Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day

Ryan Day Excited To Finally See New Buckeye Defense In Action

Two different pictures of the same Buckeye landscape were painted this week when Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and defensive coordinator Jim Knowles met with reporters and answered questions about Saturday’s upcoming debut of the new Buckeye defense.

Knowles remained stoic in the face of peppered presumptions. Day, meanwhile, pulled up a bit of his stoic veil and admitted his excitement to finally see this Ohio State defense take the field against somebody other than themselves.

Day has seen the last two Buckeye football teams fall short of their ultimate goals, and most people would point at the defense as the largest reason why. As the head coach, Ryan Day had some difficult choices to make. His decision to bring in Knowles was made nearly nine months ago now.

The process of putting a dominating defense on the field began the day after Knowles was hired and won’t stop any time soon.

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Day isn’t expecting a finished product defensively but he’s expecting a much better product immediately.

“Yeah, I mean, we’re still a couple of days away. So we’re going to keep preparing all the way till 7:29 when the foot hits the ball,” Day said back on Tuesday. “But it’s time to go play somebody now. I think as much as our guys are doing a great job of being focused, they want to go play a game and hit somebody else.

“I think they’re tired of practicing. We can’t get tired of practicing. We’ve got to keep working. But these guys have been working hard for this moment and done a great job with the installation and a great job making adjustments and learning and growing and now it’s game planning Notre Dame. I think we’re in a great place, but we’ll see here on Saturday night.”

For Knowles, this is the kind of job that gives a coach everything he could possibly want. The access to talent is all you can ask for, the resources and facilities are abundant, and the amount of people around to help install a defense is more than most.

Knowles understands the stakes, but also that he was brought here to do what he does, and how he does it.

“It’s the same process, the expectations are different,” Knowles said. “But that hasn’t changed what I do or how I do it. You just…you know it’s there. So you stay locked in maybe even more than I have in the past, you know? I’ll think about all the nice parts about it when I get old and I can sit back, relax a little bit. But right now the expectations are high, and the players expect you to be their leader and be locked in, and that’s what I’m gonna do.”

Knowles is serious about that last part. Even though he has previously mentioned that it took 56 years for him to get here and he’s thankful of where he is, when he was asked this week if he was going to take a second before Saturday night’s game and appreciate the moment, he had no interest.

“No,” he said. “I’m going to stay focused in and in a locked-in mindset and do my job. That’s what the players need.”

Knowles exuded confidence in his defense this week, and having studied them more than anybody else, that’s a very good sign.

Ryan Day has also been watching the defense closely and he’s seen them have successes against his Ohio State offense in practice every day.

His stoicism isn’t so rigid when it comes to talking about the defense.

“Yeah, it’s gonna be great to see,” Day said. “Just a bunch of guys running around with great energy and great confidence. And that’s what this thing is going to be and that’s the way they practiced, just the whole group in general. You know, if you come out and watch practice, you can see it. There’s just an energy level to them, a confidence, guys buzzing around playing fast, playing violent, creating chaos out there. And that’s gonna be fun to watch.”

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