Football

Ryan Day, Jim Knowles Recap Buckeyes’ Spring Game Performance

Following Ohio State’s spring game, which was won by the Scarlet team 34-26, Buckeye head coach Ryan Day and defensive coordinator Jim Knowles spoke to reporters about the game and the spring as a whole. The highlights of everything that was said can be found below.

Ryan Day

+ Impressions of the defense? “Today was very, very basic, as you could see, on both sides of the ball.” He liked the physicality and the tackling that was done. The depth of the defensive line is going to be a strength. It was more about fundamentals and effort today.

+ Julian Fleming was day-to-day and they decided it wasn’t worth putting him in the game today. He was dressed.

+ The young defensive backs have had good springs. They get their hands on balls — and you saw that today. Still a long way to go but they’ve really grabbed on to what the coaches have been teaching. They are aggressive and you can see the talent level.

+ Evan Pryor has had a very good spring. He has a lot of wiggle and can change directions. He’s good in short areas and can also catch the ball. He can change the pace. If he can continue to grow, he can have an impact this year.

+ CJ Stroud has been very consistent. He’s very competitive. He is taking what the defense gives him. Jim Knowles has done a very good job of changing looks and sometimes forcing Stroud to check down. Stroud wanted to play more. “That’s just the way he is. He’s one of the more competitive guys I’ve been around.”

+ CJ Stroud thought long and hard about honoring Dwayne Haskins and he did that with the nameplate.

+ Emeka Egbuka has had a very good spring. Julian Fleming has had a very good spring. Marvin Harrison has been strong. Xavier Johnson continues to play well. They are still working on getting to six guys that they can play. The top four or five guys they feel good about. They’ve got two more guys coming in this summer.

+ He feels like he has three really good running backs and there’s a fourth coming this summer in Dallan Hayden.

+ Jack Sawyer and JT Tuimoloau have had very good offseasons. They are stronger and faster and if they continue to build over the summer, they’re going to be a force this fall. They change up their pass rushers and that makes them even more effective. “Those guys have been strong.”

+ There are a bunch of guys back on defense who have played a lot of football, so that creates excitement for him. They didn’t have that last year. Then combined with the new scheme and what they’re doing, “that comes at you fast.” It’s exciting to watch. “It’s exciting over there right now.” It’s been a good back and forth between the offense and defense.

+ How much of the tackling today was about setting a toughness tone for the season? They have games last year where they showed plenty of toughness. And other games where maybe you weren’t happy with it. They talk about “competitive stamina” and bringing it every single week. You’re not allowed to lose a game here. You have to be tough week in and week out. Was it symbolic? “I don’t know,” but they need to tackle well this season.

+ “I’ve been impressed with the tight ends.” Cade Stover coming over and had a really good spring. Joe Royer and Gee Scott have been excellent. Mitch Rossi will be back. They have a lot of different guys that can do different things. Bennett Christian too. “It’s a developmental position.” It’s very difficult to come in and play as a young player. They hope it will become a position of strength for them this season.

Jim Knowles

+ They were vanilla during the game “and didn’t do anything, really.” Before the game he felt great about how much they have installed this spring and how the players took to it. “It was as good or better than I could have wished.”

+ “I was very pleased” with the cornerbacks. They are continuing to work on playing aggressively with their coverages. They are adapting. It’s a challenge when you work against these receivers and you’re doing stuff that maybe you didn’t do a lot of before.

+ Kye Stokes has had a good spring and without watching the film “I thought he had a great game.” He rose to the occasion. You worry about that with young players, but he stepped up. “I liked him all along, but I was impressed today.”

+ “I love those guys” in reference to the second-year defensive linemen. “I don’t really care who starts.” He wants them all to play and be fresh. Those second-year guys could easily be starters. He just wants more and more defensive linemen to play. Keep rotating them through.

+ Young guys always have to learn how to take care of their bodies. They spend their high school careers being great because they’re talented. But then they get to college and they have nutritionists and have to sleep and go to school. Eventually something clicks with most of them that they are Olympic-level athletes and they need to train like it.

+ The biggest revelation of the spring? Regardless of talent, these players that they have, they want to learn. They soaked up everything. They were into it. They were into a culture change and the meetings. “They picked it up at a high speed.” It’s a football-intelligent group that wants to be coached and led, “so I was really happy about that.”

+ The biggest concern? The back end. Safeties were banged up this spring. “I love Proc” but he didn’t get to play much this spring. You have to move guys around and it becomes a challenge. That’s one reason he was excited about what Kye Stokes did today.

+ They now have enough plays on film for guys that he doesn’t have to keep showing Oklahoma State clips.

+ Jack Sawyer was great this spring. “I love the way he plays. I love his toughness.” Jack seems to be that kind of kid who snaps back a little bit. “I’m from Philly so I kind of like that.” They yell a little bit at each other at times, “that’s kind of like, okay, now we’ve got a relationship.”

+ The Jack position came a long way. He wanted until about practice 6 or 7 to implement it, so now he’ll look at it on film to see who is ready for the challenge of becoming a Leo and doing everything that that position can do.

+ When Josh Proctor had a couple of practices under his feet, Knowles really began to see improvement over the last handful of practices. When you have to catch up, it can be difficult. And Knowles isn’t patient. They pushed Proctor and he began to surge and he was picking it up and it was clicking. “I think he can be great for our defense.”

[Ryan Day header photo courtesy of the Ohio State Dept. of Athletics.]

Following Ohio State’s spring game, which was won by the Scarlet team 34-26, Buckeye head coach Ryan Day and defensive coordinator Jim Knowles spoke to reporters about the game and the spring as a whole. The highlights of everything that was said can be found below.

Ryan Day

+ Impressions of the defense? “Today was very, very basic, as you could see, on both sides of the ball.” He liked the physicality and the tackling that was done. The depth of the defensive line is going to be a strength. It was more about fundamentals and effort today.

+ Julian Fleming was day-to-day and they decided it wasn’t worth putting him in the game today. He was dressed.

+ The young defensive backs have had good springs. They get their hands on balls — and you saw that today. Still a long way to go but they’ve really grabbed on to what the coaches have been teaching. They are aggressive and you can see the talent level.

+ Evan Pryor has had a very good spring. He has a lot of wiggle and can change directions. He’s good in short areas and can also catch the ball. He can change the pace. If he can continue to grow, he can have an impact this year.

+ CJ Stroud has been very consistent. He’s very competitive. He is taking what the defense gives him. Jim Knowles has done a very good job of changing looks and sometimes forcing Stroud to check down. Stroud wanted to play more. “That’s just the way he is. He’s one of the more competitive guys I’ve been around.”

+ CJ Stroud thought long and hard about honoring Dwayne Haskins and he did that with the nameplate.

+ Emeka Egbuka has had a very good spring. Julian Fleming has had a very good spring. Marvin Harrison has been strong. Xavier Johnson continues to play well. They are still working on getting to six guys that they can play. The top four or five guys they feel good about. They’ve got two more guys coming in this summer.

+ He feels like he has three really good running backs and there’s a fourth coming this summer in Dallan Hayden.

+ Jack Sawyer and JT Tuimoloau have had very good offseasons. They are stronger and faster and if they continue to build over the summer, they’re going to be a force this fall. They change up their pass rushers and that makes them even more effective. “Those guys have been strong.”

+ There are a bunch of guys back on defense who have played a lot of football, so that creates excitement for him. They didn’t have that last year. Then combined with the new scheme and what they’re doing, “that comes at you fast.” It’s exciting to watch. “It’s exciting over there right now.” It’s been a good back and forth between the offense and defense.

+ How much of the tackling today was about setting a toughness tone for the season? They have games last year where they showed plenty of toughness. And other games where maybe you weren’t happy with it. They talk about “competitive stamina” and bringing it every single week. You’re not allowed to lose a game here. You have to be tough week in and week out. Was it symbolic? “I don’t know,” but they need to tackle well this season.

+ “I’ve been impressed with the tight ends.” Cade Stover coming over and had a really good spring. Joe Royer and Gee Scott have been excellent. Mitch Rossi will be back. They have a lot of different guys that can do different things. Bennett Christian too. “It’s a developmental position.” It’s very difficult to come in and play as a young player. They hope it will become a position of strength for them this season.

Jim Knowles

+ They were vanilla during the game “and didn’t do anything, really.” Before the game he felt great about how much they have installed this spring and how the players took to it. “It was as good or better than I could have wished.”

+ “I was very pleased” with the cornerbacks. They are continuing to work on playing aggressively with their coverages. They are adapting. It’s a challenge when you work against these receivers and you’re doing stuff that maybe you didn’t do a lot of before.

+ Kye Stokes has had a good spring and without watching the film “I thought he had a great game.” He rose to the occasion. You worry about that with young players, but he stepped up. “I liked him all along, but I was impressed today.”

+ “I love those guys” in reference to the second-year defensive linemen. “I don’t really care who starts.” He wants them all to play and be fresh. Those second-year guys could easily be starters. He just wants more and more defensive linemen to play. Keep rotating them through.

+ Young guys always have to learn how to take care of their bodies. They spend their high school careers being great because they’re talented. But then they get to college and they have nutritionists and have to sleep and go to school. Eventually something clicks with most of them that they are Olympic-level athletes and they need to train like it.

+ The biggest revelation of the spring? Regardless of talent, these players that they have, they want to learn. They soaked up everything. They were into it. They were into a culture change and the meetings. “They picked it up at a high speed.” It’s a football-intelligent group that wants to be coached and led, “so I was really happy about that.”

+ The biggest concern? The back end. Safeties were banged up this spring. “I love Proc” but he didn’t get to play much this spring. You have to move guys around and it becomes a challenge. That’s one reason he was excited about what Kye Stokes did today.

+ They now have enough plays on film for guys that he doesn’t have to keep showing Oklahoma State clips.

+ Jack Sawyer was great this spring. “I love the way he plays. I love his toughness.” Jack seems to be that kind of kid who snaps back a little bit. “I’m from Philly so I kind of like that.” They yell a little bit at each other at times, “that’s kind of like, okay, now we’ve got a relationship.”

+ The Jack position came a long way. He wanted until about practice 6 or 7 to implement it, so now he’ll look at it on film to see who is ready for the challenge of becoming a Leo and doing everything that that position can do.

+ When Josh Proctor had a couple of practices under his feet, Knowles really began to see improvement over the last handful of practices. When you have to catch up, it can be difficult. And Knowles isn’t patient. They pushed Proctor and he began to surge and he was picking it up and it was clicking. “I think he can be great for our defense.”
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