team Up North This Year?!

Last year’s 2022 loss was very similar to the 1996 John Cooper lead team feeling after Michigan won, not good for Coach Day.  

That’s why it is imperative for Ryan Day to win this year against Michigan.  For how good Cooper was as a coach, not beating Michigan eventually got out of control ending his tenure unsuccessfully.  Cooper went 2-10-1 against the Wolverines and the rivalry became suffocating with the pressure to win “The Game”.    

Coach Day has done a lot in a short time in Columbus and has Ohio State competing every year for a national championship and even tamed the mighty Clemson Tigers, a school Ohio State was 0-4 all-time heading into the 2021 Sugar Bowl.  Heck, even Woody Hayes and Urban Meyer did not beat the Tigers, but Day finally scored a victory for the Bucks.

But the Clemson win, the talent, and all of the victories will be forgotten and the heat and spotlight will grow hotter and stronger if Coach Day can not beat Michigan in 2023.  Ask John Cooper!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you're a fan of Cleveland sports and want to stay up-to-date with the latest news, scores, and insights on your favorite teams, signing up for the Cleveland sports newsletter is a no-brainer.

Copyright © 2024 Believe In The Land

threads icon