Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with reporters following practice on Monday to discuss his football team and answer questions as spring ball moves ever closer to its conclusion. The highlights of everything Day had to say can be found below.
+ This week is where you find out if guys are going to separate themselves on the depth chart. The younger guys have grown, but they’ll find out who can get into the two-deep the next two weeks and into fall camp.
+ Is too much being made of the Jack position? Jim Knowles’ defense has different packages and how often those packages appear depends on how effective they are and the pieces they have to fit into them. The Jack package they have is a good one.
+ Steele Chambers is now one of the most experienced linebackers on the team. What he did last year was significant. Now he’s got a spring under him with Jim Knowles coaching him. He’s much further along than he was last season.
+ Asked about Kam Babb and Gee Scott, he said Scott practiced today and he expects both guys to be available moving forward. Same deal with Lejond Cavazos. Some guys just miss a practice here and there with minor injuries.
+ Donovan Jackson is an insurance guy at tackle. He’s the No. 1 left guard. He’s talented and can process information at a high level for his age.
+ Kyle McCord is competitive and wants to be at Ohio State. He’s going to be ready to play in game one if he gets that opportunity. His focus is on being developed. He’s improved in a number of ways since last season.
+ The Jack position allows multiple spacings up front, which can create confusion on the offensive line. You can change the angles of the blocking and the double teams. Any time you can do that, the OL isn’t as sure of itself.
+ The depth on the defensive line is going to be a huge advantage. The twos and threes are further along than the twos and threes on offense.
+ Tanner McCalister has meshed in well. He understands the game. The team likes him. It’s a prideful group so you can’t just add anybody. He has worked hard to earn a position. He and Cam Martinez are both grinding at nickel. The communication of the three starting safeties is key because the defense is so multiple.
+ He’s pleased with Devin Brown over his first nine practices. It can be tough when you’re practicing with threes, but the more reps he gets, the better he’ll be.
+ They will always keep an eye on the transfer portal looking for a fourth quarterback but they feel good about the three they have.
+ He has not seen any change in CJ Stroud as a person. He’s been level headed about everything. He didn’t ride the roller coaster of last season when things weren’t going well. You can see his humility and appreciation for the support that he gets.
+ The tight end room gives the offense some real athleticism this year. The more each guy can do, the more they can play and the more they can stay on the field. Guys have to be able to check a number of boxes in order to play as much as they want. They have moved a number of guys to that position, so it takes some developing.
+ You see signs in the defense that makes you believe things are going in the right direction.
+ They are looking at Notre Dame some but not a ton. They’re focused on fundamentals right now.
+ They do not yet have a format for the spring game. They’ll figure that out at the end of the week when they see what the depth looks like.
+ Tim Walton and Perry Eliano have done a great job. Larry Johnson as well. The guys are playing well and enjoying the defense. The players like playing for these coaches.
+ It was a big recruiting weekend. Can’t talk specifics, but there were some great prospects and families in town. The idea is that when a player commits, he’s done looking around. There are some guys that are close. The next couple of months there will be some really good players coming their way. But when they commit, he wants them to be done. He doesn’t want them looking around and taking visits.
+ The more athletic you can be at linebacker, the better.
+ Tommy Eichenberg has some momentum thanks to the end of last season. The reps add up and you get better and better and become a veteran. They’re hoping all of the linebackers take a jump from last season, much like Pete Werner, Tuf Borland, and Baron Browning did in the past.
+ They’re “kinda two-deep” at most positions, but they do need more depth on the offensive line. They also want to know who will be the top 6-7 receivers. Defensively, can they rotate or will there be a distinct first and second-team? That will be determined. Evan Pryor is making a push for playing time on offense. Learning what the roles are going to be and the leadership the guys have will be significant.
+ Kam Babb has been healthy but had a bump in the road but it “didn’t come back as a big deal.” He was practicing at a high level. He’ll be back in a couple of weeks.
+ The thing that separates the good versus great quarterbacks is being able to make sense of all of the chaos going on in front of you. When a quarterback has “it,” that’s part of it, just being able to process what’s going on with the other 21 guys.
+ Is he seeing what he wanted to defensively? He likes how Jim Knowles teaches in front of the room and there’s a lot of interaction. They are seeing the results on the field.
+ CJ Stroud has a high-level understanding of what is happening. He processes it as fast as coaches when watching it on film. That’s when you know you have somebody good, then add in his athleticism and ability to throw the ball.
+ When both the quarterback and center are as studious as CJ Stroud and Luke Wypler, that helps the offense greatly. Last year they were both doing it for the first time. They now have a reference point. This all matters a lot to them. “And they’re skilled.”
+ What does a true freshman need in order to play? It’s hard to play as a freshman if you don’t enroll early. Some guys can do it, but it’s hard. Spring is important. But everybody is on a different journey and the focus always has to be on development. Each guy has to understand their developmental journey is not the same as anybody else. The goals are all the same, but the journeys are different. That being said, they want to play guys as quickly as possible. Last year they were willing to live with some growing pains by playing some young guys because it would eventually pay off down the road.