Ohio State Football: Writing was on the wall for Alford's departure

While the timing wasn't perfect for the Ohio State football team, Alford's departure was inevitable.

Mar 7, 2024; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running backs coach Tony Alford works with
Mar 7, 2024; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running backs coach Tony Alford works with / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

The Ohio State football team lost its running backs coach yesterday as Tony Alford defected for Ann Arbor. And while the timing and destination of Alford's departure is surprising, Ryan Day cannot be completely surprised by this move.

Alford is a nine-year veteran of the Buckeyes' coaching staff after being brought in by Urban Meyer in 2015. While most of the offensive coaching staff received extensions this offseason, Alford was not offered one and it was rumored that he actually had to interview to keep his current position on staff. If true, it's no wonder that Alford was looking elsewhere.

As the hiring cycle came and gone and Alford was not able to find another comparable job, all were content to ride out the 2024 season with Alford on staff until Mike Hart left Michigan, creating an opening that Alford found enticing.

It will be hard for recruits and current players to trust Alford following his abrupt departure, but that's not Ohio State's problem. That's Sherrone Moore's. But as Ryan Day and Chip Kelly look for a new coach to help stabilize the position, they need to find someone who can come in and put the finishing touches on TreVeyon Henderson and Quinshon Judkins.

If Ryan Day can't go out and pluck one of the best running back coaches in the country such as Alabama's Robert Gillespie or Texas' Tashard Choice, the Ohio State football team might be best suited to hire an interim coach with NFL coaching experience to keep Henderson and Judkins happy. One coach that comes to mind would be former Cleveland Browns running backs coach Stump Mitchell, who is currently out of a job and was credited for helping develop Nick Chubb into one of the NFL's best backs.

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But the writing was indeed on the wall for Alford's departure. His recruiting has been spotty at best and he's only developed one high-end NFL draft pick in J.K. Dobbins during his nine seasons on the job. Maybe a shakeup is exactly what the room needed, even if the timing wasn't perfect.