Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day took part in his weekly radio show today. Following his appearance there, he took part in his weekly “Lightning Round” session with reporters. Day spent the bulk of his time providing updates on his team and previewing Saturday’s matchup against Notre Dame. The highlights of everything that was said can be found below.
Ryan Day Radio Show
- Yesterday was practice No. 23, so the players are ready to see a different team across from them.
- They talk about not being tired of practice. You have to embrace this week. It’s a process and you have to “work the game” all the way up until kickoff.
- They started gameplanning a couple of weeks ago once they got out of the hotel. They have been inserting stuff throughout preseason but they really kicked into it the last two weeks.
- Had a couple of physical practices on Monday and Tuesday.
- After a while the team kind of gets annoyed by each other because everybody knows what everybody is doing offensively and defensively.
- The scout team is “really big.” Young players coming in don’t realize the importance of it, but most of the veterans have been on the scout team at some point. GAs meet with the scout players during the week to help them give the best picture of the opposing team as possible in practice. Kevin Wilson and Corey Dennis help out. Wilson has the front end and Dennis has the back end.
- Scouting a team the first week is always difficult. The offensive coordinator remains but there’s a new quarterback. New defensive coordinator in Al Golden, but you have an idea of what Marcus Freeman likes to do because he was the DC last year at ND.
- There have been some great competitions this camp and you had experienced guys vying for jobs, which makes them all better.
- CJ Stroud grew over time last year and the reps help the game slow down and now he can do more anticipating rather than reacting. Stroud proved last year that he could be trusted. Then the next step is taking leadership, which he has done. It isn’t just about throwing and catching and running. His focus is on winning.
- The Rose Bowl was good for the young receivers. You don’t just replace two guys like Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. The new guys need to be consistent and clutch, like Olave and Wilson. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has shown it but the other guys need to do that now. It’s a prideful room.
- Running back is a position of strength because of the experience coming back. TreVeyon Henderson is stronger, faster, and more powerful. Miyan Williams has really improved as well in a lot of areas. Dallan Hayden has been a nice surprise. “If a bomb went off” they have given snaps to Chip Trayanum at running back in practice.
- The balance on offense he’d like is 250/250 at the end of the day. “You call the plays that work.”
- Having Dawand Jones back is big. He’s lost weight and his feet are moving well. Great to see Matt Jones getting an opportunity. Luke Wypler is a returning starter and he’s seen so much now. Donovan Jackson played some last year and has that to lean on. Paris Johnson has been good at left tackle. Justin Frye has built a strong relationship with his players.
- You have to know where DE Isaiah Foskey is on every play and have a plan for him. You can’t always slide to him because they have good players all over the defensive line.
- The new turf at Ohio Stadium is a fast track. It’s the same field as in the indoor facility so they’ve practiced on the new turf a lot. They also practiced in Ohio Stadium five or six times. “It’s a fast field.” “It’s nice and the guys really like it.”
- They are only permitted one practice per day but they do have a walk-through after dinner for about an hour. Meetings all throughout the day as well.
- When you combine the experience coming back on defense with the new scheme and coaches, it’s been exciting. “I’m excited to see this defense play Saturday night.”
- How do you stop a great tight end like ND’s Michael Mayer? “It’s a matchup issue.” He can beat bigger guys in the passing game and smaller guys in the running game.
- The experience on defense right now for OSU is something that you can’t replace. When they haven’t had it in the past, you’ve seen the results.
- The leadership up front defensively has to be strong. They know Notre Dame is going to try to run the ball early and establish the line of scrimmage. The defensive line is a strength. This will be a big challenge.
- Tyler Friday is back and it’s great to have him. When you come back after missing a year, you come back with a new perspective and more appreciation than you had before.
- Josh Proctor and Lathan Ransom put in a lot of hard work and rehab to come back from their broken legs. Give credit to OSU’s training staff.
- Good to see Steele Chambers with a rolodex of plays to fall back on. He’s anticipating now and not reacting.
- “I’ve been very impressed with Cade (Stover). I’m expecting him to have a major impact on this offense. He has an edge.” He has brought his defensive mentality to the offense. He has developed into a starting tight end for OSU.
- This is a deep tight end group for Ohio State. They allow them to do different things with personnel groupings.
- Special teams are a third of the game. “I feel good about our return guys.”
- Notre Dame is a veteran team. They have a large number of seniors back. They understand what it means to play in a big environment like this.
- Ryan Day was the WR coach for Al Golden his first year at Temple. That was 2006. It’s been a while since they were together so there’s no tendencies to fall back on at this point. He knows they’ll be well organized and well coached.
- Big recruiting weekend. How do you balance? The focus is on winning the game. When recruits come in for a game like this, it’s to allow them to experience what it’s like to play here in games like this. Players understand that they won’t get as much time with the coaches on these weekends.
- Hopefully Chris Holtmann can have a successful recruiting weekend too.
- They have moved to a Nike football. The players say it punts further. It was a big decision. You have to vet things and look at the ball and how they’re made. They’re almost identical to balls they’ve used in the past. The guys like the footballs. Won’t be much of a change.
- The biggest challenge of monitoring the NIL stuff is just not knowing what is next. The NCAA has rules but isn’t in a position to enforcement. You just have to work through it. It’s good to see Buckeye Nation rallying around this team. NIL isn’t going away “so we have to embrace it.” The players have done some great things with NIL. He wishes there were some guidelines. “Right now there is nothing.”
- Would Day like to play a week zero game overseas? Hasn’t really thought about it. Focused on Notre Dame. Was great to see the game last week. Clean game overall. Was a great crowd.
- Every year they study their plays and situations from the year before. They look at their shortfalls and see how it needs to be improved.
- It’s going to be a battle on the line of scrimmage and on the perimeter. “We have to be the tougher team.” Games are won and lost up front. This game will be no different.
- Overall health of the team? You try to balance being tougher and calloused with keeping them healthy. “I think we struck that balance.”
- How do you avoid getting into tendencies in the first game? The first game brings a lot of changes throughout the game. You have to have contingencies for what you’re seeing, but you also have to do what fits your team’s skill set.
- Been impressed with CJ Stroud’s approach and maturity regarding the NIL stuff, like providing $500 gift cards to teammates to get suits for the pregame on Saturday. The reason players play hard is for their teammates, after all.
- There are a lot of second-year guys who have stepped up because a lot of them played last year. Offense and defense. There’s a lot of those guys who are playing now. Years ago if you have a bunch of sophomores playing for you, that would be considered a young team. Now, not so much.
- What will be the tip-off that the defense is rocking and rolling? “Time will tell, but it’s been great to see in the scrimmages just how they’ve operated.” It’s the communication and understanding how teams are attacking. Winning the line of scrimmage. Strength in the red zone. Those have all been good to see.
- What is a successful day running the ball? No expectations, but they want to control the game when they are running the ball. “I like the plan we have going on.”
- No updates on transfer kicker Parker Lewis.
- They haven’t looked back on past losses in big games at home. They’ve just focused on this game. Play with emotion, don’t let emotion play with you. Excited for this game.
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