There’s a new Marvel animated show called “What If?” that features stories from different universes and timelines that contemplate scenarios other than the main storyline.
In the college football universe, one of those could be what if current Ohio State coach Ryan Day had accepted an assistant coaching position at Oregon during the Chip Kelly days.
The two coaches are both from New Hampshire and were on the same staff for the Wildcats for a season in 2002 when Day was the tight ends coach and Kelly was the offensive coordinator. Day was Kelly’s quarterback for four years before that, so the two are close friends, even to this day.
When Kelly got the job as Oregon’s offensive coordinator in 2007 and then head coach two years later, getting Day to be on the staff would have been a natural fit. At the time Kelly was promoted to helm the Ducks’ ship, Day was the receivers coach at Boston College.
“We talked several times about going there (Oregon),” Day said. “It was hard for me at the time. We just had RJ (Day’s son) and we thought long and hard about doing it, but it was just too far to go at the time. With a young family, I didn’t want to go across the country.”
The conversation about Day leaving the East Coast to come out West wasn’t just a one-time thing. Kelly and Day talked about this scenario for years, and yet, the stars never aligned in Eugene.
They did align, however, in Philadelphia when Day joined Kelly’s staff in his last season as the head coach of the Eagles. Day was the quarterbacks coach and eventually decided that the move to the West Coast was the prudent decision as Day followed Kelly to San Francisco for the 2016 season before Ohio State snatched him up to be the offensive coordinator in 2017 and eventually the head coach when Urban Meyer “retired.”
So what if Day did accept a job at Oregon? Would he have been the offensive coordinator instead of Mark Helfrich? Would Oregon have hired Day to be Kelly’s replacement when he bolted for the NFL?
So many questions and no answers. Kelly never discussed hypotheticals with the media, but this one could have changed the course for a number of college football and NFL programs across the country.