Ryan Day Discusses Return To Spring Ball, Provides Updates On Buckeyes

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day spoke with credentialed media late Tuesday morning following spring practice No. 3 for the Buckeyes. He provided updates on his football team and covered a number of ongoing topics regarding his program. The highlights of everything that was said can be found below.

+ Asked about his pride in creating a culture at OSU where players are comfortable talking about their mental health he said he’s most proud in what the work that Harry Miller did to get to this point. They put structures in place that could help him but he did the work. Just like they do if somebody tears an ACL or something like that. “There’s a lot that goes on with our players, but that’s part of coaching.” That’s the difference between coaching in college and coaching in the pros.

+ Proud of what Harry Miller has been able to do and what he will continue to do. They will figure out what his role in the program will be. He’s retired from football but they’ll give him time to figure out how he can give back because he has a lot to give back.

+ They have not gotten into the Leo situation yet. They have just done four-down looks and working on their base defense. Soon here they will start looking at guys who can play that position. It’s a package that has been dynamic at Oklahoma State and Duke.

+ “I try not to make it about me. This is about Harry.” When you’re 6-5 and 320 pounds and valedictorian, people think it’s all easy, but it’s not. “I am proud that he was able to step out and ask for the help and then go do the work.” It’s a work in progress for Miller and everybody is in support of him. When you put yourself out there publicly, there’s always a concern about what people will say, but the response locally and nationally has been amazing.

+ CJ Stroud and Cardale Jones will throw for the OSU receivers tomorrow at pro day. Stroud wants to support and help his receivers to put on a good show.

+ Backlash from fans on social media is a real thing. They see it. It’s an unfortunate part of the job. It’s one thing for somebody in their 40s to be able to compartmentalize that, but high school and college kids are different. So much of their identity comes from feedback via social media. They try to help players overcome the small segment of people who are negative, because it is just a very small percentage. The easy thing to do is to say the players get scholarships and perks so they can take it. But they have put services in place to help players deal with the criticisms from fans.

+ Freshman quarterback Devin Brown is fitting in well in the QB room. He’s just getting his feet wet and learning. Kyle McCord has been working hard and is more veteran than he was a year ago. They are all jelling and getting better, “but it’s only practice three.”

+ “We have to have tight ends…” on the field all the time. They allow the offense to do more and be physical. They need to be more creative running the ball if they don’t have a tight end on the field.

+ Not a ton of early impressions on the offensive line just yet. Justin Frye is a tremendous teacher and technician. The pads just went on today so it’s way too early to have a real idea. There are guys who can challenge for starting positions.

+ Paris Johnson has played tackle all of his life. Last year was a bigger adjustment for him playing guard.

+ It’s not a competition between him and Jim Knowles about who can win practice each day between offense and defense. For Knowles, it’s about teaching the basics of his defense. They had a practice where Knowles ran the same defense the entire time so that his players can master what they’re doing. But when the challenges do start to come between the offense and the defense, it will help both sides. Knowles is very, very good at that.

+ It’s exciting to have defensive linemen who have been around for a while, and then you combine them with the second-year guys. It should be the strength of the defense.

+ Could they move an offensive lineman to tight end if need be? Yes.

+ If you’re going to use your receivers to run the ball, they have to be strong, especially if they’re going to run between the tackles. They use the speed sweeps to spread out the field.

+ They count RPO yards as running yards for the offense even if it’s a pass.

+ They have a lot of safeties competing, but they start three safeties, so there’s reps for everybody. Each spot requires a different skill set and they have different jobs. They have more experience back there than they did a year ago, which is big.

+ Could it be an adjustment for Jim Knowles now having enough depth to rotate? “I think so.” First you have to find out how many guys you have that can play and then go from there.

+ When it comes to concussion protocol, Day relies on what his medical staff tells him. “We follow their lead on it…because it’s certainly way over my head.”

+ JT Tuimoloau didn’t even have a summer offseason last year. He got to OSU a week before training camp. He didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. “To his credit, he got on the field and played.” Day has never seen that before. Now he’s had an entire offseason and gotten stronger. When they get to August, he’ll have an entire year under his belt “and I think he’ll look a lot different.” To just show up at Ohio State and play out of high school at the end of July is very difficult.

+ How did he handle Harry Miller’s situation last year while also dealing with the rest of running the program? You have to be able to compartmentalize situations as best as you can and handle them each as they come to you. When you have 120 guys on the team, with their families, with 50 other people in the building, when you recruit somebody and tell them that it’s a family, this is part of accepting that responsibility.

+ Does he feel more thankful now that his message and his off-field projects involved mental health? “I don’t know…” but he knows he’s thankful that Harry Miller felt comfortable enough to walk into his office and talk about it.

+ He watched Sonny Styles’ basketball game this weekend. “What a great game for Pick Central. I thought that he was tremendous. When he decides he wants to go, what a great athlete.” He’s a skilled athlete and not just a football player playing basketball. He doesn’t get rattled. He has great composure. “I’m excited to see what that looks like on the football field when he gets here.” Styles has done a great job helping with recruiting as well.

+ Tyleik Williams is in much better shape now than he was last year. His body is very different. He can go for an extended period of time. Last year he could flash for one or two plays. He’s one of the best athletes on the team. From 0-10 yards, he has one of the best times on the team. The challenge for Larry Johnson is to get Williams to sustain it for play after play after play. You have to be able to play for an extended period of time. “He flashed again today at practice.” The great ones can go for extended periods of time. If you can’t go long, go as hard as you can while you’re in there “and we’ll get you out.”

+ Marvin Harrison, Jr. is his own person but he had a great example of being a wide receiver at home. That’s not easy to have those expectations, sharing the same name, etc. Junior has done a great job of blazing his own trail. “His parents raised a really great young man.” He is skilled and disciplined, and that’s hard to find. He has both. Has had a great offseason.