A coach leaving the college ranks for a positional job with the NFL is not without precedent.
Rex Ryan, the current head coach of the Buffalo Bills and former head man for the New York Jets, spent time as the defensive coordinator at both Oklahoma and Kansas State before becoming the defensive line coach for five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. He eventually wound up as the defensive coordinator of the Ravens before becoming head coach of the Jets.
Fred Graves spent roughly 30 years in the college ranks, primarily with Utah. Starting as a position coach in 1990, he became offensive coordinator in 1995 before being named assistant head coach in 1998. In 2001, he left to become the wide receivers coach with the Buffalo Bills.
Chad O'Shea was the recruiting coordinator and special teams coach at Southern Mississippi before moving to a volunteer assistant job in the NFL. He's now the wide receivers coach for the New England Patriots.
Mark Whipple won an FCS National Championship with UMass and left to become the quarterbacks coach at the Pittsburgh Steelers.
So Ryan Day's departure for the NFL is certainly not a new thing. It's not a removal from Boston College, it's not a firing, and it's not a separation. Boston College didn't get rid of Day. Day left Boston College to go work with the man who coached him in college at New Hampshire. He left for a better opportunity, a chance to coach in the National Football League in a city that suited him as an assistant at Temple. He made what he believes to be the best personal decision for him and his family, and that should be both commended and recognized with the utmost respect and congratulations.
It also leaves a void which Boston College must overcome.
With two seasons under Day, Boston College will now need to move forward with a new offensive coordinator for what seems like the umpteenth time. After multiple offensive coordinators under Frank Spaziani, BC will now need to find someone willing to install the team system over the next few seasons. Since each season is part of a bigger Steve Addazio-led plan, the time is now for BC to make the right change for what will last multiple seasons.
We've all recognized that the Eagles are in the process of installing a run-first, option style offense. As a result, they have to be careful with this hire to not stray too far from that overall gameplan. The pressure will be to find someone familiar with Addazio's style of play; a person willing to install that read option style of offense BC started working in last season.
Ryan Day's lasting impact on the BC program is the development of two legitimate, nationally-recognized players. His ability to construct an offense capable of tearing apart defenses is something that led to his name coming up as a contender for positions. In Year One, he threw away what I'm sure was his Temple playbook in favor of retooling everything around the running game. He built around Andre Williams until Andre became a Heisman Trophy finalist.
In Year Two, Day completely revamped the offense to a read-option offense. As the season progressed, he had to retool it further as wear and tear wore down on Tyler Murphy's body. He helped Murphy become the all-time record holder as a running quarterback in one season at BC, and he helped utilize the offensive weaponry to make the Eagles one of the best running games in the nation.
As Day departs, his role in stabilizing the program will be remembered. But as BC moves forward, there needs to be someone to commit to the offensive assistant position to develop the young talent. Boston College is one of the hotter names in college football because of what Steve Addazio accomplished with his staff, but the stock on the Eagles doesn't rise or fall with the last two years. The newer players are cycling in, the recruits brought in by Day and Addazio. As a result, the new assistant has to have the same exact mentality as the one that left.
We know Steve Addazio will run the offense he wants, a run first, spread option style that keys on a mobile, dual-threat quarterback and power running game. We know the passing game is not the first option, meaning the spread style, pass-happy guys are all off the table unless they can adapt to a new format. We know Addazio preaches toughness and commitment to the team game, which also means finding the right guy willing to retool the team week-in and week-out to best suit the strengths and weaknesses, regardless of what happened the week before. The coach who can get the players to buy in the way Addazio's sold it, the way they've bought in for two years.
Finding that coach won't be so easy. At this stage, the top assistants are gone, and the pickings are going to be slimmer. That doesn't mean BC won't find the best fit assistant, but it does mean people are more committed to their current programs. Finding the right assistant is going to be a challenge for the coaching staff unless they're looking to promote from within. That said, coaches normally have contingency plans for these scenarios.
Over the coming days, we'll analyze who should and could be good fits for Boston College. We'll talk about if the coach, once named, is the right fit. Join me in congratulating Ryan Day on his new position, and also join all of us in thanking him for the job well done. Then let's turn the page and begin the process anew of seeing what happens next with Boston College Eagles football.