Ryan Day’s postgame interview in which the Ohio State head coach went scorched earth on Lou Holtz has garnered a lot of reactions.
Notably, ESPN’s Rece Davis was the latest to weigh in on Day’s fiery takedown of the Notre Dame legend, who doubted that Ohio State had the toughness to win. The Buckeyes would go on to win 17-14 in a thriller, but instead of praising his team, Day redirected his attention to Holtz. As one would expect, Holtz, who would rarely pick against his former team in his days as an analyst, said that the Fighting Irish would beat the Buckeyes. He then brought up Day’s track record in big games.
Here’s how Day responded:
"I'D LIKE TO KNOW WHERE LOU HOLTZ IS NOW. WHAT HE SAID ABOUT OUR TEAM, WHAT HE SAID ABOUT OUR TEAM, I CANNOT BELIEVE. THIS IS A TOUGH TEAM RIGHT HERE. WE'RE PROUD TO BE FROM OHIO. AND IT'S ALWAYS BEEN OHIO AGAINST THE WORLD. IT'LL CONTINUE TO BE OHIO AGAINST THE WORLD." pic.twitter.com/6xUN3R2WOb
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) September 24, 2023
Day notably took exception to Holtz’s remarks about his team. While Day has every right to do so, Davis is concerned that this was the Buckeyes coach’s response, which he believes is due to misplaced anger, as college football enters its professional wrestling era.
Serious topics and deep introspection & psychological analysis of the coachiness on display this weekend. Misdirected anger. Miscounting…& more @CollegeGameDay pod w/ lover of pettiness @PeteThamel. @ESPNMcGee stops by too. https://t.co/Rmxt3QViOP pic.twitter.com/zniFfMPXBU
— Rece Davis (@ReceDavis) September 25, 2023
“I’m worried—very, very concerned—about Ryan Day and his reaction after that win against Notre Dame,” Davis said on the latest episode of the ESPN College GameDay podcast. “Which for political fans, in some moments, felt almost Howard Dean-esque in a lot of yelling. But I’m very concerned because of this. I’m not sure Ryan was certain what the target of his anger should be, because I’m not certain that Ryan knew exactly what he heard. Because what Ryan responded to in the aftermath was a quote that he attributed to Lou Holtz from The Pat McAfee Show.
“But if you stop and think about this: At the moment of the quote, Lou Holtz’s original article was being interviewed by Lou Holtz. I mean, how do you tell the difference? There was somebody there—Ty Schmit—who was dressed up as Lou Holtz with a mask, doing a magic trick, a dead-on impression. Was it Lou Holtz that said it? Or was it fake Lou Holtz that said it?”
Davis posed the question, asking if Day was so “discombobulated” by there being multiple Lou Holtz, that he became confused and misdirected his anger. It sounds to Davis like Day was unsure of whom he should’ve been angry towards and perhaps Lou Holtz was the target of some anger that was directed towards Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Davis compared the situation to making as much sense as Harbaugh asking “Where’s Woody Hayes?” after a win over Ohio State in The Big Game (which didn’t happen). But to Davis, it made as much sense to call out a legendary coach, who obviously wasn’t going to pick against his former team.
While Day almost certainly did his rant to send a message and protect his team, it’s pretty notable that Davis would express his concern for a sitting college football head coach. It’s not that this is uncommon for the sport, but the way that Day’s anger was seemingly misplaced didn’t sit right with the ESPN analyst.