Following Ohio State’s six practice of spring ball, head coach Ryan Day met with reporters to talk about the progress his Buckeyes are making and answered a number of questions regarding a variety of topics. The highlights of everything he had to say can be found below.
+ Cade Stover is back at tight end now after spending time at linebacker. Moving forward, Stover saw that he has a huge ceiling at tight end. What Stover will tell you is that he wants to bring that defensive mindset and intensity to offense.
+ Biggest concerns entering spring? You’re putting in a new defense, so that’s part of the concern. He’s been impressed with the teaching and energy. The guys are playing with confidence. They have also gotten into better shape. They’re stronger and more powerful. The offensive line was also a concern. Getting continuity and depth was the concern there.
+ They will do some tackling this spring.
+ What does he want to see from the offensive line this spring? You want to find five guys. Then six, then seven, then eight. In the run game, you want to find out if you can move the line of scrimmage. The DL and OL have been challenging each other every day. Everybody has talent, but it’s the discipline and skill that you have to develop. They ask the guys each week what their strengths and weaknesses are, then at the end of the week they ask what the players have done to address their weaknesses.
+ How does he feel about the TE group? “I think they’re all getting better.” It’s the same group, just minus Jeremy Ruckert. Mitch Rossi is out this spring, of course. They need to find a starter. They’re not worried about packages right now. That comes during preseason camp.
+ Tanner McCalister understands the defense. He’s like one of those old player-coaches. His experience really shows up on the field. “He feels comfortable in this style of defense.”
+ There are a bunch of newcomers who have flashed. Hopefully some more black stripes come off soon.
+ Is there something to be said to having guards back at guard this year helping the running game? Thayer Munford will end up playing guard and tackle in the NFL and Paris Johnson was fine last year, so he doesn’t think it was a huge impediment. But in a perfect world you’d like the offensive line to be a little more “squared away.”
+ Donovan Jackson is very talented. Very smart. Very athletically gifted. Now it’s developing that skill and discipline. He was the 7th or 8th lineman last year.
+ “I feel good about” the receiver depth. You don’t replace Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave overnight though.
+ Day wishes Josh Proctor was able to do more right now. “It’s been a long road for him to come back from.” He’s inching his way back. “But that’s okay, it’s a long way to August.”
+ There was conversation about Dawand Jones leaving early for the NFL. He wanted to come back to be a first or second rounder. He has been challenged with what that will take to get there. He has some things to accomplish. Consistency will be one of them. He knows what he needs to do.
+ Mitchell Melton has been moved around a bit. He’s been on the defensive line more. His pass rush skills have been shown in the first six practices. “He has shown us that he can play up on the line of scrimmage and be a threat.”
+ There is a logjam at linebacker when running a 4-2-5. Guys are trying to find their roles on the team. The coaches need to find the best spots for the guys. They’ve done that for Melton and Stover.
+ Having a solid top five initially on the offensive line can help the chemistry and consistency. Individually, some guys like to have to compete for a spot. Others like that they don’t have to look over their shoulder.
+ Taron Vincent flashed at times last year and had some good games. He has a lot of ability. He’s had a good spring and he has leadership skills. “If we’re gonna get to where we need to be on defense, he’s gonna be a big part of it.” He’s gotten stronger and faster.
+ There will be some “tinkering” during spring but the focus is on fundamentals. Schematically you can move guys around, but it needs to be a quick decision because you don’t have a lot of time to invest on tinkering.
+ Anything he wishes was further along right now compared to past springs? “Not really.” He likes the challenges the defense is presenting. “Overall, we’re right where we need to be right now.” But that’s just through six practices. There’s still a long way to go.
+ Jim Knowles has a unique way of teaching. It’s been fun to sit in on some of those meetings. “It’s been nice to be around it and see the different style.” It’s very efficiency the way he teaches.
+ TreVeyon Henderson has the potential to be as good as anybody in the country. He’s a more confident player now. He’s very serious. He’s more experienced. He has things he wants to get done this spring. He’s got a good voice and sets a standard in the building. Being a running back in the spring can be a challenge because there isn’t a lot of tackling, but there’s still pass protection and those things that he’s done well with.
+ This week is where you’ll see some growth individually.
+ Asked about Gee Scott and Evan Pryor, Day said they need to figure out how many guys on offense deserve to be on the field. There are some talented young guys coming on, like the two mentioned. It’s not like finding a role, though some of it will be, but it’s putting the players in positions that best utilizes their skill set. You list the things that each guy can do, then you put that package together. It’s the same thing on defense. If you have a good pass rusher but he can’t stop the run, he’s only going to play on third down. If you are a wide receiver and you can block on the perimeter, that gives the offense a lot of flexibility. When you start scheming up, the more guys who can do many things, the better. Evan Pryor can go run a route on the outside but also line up in the backfield.
+ What is special about Josh Proctor when he’s healthy? He’s rangy. He is extremely physical. He can cover a lot of ground. He can blitz. He had that hit in the Wisconsin game to end that game. He also has really good ball skills. He can track the ball. When he’s at his best, he is all over the field. He can get away with some things that other guys can’t.
+ You have to be tough physically and mentally to play at this level. Everybody is a little bit different and you have to understand them all in order to teach and coach them how they will respond best.
+ They have had constant conversations with Cade Stover since the Rose Bowl. He showed unbelievable leadership in the offseason. They want to put him in the best position to be successful. He can’t keep bouncing around. His focus right now will be tight end.
+ They recruiting both Steele Chambers and Chip Trayanum as linebackers out of high school. The more they’ll get under his belt, the better he’ll be.
+ He doesn’t expect Josh Proctor to be able to do team work drills this spring.