Football

Ryan Day Tuesday Updates, Talking Buckeyes, Nittany Lions

COLUMBUS – Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with reporters on Tuesday to recap some of Saturday’s win against Indiana and also to look ahead to this Saturday night’s matchup against Penn State. A handful of Buckeye players also joined the media session. Everything that was said can be found below.

Ryan Day

+ There are a lot of areas the offense can continue to improve on. It’s a focus on execution during the week that can really help as well. There are things that need to be locked in on, especially now that they’re going to be playing against better and better defenses. They will be playing one of the better defenses in the country this week.

+ The Illinois-Penn State game was the first time he’s gotten to see the new rules in place. “The only thing I thought about was I better have more two-point players ready to go.”

+ CJ Stroud’s throw down the seam to Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a throw they practice, called a “one-inch throw” to be placed right over a defender. There are times to take those shots. Having confidence helps. Guys are going to be less and less open moving forward, so having some experience throwing in tight windows is good.

+ Marcus Crowley is going to be out for a long time. It’s going to be a long injury. It happened during the bye week. Master Teague should be back this week.

+ It was good to see Evan Pryor out there and Miyan Williams back and playing well. Williams will practice this week after dealing with a minor ding during the game.

+ Injuries are part of the game and they’ve been dealing with that at running back. That’s why they have to recruit depth. Tony Alford has done a really good job with that room.

+ TreVeyon Henderson is running hard, but people are making holes for him.

+ When you’re facing great defenders you have to be aware of them when preparing your game plan. At the end of the day, the players have to execute the plays that are called. If they don’t, the other team’s great players will spoil the plan. They look for advantageous matchups, but those matchups still require execution.

+ The Penn State defense has played well. They really only gave up 10 points last week. They’re giving up 14 points per game. Great defensive coordinator, great scheme, very good players. They are one of the better defenses in the nation.

+ Every week is a new challenge with this team. Each week is like its own season. You never know how the matchups are going to go. They try not to go into any game with expectations, they just play the game as it happens.

+ This is a big weekend for recruiting and it will give everybody an opportunity to see what an environment Ohio Stadium can provide. Peer recruiting is big as well. Players recruiting players is always key.

+ Does practice change before a big game like this? Not really. The opponent changes but the desire for execution remains. Everything remains the same. Rest is important. Nutrition is important. Practice is important. Studying, fundamentals, etc.

+ When you look at the games OSU has had with Penn State, they’re always dogfights and no matter how PSU comes into this game, it’s going to be a tough one. “It’s hard to beat these types of teams.” It’s going to be a physical, back-and-forth game.

+ He doesn’t know if this is a championship-caliber defense right now but you can see the improvements and the roles being filled. It’s a week to week thing right now. Preparation is good, but bigger challenges are coming.

+ Penn State’s secondary is veteran. They have experienced and aggressive corners. They will have some of the better safeties OSU has played against this year. It’s an athletic group that can run man or zone. They can pressure and be aggressive.

+ Jahan Dotson is one of the better WRs in the country. They need to know where he is at all times. That will be part of the schematic conversations.

+ Julian Fleming should be available to practice this week. He was available on an emergency basis last week but they just didn’t think it was the right thing for him to play in that game.

+ Marvin Harrison has been stepping up in special teams, but Day liked his play at receiver last week. Took a big hit, made some defenders miss.

+ He met with the defense after the Oregon game about everybody taking ownership with the defense. They were going to change some things up to help them, but the players need to take ownership of their positions, and he thinks people are seeing that now.

+ Marvin Harrison comes from an elite background. He understands what working is. Being around the guys at OSU shows him what is expected here. He works hard and shows up every day with a great attitude. Very excited about his future and he will help them down the stretch this season.

+ You can’t go into games or seasons with too many expectations because anything can happen. It’s more important to be able to adjust and not get caught up in expectations.

+ He’s not sure if he’s asking more of CJ Stroud than he did Dwayne Haskins or Justin Fields at this point in their starting careers, but he’s asking different things for sure.

+ They are pulling for Luke Fickell and Cincinnati because they know a lot of those guys and they’ve come form Ohio State.

+ They have given up some drives early in games and gotten schemed up but the good news is they adjusted and got things fixed.

+ On the defensive line: “This stretch that we’re about to go on, we’re going to need them all.” It was great to see so many players making plays last week.

+ The running backs have been solid in pass protection. Evan Pryor missed one but bounced back and got one on a completed pass to Cade Stover.

+ They don’t recruit slot receivers just to fit somebody in a spot. They have to be the best in the nation. They have to fit the culture. If they sign them, they can build things for them in the offense to feature their skillsets.

+ On offensive tackle recruiting, he’s been impressed with the way the tackles have played on this team and developed. Thayer Munford and Dawand Jones are examples. It’s important to find the right fit. The way he evaluates offensive line recruiting, it’s about what they look like in their third, fourth, and fifth years at OSU, and right now things are good.

+ Why did they huddle against IU? If they think it will give them something, they’ll do it. They practice huddling at times in practice so that they can hear the call come from CJ Stroud rather than having it signaled in.

+ He has a team right now that loves football. They went through a special teams walk through the morning of the game and the team was focused and sweating on a walk through, so he knew they were going to do well because of how locked in they were.

+ Confidence is very important for a quarterback “but you can’t ride the roller coaster.” You have to be disciplined in a game. Sometimes in practice it’s okay to take some chances.

Jeremy Ruckert

+ They repped the screen pass to TreVeyon Henderson in practice a lot so they knew what they were going to get. He knew he had to get Micah McFadden blocked because they were playing man and McFadden had the running back. You don’t have to overthink the blocks when Henderson is running behind you.

+ Penn State is very physical on defense. They play the Buckeyes tight every year. “We know it’s going to be a great atmosphere in the Shoe.” Penn State will be intense and OSU will have to match that.

+ “It feels like yesterday I just got here.” There are just a few opportunities left for him to play in Ohio Stadium in front of the fans and his family. Gotta make the most out of those opportunities this season.

+ You can see the game is slowing down for CJ Stroud. He shows up every day with a great attitude. Ruckert tells him every dady that he doesn’t have to do anything special, just be yourself because that’s what got you here.

+ The mindset of this offense is if they don’t make mistakes, it’s going to impossible to stop them. “We just believe in ourselves so much and we believe in our coaching staff.”

+ Asked if he notices TreVeyon Henderson’s balance during a game or if he has to wait and notice it on film, Ruckert responded, “I notice it.” The world is seeing what the team has seen since Henderson got here.

+ He tries to be vocal in a game and keep everybody’s heads straight. Any time he can be reassuring to CJ Stroud, he is. He is talking a lot more than he has in the past. His coaches have challenged him to be a leader and to be vocal. It’s not easy, but it gets easier. It doesn’t have to be him yelling at somebody, it can simply be putting his arm around somebody and encouraging them.

Haskell Garrett

+ The confidence of the defensive line has grown. It’s good to see so many plays being made in the backfield.

+ Tyreke Smith has been eager to get back on the field and has increased his work off the field to be ready and productive.

+ Tyleik Williams showed in the spring that he was athletic for his size. “I knew that he was going to be a big contributor to our defense.”

+ Tony Alford stopped by to ask him why the coaches call him “Blink.” Garrett responded by saying “Don’t you have some film to watch?”

+ Penn State has had some close losses so it’s not like they’ve been blown out. The Buckeyes will have a lot on their hands this week.

+ The OSU defense is having a lot of fun playing with each other. “It’s been special to watch how we’ve evolved as a defense.”

+ Asked where he got the nickname blink, he laughed and said “I’m not gonna speak on that.”

+ All of the coaches have responded well to the changes. “Coach Barnes is awesome.”

+ They will prepare for all Penn State quarterbacks, just as they did for Indiana. It’s more about understanding the offense and what they do with it against certain opponents. For him personally, he’s always watching the guy across from him, not really the quarterback.

+ Having Tyreke Smith is very instrumental to the defense. He has uniqueness and is a valuable asset to the defense.

Tyreke Smith

+ It sucked missing games, but health is important and they wanted him to be completely healthy when he finally got on the field. If he’s not 100% then he’s not going to be able to produce like the coaches want him to.

+ It meant a lot to get a sack on Saturday but this is just the beginning. He could have made more of an impact last week with all of his other rushes. Only going up from here.

+ He’s proud of the resilience he’s shown. His mom tells him to keep the faith and keep working. “I only do what I can control.”

+ His mindset right now is focused on doing whatever he can do for the team. Extra film, extra treatment, extra sleep. If he has to talk to somebody who isn’t doing as much as they can, he will. They came up short last year and that’s always in their head.

+ The biggest reason for the defensive improvements since Oregon? The guys are buying in and playing for each other. They have given themselves over to the team and are doing what they can for the whole. “Sometimes the losses are what’s going to help you get to the wins.”

+ He’s not upset that the defensive tackles continue to lead the team in sacks over the defensive ends. The defense is like a bike chain. There’s no individual pieces, it’s all a group working together to move that bike.

+ There is still another level of play that he can tap into. He wants to be able to say he left each game doing what he can to help the team win.

+ Rushing is an art. It’s just something you can just go out and do. You have to have a plan for it. You put in so much work and you can still be a split second from a sack, it can be frustrating. But then you work on trying to shave off that split second so that the pressures become sacks.

+ “I always think I give my team a different aspect in a game.” It’s better to have all of your weapons as you head to war. Having him back will help the defense down the stretch. He’s going to give every last ounce he has in him to help this defense. He wants people to know that there will be no drop off when he comes into the game.

+ Smith has a lot of respect for CJ Stroud. His leadership is going through the roof. He has changed throughout the season. He works hard. Can’t help but be happy for him right now.

Nicholas Petit-Frere

+ Does he feel overlooked nationally? He thanks people who say he’s playing at a high level. That’s humbling to him. He doesn’t care what recognition is out there right now. Winning brings the best recognition and accolades. When other players get accolades, that signals that everybody is doing well and doing their respective jobs.

+ He’s happy about moving to left tackle because it helped the team. It made the offensive line better and helped the offense. Individually, he’s happy that he got an opportunity to show that he’s able to play both sides.

+ Usually if nobody is talking about you as an offensive linemen then it means you’re doing a pretty good job.

+ Saturday was a very good performance for the offensive line but there are some things they need to improve on for Saturday night.

+ There is a lot of energy at night games and a lot of emotions. Both teams are going to come out hot and firing and aggressiveness. Big plays come from that. It will be loud here and it can make it hard to hear.

+ It was very hard to make the switch to left tackle. Everybody has growing pains when this happens. He knew he needed to be seamless and flawless in camp, but that didn’t happen. Offensive line is not easy to play but he’s gotten great coaching and support.

+ The Penn State game last year was a confidence booster for him because he went up against two great defensive ends and played well.

+ He’s not sure if this is his last year as a Buckeye. He’s still writing his story and the story right now is focused on Penn State and this season.

+ He is trying to match and exceed the standard that Thayer Munford set at left tackle, and that extends to the way Munford was off the field as well.

+ He loves night games because it gives him another bite at the apple to watch film on Saturday before the game.