COLUMBUS – Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with reporters on Tuesday. Even though the Buckeyes are off this week, there was still plenty to talk about. Day answered questions about his football team and discussed what they would be doing this week with no game to prepare for. The highlights of everything that was said can be found below.
+ Miyan Williams is expected to be back for the Indiana game. They plan to have him practicing this week. “He seems to be doing well. He’s looking forward to getting back out there and practicing.”
+ Harry Miller is being worked as a “swing guy” right now. He can play guard or center and that’s how they plan on using him for the moment. Luke Wypler has been solid and Day is pleased with his play. They have a deep OL room.
+ Why is Garrett Wilson still returning punts? KO returns and punt returns are very different. Punting is different now and punters can hold onto the ball and it’s harder to get returns going. They feel like they’re closer to breaking one. They want a reliable guy back there and that’s why they turn to Wilson. This year they are choosing to be more aggressive in KO returns and it’s not just the returner but it’s also the excellent blocking.
+ Play calling on offense is a credit to everybody. They have very, very good players. The game planning and play calling is him and Kevin Wilson together, but the other coaches help with the game planning during the week.
+ Cameron Brown may not practice this week. They’ll go day-to-day and see how he’s feeling. When he’s healthy, he plays well. He’s a big part of the defense. Day hopes he’ll be back for the Indiana game.
+ He feels solid about the cornerback position. Can’t say he feels great about it. Overall he wants more consistency and production from that spot.
+ He can’t put his finger on why the Big Ten has 5 top 10 teams, but they have great coaches who have done a great job in recruiting. “It’s great for the conference.”
+ Is he sleeping better right now? Not sure how he’s sleeping because they haven’t done anything yet. There is some confidence being built. They are in a better place than they were six weeks ago.
+ Where do they need to get better? It’s more than one or two things. It’s fundamentals and taking care of the football and doing the right things in tight games. It only takes one or two plays to ruin your day.
+ What are they getting done this week? They will keep it as game-like as they can. Tuesday and Wednesday will be padded practices.
+ Is this a good time to have a bye week? You can make a case for both arguments, but it doesn’t matter because it’s here and they’re going to use it to work on fundamentals and to get rest and get healthy.
+ He feels better about his quarterback room because there is more information that he has about Jack Miller and Kyle McCord now. They have more experience so they have something to draw on.
+ They will do some good-on-good in practice this week. They don’t do a ton of it in-season. The best will go against the best all across the board, and you’ll need to use fundamentals to gain advantages.
+ You always have to try to stay a step ahead of defenses, so you’re always looking to add and figure out how defenses are going to attack you. You can’t get crazy.
+ The staff went out recruiting yesterday and they’ll be back out on Friday.
+ There’s been no “super surprises” from Stroud. He’s making good decisions the last couple of weeks and shown some toughness. But as games get tighter and tougher he’s going to face some new challenges. Preparation will be key.
+ They’re in “pretty good shape” in the ’22 and ’23 classes. They’ve got more film to evaluate now which is nice.
+ Nationwide Children’s Hospital let him know they’ve received an uptick in contributions following a couple of television stories this weekend about Ryan and Nina Day’s foundation to help childhood mental health. It wasn’t easy for him to do but he felt better for doing it and he knows it’s helping.
+ The quarterbacks continue to develop, but they need to prepare a lot via mental reps. “All it takes is one snap and you’re the guy that we need.”
+ Told that Dawand Jones’ jersey is the biggest that Nike has ever made, Day was asked if that’s true. He laughed and said “I’m sure it is. If there’s a bigger one I’d like to see it.” Jones has shown what he’s capable of. The key is consistency and he’s going to get challenged against better defenses. He can do it, but the consistency is important. That’s not unique to him. He loves to play and has a high ceiling.
+ Is he getting the results from the defensive staff he wanted after the shakeup? It’s early but everything is trending in the right direction.
+ Any time you go through a tough loss you have to recalibrate things. He has a lot of respect for the way the defensive staff has handled things, in particular Kerry Coombs. The staff has come together and that doesn’t happen without being selfless and loving Ohio State.
+ There is a balance between adding more to the defense and not asking them to do too much. You can feel terrible after a game where you’ve asked players to do too much. That’s part of the art of coaching.
+ The linebackers continue to improve and they’re putting reps together and they continue to add experience. Any time you can be two-deep and play two guys at each position it keeps guys fresh. Plus, he’s not sure there’s many guys on this defense who can play 70 players in a game right now. But with all of these reps adding up, they’ll have guys get to that point in terms of capability.
+ The jet sweep has come into the game the last three or four years. It allows one guy to get the ball at full speed while the defense is standing still. It also forces the defense to defend the entire field. They don’t do it too much, but it’s part of the offense.
+ You can tell early on in practice if players like or don’t like a play. They are always listening to the players’ feedback.
+ They have played a lot of guys up front. A lot of young guys. That’s a good thing for their future, but they need the veterans to play well. They need to get Tyreke Smith back and they need to make sure Haskell Garrett is good to go next week. The defensive line is getting more disruptive and they need to build on that.
+ The secondary is better than it was last year but there’s still plenty to build on. They are counting on the upperclassmen to be veteran and play.
+ This has been a unique year for college football so far. Why is that? Maybe it’s coming off of COVID, maybe it’s the portal. But the teams that get better week in and week out will show up in November. The guys see their potential and where this team can go, but it’s a day-to-day process in getting there.
+ Does he like the upcoming challenges in conference play this year? “It’s what you want.” The Buckeyes have momentum and scars. This is about building to November.
+ Can a player have a knack for kickoff returns? “I think the answer is yes there is.” You need size and courage to run through all of that smoke. They also have a good group of blockers. When did it happen with Emeka Egbuka? They saw it a little bit in preseason but it’s never live. But you see the way Egbuka works and it’s easy to project him as somebody who can be special.
+ The message to the team has been how well they’ve practiced over the week has led to how well they’ve been playing of late. The players see it and now believe it. This is the first time they’ve had an actual routine since 2019.
+ How’s he handling his transition? It’s been the hardest stretch of his career, which means he’s had a great career because if this is as bad as it’s been, then it’s been pretty good. He has been blessed in this profession by many. “I would tell you that the handling of it is a work in progress, but I would also tell you this, in my opinion, that handling in a different fashion, picking up your ball and going home…if I had done those things, that would make me a liar to every one of those young men…” that have had tough times and gotten replaced by a teammate. If you want to look players in the eyes and tell them to hang in there, you have to do the same thing or else you’re a liar to all those people. “I’m blessed to work here.” If you believe in the brotherhood and live it, you have to do it through good and bad. If you’re here for the other men and coaches on this team, you’re here scrapping with them through hell or high water to help them win ever fricking Saturday.
+ It hasn’t really come up with recruits. He talks to recruits about playing ball at Ohio State.
+ He hasn’t been in the press box in a long time. Not since his first year at UC. It has been valuable. It has helped him see the game and communicate the game. He misses hugging people. He’s got Kevin Wilson up there, but hugging him is not the same. It was his idea to go upstairs.
+ “I don’t have any lack of confidence in my ability to do the job.” His job is to win each day and help his players do the same.
+ How did he feel about receiving the game ball? “Undeserving would be the first word that came to my mind.” Then he was embarrassed. It was unexpected.
+ Denzel Burke is a sharp kid. Lining up against these wide receivers, you are either going to sink or swim. He’s going to end up being a really, really good player here.
+ They will continue to add more to the defense because when you keep doing the same thing over and over, you give the offense an advantage.
+ The personnel on defense is a continual work in progress. You will see an evolution for the rest of the year because they are still young, but there other players better suited to other opponents. Cameron Martinez is better suited for man coverage against a throwing team. Different skill sets match better with certain schemes and certain teams.
+ They beauty of what they have right now is there is constant competition in practice, which they weren’t able to do last year. The competition in the back end is good and it’s making a difference. You have to be able to practice every day and if you’re not, there’s a young guy right at your heels. And if you missed last week, you can fix it in practice and get back on the field.
+ Experience breeds real confidence. Until you do it, you don’t know. You can think you’re confident, but it’s not real until you go through it. Hesitancy breeds mistakes.
+ He was really impressed with Steele Chambers on Saturday. He sees and he goes. That’s not how everybody is. Sometimes they go and then they see. If he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s going to play a lot of ball for the Buckeyes.
+ When did he see the confidence building from the defense? During the Rutgers game it felt like they were locked into what they were doing and they were running around and making plays. There are certain calls when players need to make plays and they did.
+ What is his role? “It’s very hard to describe it.” They were working as a collaborative unit prior to him having his playcalling removed. He has tried to change his role a bit because he’s in the box and he’s spending some other time on the game plan. There is plenty of conversation during the week going over situations so that they get to a point where anybody can make the calls.
+ Matt Barnes is a very good coach. Relationships should always go well beyond job descriptions or else they’re not really relationships, you’re just employees coming together every day. They are still working well together. “It’s my responsibility to do a good job in all of these areas.” It’s his job to walk into the building and be upbeat and to prepare the team as best he can to help the team win on Saturday. He looks forward to it every morning. “That doesn’t change. If you let your circumstances change that, then you’re kind of fake.” Was he able to do that on the first day after losing the playcalling? “Oh no.” It’s okay to be sad. “But that can’t last. That’s a 24-hour window.” You pick yourself up and dust yourself off. That’s life. He made a conscious decision that day he wasn’t going to paint a bad picture for everyone to see. “That’s just asking for sympathy.”
+ As a former head coach, he’s been faced with tough decisions like the one Ryan Day went through and he respects the difficulty of such things. It’s hard when it’s public. It’s hard for the family. It’s hard for the players. He can only control his response. “We all have choices. You can quit. That’s certainly not a choice that I would aspire to.” You can’t tell your players to stay out of the transfer portal if you’re going to walk away.
+ “I’m not going to walk out of here being fearful of my ability to do that job or any other.”
+ What’s the receiver room like right now? “It’s fun.” All three starters compete throughout the week. They all want each other to get the ball and have fun. He doesn’t look at the stats. They just care about winning.
+ They have had some days off, so they’re rested now. They will practice this week and get better and prepare for Indiana and Penn State.
+ Kerry Coombs always has energy. You’re going to get the same guy every day. He’s impacted a lot of guys on this team, offense and defense.
+ His HS QB Jack Tuttle could be starting for Indiana next week. That’s one of his best friends. He’ll be watching him this week. “I can’t wait to see him. I wish him well.” He’s a hard-working guy.
+ If he was a HS recruit right now watching the OSU WRs, what would he be thinking? “Why not come to Ohio State?”
+ They have three receivers balling out but they have other guys who can produce too. “This is the place to be.”
+ Emeka Egbuka is getting better. He’s locked in. He’s doing damage on kick returns. “When you go back on kickoff return, you’ve got to think about your life, really.” The kickoff return team is going to be goo this season. Egbuka is a natural. He knows how to set up blocks.
+ He’s still watching Jameson Williams. They talk a lot. They got close last year. He misses him. He’s showing up on the field.
+ He’s seen this freshman class since the spring. It can be a special class. Most of them are locked in and know the schemes and culture.
+ He had a lot of faith in CJ Stroud when deciding to return for his senior season. “He’s a rare breed. I’ve never seen a guy throw the ball like that. I had a lot of confidence in him.”