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Who are some candidates for our next quarterback coach
— Derek Jones (@derek_jones44) December 30, 2019
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Ohio State wasn’t caught off guard when a spot opened on the offensive staff, and it probably won’t need long to fill it.
The possibility of a mutual parting of ways between the Buckeyes and Mike Yurcich has been in the works for months. And the most likely candidate to replace him coaching quarterbacks has already been on the staff, already worked directly under the leadership of Ryan Day — and has previous experience with Justin Fields on top of that. Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the hiring process expect Corey Dennis to be promoted from his spot as a senior quality control coach, making the move to full-time staff member for Ohio State.
Staying in house likely means that wide receivers coach Brian Hartline is going to get a bump in salary and responsibility as well, which is significant even if he’s already expressed his desire to stick around with his alma mater as one of the fastest-rising assistants in the country. Hanging on to Dennis after he was a candidate for a role at Colorado State earlier this month signifies just how much confidence Day has in the young assistant. And it also provides continuity with the system, consistency with the existing staff hierarchy and comfort for Fields with a guy who has been hailed for the last two years for his behind-the-scenes work with two Heisman Trophy finalists.
“Basically [Dennis] is like my personal quarterbacks coach when Coach Day is not around,” former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins said last year. “I can ask him about looks, coverages, different pressures — and he has everything that Coach Day teaches him.
“He helps me throughout practice, throughout meetings. He helps out a lot.”
Haskins kept singing the praises of Dennis all the way through his trip to New York as a Heisman finalist, and Fields did the same throughout his dynamic first season with the program — dating back to the spring when he was trying to get a crash course in the offense.
Multiple industry sources have indicated that the appeal of working with Day ensured there was a long list of coaches interested in the position, and guys with ties to either him or the program who appeared to be possibilities included UCLA quarterbacks coach Dana Bible and former Buckeyes quarterback Kenny Guiton, currently a wide receivers coach at Louisiana Tech. But just like Day appeared to be planning for Yurcich to depart, it looks like a plan might have already been in place to replace him.
The pressure will be on Corey Dennis when or if that move becomes official. It’s his first full-time gig, he’s going to be responsible for developing a Heisman Trophy candidate and there isn’t time to learn on the job.
But the Buckeyes have been grooming him for the role for a while, and he certainly will be taking over with glowing, personal recommendations from the two most prolific passers in school history.
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