Ryan Day Talks Ohio State Defense, Next Steps For Buckeyes

COLUMBUS – Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with reporters on Tuesday where he was provided with numerous questions about his defense and what the plans are moving forward. There were a number of other topics covered during the session, all of which are covered below.

+ Biggest concern defensively was giving up too many yards and too many points. “Now, it’s not just a single game. It’s a little bit of a pattern.” He’s going to make some adjustments here in how they will attack offenses and how they structure things.

+ They are looking at moving some other guys to FS with Josh Proctor out.

+ The offense has a really good scheme but they need to finish drives better and they need to cut down on the penalties.

+ Tempo for the OSU offense is the same as it’s always been. They had over 600 yards of total offense, so the offense isn’t really the issue. But when you don’t count on fourth downs, those count as turnovers. “We have to run the ball better.”

+ Asked if there’s more to Sevyn Banks than injury and Day said there isn’t.

+ Palaie Gaoteote was part of the defense in practice and in the meetings, which is why he played in that sam linebacker spot. He’s a big, athletic linebacker.

+ Finding the right people for the right spots is part of coaching.

+ Are they playing too many people on defense? If the starters were playing at a high level, there wouldn’t be a question.

+ Why didn’t he make structural changes on defense in the offseason? Last year was a strange year with COVID and he felt confident they would get things fixed. That hasn’t happened.

+ Asked about maybe not rotating the safeties pre-snap and waiting until after the snap, he said there’s a lot of things to look at on defense and figure out what gives them the best chance to win.

+ “This loss doesn’t sit well at all.”

+ The conversations with his defensive staff are honest. “I wouldn’t say they’re uncomfortable, they’re real. I have no problem with those conversations.”

+ Denzel Burke has shown in the games what he showed in practice.

+ He didn’t want to get into structural changes, but he decided after the game. “I’d rather not get into that right now.”

+ The pass defense was the issue last year, so they made adjustments to fix that, now they can’t stop the run. Different issues, but same outcome. So what is the issue? Is it scheme, coaching, style of defense? There were some bad assumptions made and bad changes, “so we’ve got to own that.”

+ A lot of guys on defense have had good snaps but the consistency across the board just isn’t where it needs to be.

+ Asked about redshirting guys, “If guys can help us, they’re going to play.” They’re not going to play freshmen just to play them.

+ Jesse Mirco has played well for a new guy.

+ He’s not going to share the conversations he’s had with Kerry Coombs, but the results are not up to expectations.

+ Where is the fix at linebacker? Helping them with scheme, coaching them up, it’s all of the above. Helping them through their weaknesses. “We have to put them in a position to be successful.”

+ There were a couple of plays where he was asking himself “what’s going on here?”

+ He is looking at giving different coaches new responsibilities on defense.

+ Sevyn Banks isn’t too injured to play. Hopefully he will play this week.

+ Asked about CJ Stroud’s shoulder, he said quarterbacks don’t get touched in practice and then get banged around in games, so it’s something they have to get used to.

+ On CJ Stroud’s high throws: “I thought he was really accurate on Saturday… that was not our issue.”

+ The offensive line is still getting better. They are very talented but they don’t have a ton of experience together. They will be facing different schemes up front each week, so the more experience you have and reps you can draw upon, the better you get.

+ The false starts happened in tempo, so the cadence needs to be louder and players need to be ready. They have to fix that in practice.

+ “We certainly haven’t found an identity on defense yet.”

+ There is no consideration for taking CJ Stroud out of the game for somebody else. “We’ve got to help him more.”

+ CJ Stroud is a threat with his feet. He’s had some good scrambles. They will continue to build on that, but at the end of the day the running backs have to run the ball and the offensive line has to block.

+ Defensive line not getting penetration and disruption is frustrating.

+ On the 77-yard touchdown run, who made the mistake? The fit was wrong. “I’m not going to get into specifics.” It was fit to the safety and the safety was wrong.

+ Is Kerry Coombs going to call the defense this weekend? “I don’t want to get into specifics.” He’s still looking at all of those things. “No hard decisions have been made yet.”

+ Paul Rhoades is a great resource for the coaches, but he doesn’t know the players because he doesn’t get to coach them.

+ Is it disconcerting or surprising that he now has to spend so much time with the defense? Yes, he’s not happy about that all. Every minute he is removed from the offense and the special teams is frustrating. He’ll be more involved with the defense a bit, not the intricacies, but what are they doing and planning.

+ Losing Josh Proctor hurts because he has played and not a lot of the other guys have.

+ Jaxon Smith-Njigba had a good spring and preseason, but didn’t get into a rhythm in the first game. You saw what his potential is in the Oregon game, however. He has big-play potential. Made big catches, ran good routes. They have good depth at the position and those other players will start to get snaps.

+ Yes, Kerry Coombs is still the defensive coordinator, but they’re going to look at everything heading into this game.

+ What will define success? Keep progressing and gaining confidence. “You know it when you see it.” It doesn’t happen all at once, it’s day to day. It’s about competitive excellence. You have to look at yourself and focus on that.