Football

Ryan Day, Kevin Wilson Talk Buckeyes, Preview Boilers

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with reporters on Tuesday to provide updates on his football team and to preview Saturday’s matchup with Purdue. Also joining the session was offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. The highlights of everything that was said can be found below.

Ryan Day

+ Are they taking enough deep shots right now? They have to be smart when the shots are there. One time CJ Stroud threw it only where Chris Olave could catch it. Another time he threw it into coverage.

+ Quinn Ewers is making progress. “He’s starting to look more comfortable walking around the facility.” It’s taking time to pick up the offense but it’s happening. He’s getting more reps and he’s starting to feel more comfortable around the team.

+ Jack Miller’s suspension is indefinite until more information is made available about the findings and the conclusions. Just making sure they have all of the information before they move forward.

+ Looking forward to having a really good week of practice this week for Garrett Wilson.

+ TreVeyon Henderson is running hard and he needs to continue to do that. There are times when you have to make a guy miss and other times you have to run through a guy for the tough yards. He’s handled the carries well. They’d like to see the carries split a bit better than they were last week. They are going to continue to work on the running game and making sure they stay efficient there.

+ Why does he take an aggressive approach personally in recruiting? They have been fortunate to have stability, which is a huge selling point. But at the end of the day it comes down to the head coach and their vision and the culture he is instilling. It’s important that he gets that message to the recruits and their families. “Closing guys out anymore doesn’t really exist.” They have to want to be here and want to work through tough times and have ownership of their university.

+ Should CJ Stroud run more? “It’s hard to tell somebody what to do in those situations…” because it’s situation is unique. There are times he has picked up three or four yards and that’s helped. There’s other times he’s skated and thrown it downfield and that has helped as well. He’s still getting the feel for that and staying on schedule is the message this week. He can run. He will continue to do it. Just finding the right time to duck your head in there for 4 or 5 yards is part of playing the position. Day played the position so he understands the difficulty of those the decisions.

+ Marvin Harrison and Julian Fleming played well and have really bright futures here. Fortunate to have them both. You can see the future at receivers and it’s bright.

+ TreVeyon Henderson graded out a champion. It can involve protection, it can be picking up ugly yards, running routes, just doing your job. The grades range from double plus to double minus and you have to grade over 80%.

+ Parker Fleming has done a great job in his meetings. The walk-throughs are great and the guys are sharp when they go through it. The players take pride in it and having the opportunity to make a contribution. It doesn’t always show up on the highlight reels on television but it does in the WHAC.

+ There’s a lot of things they can fix and clean up but the reality is they just need to win these Big Ten games. Purdue is tied for first in the West. “They certainly have our attention. Very, very good players and very good scheme.”

+ The called plays are not always passes. There are sometimes run-pass options. If the box is loaded, that’s going to create a pass more often than not. There are different ways to improve the run. It can be simply putting larger players in the game and just running. It can be having Stroud run it a bit more on keepers rather than called run plays.

+ Do they need to establish Stroud as a runner a little bit? “I don’t know.” They talk about it constantly. There is some similarities to 2018 with Dwayne Haskins.

+ What’s the problem with the running game? They need to do a better job of staying on schedule and especially eliminate the penalties. They can also do a better job of executing and communicating. “I don’t think it’s one thing across the board.” It only takes one guy to miss a block and that was an issue. The players and coaches have taken accountability this week.

+ Purdue has a very good passing offense. Quarterback is excellent. David Bell is a very good receiver and he’s not the only one. They are creative schematically. This is a new challenge. They have not gone against a style of offense like this.

+ How hard is it to win in November? The only goal is to win and if they do that and don’t reach their standard, they try to fix that. But you can’t get caught up in how you win. The goal is to win. “If we have to apologize for winning by nine points on the road at Nebraska against a really good team, then life’s pretty good.” But at the same time they didn’t play to a high-enough standard.

+ The CFP rankings don’t matter to him tonight. “What did last week matter? It didn’t matter anything because here we are today and tonight.”

+ Would he just rather not have his QB running the ball that much? “Ah, I don’t know.” They have had some QBs who ran the ball but putting guys at risk over a long season is not something they’re going to do. There are times when you’ve got to get it done, but they tell recruits they’re not going to run them into the ground and get them hurt.

+ He and CJ Stroud both went through the film and had stuff they wish they had back. Stroud has some scars on him now and that’s healthy for a quarterback.

+ He loves multi-sport guys in recruiting. His son was in fifth grade when a coach said that he needs to decide which sport he was going to play and he almost jumped through the phone at the coach. It all helps in so many different ways. “I love going to basketball games.” You get to see how he competes and what his attitude is. Is he taking a charge late in the fourth quarter down by 15? “I love seeing that. Not that it’s 100% but you get a good snapshot.”

+ The offensive line likes the stretch run because they are athletic. He doesn’t think there will be a point when they need to stick with five.

+ Does he talk to Noah Ruggles before kicks? Nope. He stays away from him. The specialists take care of themselves. They understand how important their jobs are, especially in November.

+ They look at screens as runs and so when it’s 54 passes and 30 runs, it’s actually more balanced than that. Especially when you also add in the RPOs.

+ Why are the defensive ends picking up steam? Guys are healthy and they are fresh and rotating.

+ It starts with Purdue’s front seven. Karlaftis is one of the best DEs in the country. He is really strong. The offense is always going to scheme you and find ways to attack you. They have a bunch of good players.

+ Asked about humble receivers, Day said that’s what this place is all about. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has never asked for anything and has always kept his head down and worked. And nothing has changed after a big game. He has a mature approach to all of this and he’s not the only one. “Just proud that these guys take that approach.”

+ Are defenses catching up to the OSU running game? They have played two good defenses and if you don’t execute well they will make you look bad. Today is a big practice for the team in that regard.

+ When it comes to throwing the ball, it goes where the coverage takes you. If the first read allows for that pass, throw it. Find the coverage and read that marry.

+ Tyreke Smith’s return has brought production. Veterans have to produce, especially in November. When he was out, younger guys were getting experience and now they’re ready to go too. But the older guys are now stepping up as well and Smith’s presence is being felt.

Kevin Wilson

+ Asked about preparing for a team that calls a bunch of “trick plays” he said players can’t get caught up in just looking for the trick plays. Brohm calls them so well but you still have to have discipline and watching your keys as a defense.

+ Paris Johnson is an option at tackle this year but Thayer Munford is still the first option to replace Nick Petit-Frere or Dawand Jones.

+ He doesn’t talk to the quarterbacks about running or throwing. He leaves that to Ryan Day and Corey Dennis. But they have been trying to minimize hits with his shoulder issue. He is a very capable runner. He was a part of the action in a pair of third-down runs last week. They will continue to do that on third downs and also in the red zone. Ryan Day has never told Stroud not to run. They were just trying to minimize the hits with plays they have called. They have never told him not to run.

+ The offensive line needs to move defenses better than they’ve done the last two weeks. They have been able to move them laterally at times but not doing well enough moving them vertically. Even on stretch plays the offensive line still needs to get up the field. Gonna be a big challenge against Purdue’s defensive line this week.

+ Is the OL too tall to push guys around? As a former 6-0 center, he thinks you can be too tall at times to get the leverage you need, but they have guys who are good knee benders. The guys just need to come off the ball better.

+ How surprised are you that the OL has hit this rough stretch? There’s a handful of plays that were blocked really well but ended up getting thrown on RPOs. The thing that doesn’t concern him is that when they have had to run the ball in the fourth quarter, they’ve done it.

+ You’ve got to run the ball in November. They will fight through it. A little off the last two games but it’s correctable. “We’re all a part of the problem.” It’s concerning because they need to get better but not worrisome that they won’t get it right.

+ Asked about the bootleg fumble at the end, they got the coverage they wanted, Chris Olave was open for a touchdown on a double move, it was just a mixup in blocking by Thayer Munford and Nick Petit-Frere. Sometimes the calls can be better. Other times the execution can be better. Day does a phenomenal job of being aggressive but sound. They count on players to execute. When you’re calling plays you have to have the courage to accept the criticism when the plays don’t work.

+ Jeremy Ruckert has played really well across the board. He’s been playing okay but the final quarter against Penn State may have been his best quarter and Wilson asked him what happened and Ruckert told him he just knew it was a big point in the game. Wilson told him he needs him to play like that all the time.

+ Is the NIL gold rush over and does it get in the way of coaching a kid? They have a great support system at OSU. He was worried about distractions early on but he has seen none of that.

+ He prefers multi-sport athletes. The competitive environment in any sport and the stress in all of those sports helps in every sport. It helps them become better players and people. Every sport helps them handle success and failure. The more you play the better. Don’t play just one sport. Play as many as you can.

+ The throw to Mitch Rossi was just an RPO decision based on coverage and he happened to be in the game as a result of rotation.

+ The linemen are bought into the RPO because that’s part of the offense. They don’t get frustrated by it.

+ Penalties are just a mental thing, getting lazy. False starts where they didn’t hear the snap count or weren’t locked in and didn’t see it. They need to be more disciplined and mature. Really good teams play cleaner and they have made that an emphasis.

+ They have been addressing the red zone and third downs this week. Execution and playcalling can be better. Day told them this week that they can all do better and everybody needs to take ownership of the issues.

+ You don’t win championships kicking field goals.