Ryan Day Ohio State Buckeyes Head Coach

Huddle Updates: Ryan Day, Jim Knowles, CJ Stroud Talk Buckeyes, Rockets, More

COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with reporters on Tuesday to provide updates on his Buckeyes football team. Also joining the media session were defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and quarterback CJ Stroud. The highlights of everything that was said on the day can be found below.

Ryan Day

  • The more Caden Curry plays, the more he’ll find a role for himself. He’s productive when he’s on the field. He’s helping on special teams, but it’s great to see him out there on defense.
  • Feeling okay about the situation on the offensive line. Not where they need to be overall, but they
  • Tommy Eichenberg is doing a solid job of leading the defense, but it’s just two games. Pleased with his play so far.
  • He knows Jason Candle very well. They have spent some time together and he’s a very good coach and he’s doing a great job at Toledo.
  • It doesn’t matter who they play, there are things they need to clean up. There are too many penalties. If you go and listen to the best pianist in America but you see him in a bar, that doesn’t mean you’re expecting him to be terrible.
  • The depth is getting better. Last year they had starters who weren’t ready to play. It’s always overwhelming for young players. They’re still coming out of the pandemic and trying to find their new normal. Older guys can go back to normal because they’ve experienced it.
  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba is further along and he is expected to play this weekend.
  • What does he do to address penalties with the team? Like anything else, you’re either accepting it or coaching it out of them. It won’t be accepted moving forward. There are certain things that will always happen during a game, but there are other things that shouldn’t happen.
  • Dallas Gant was always excellent as a Buckeye. Great to see him playing, but wish he was still playing at Ohio State. He comes from a great family. Everybody is still getting used to the transfer portal, but this is the positive side of it.
  • NIL and the portal have changed recruiting conversations a lot. For the current players, NIL was a bonus because it wasn’t part of the recruiting conversation. Now it is. It will affect things moving forward. With all of the changes, transparency is important because players can choose to leave at any time. What you say in recruiting you have to follow up on. Now that NIL is part of the conversation, there seems to be a lot more people involved on the players’ side.
  • This is a different team when JSN is playing but it’s been good for the longevity of the offense to get Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison already settled and productive.
  • Cade Stover is a very capable receiver. “Cade’s a weapon for us.” They know they’ll be able to get him in one-on-one situations because of the receivers they have. Hopefully they can keep build on that for him.
  • Gee Scott can block at tight end now and gives them versatility there. They can adapt in-game, which they did with Gee and it helped. His presence affected what Arkansas State did defensively with their defensive line.
  • Denzel Burke is very, very talented. He will keep working to get better. He certainly has plays that he wants back, but he’ll be okay. Just has to work on what has been giving him issues and go from there.
  • Emeka Egbuka is physical and strong. He doesn’t get bumped off of routes. He kept pushing through on his touchdown catch.
  • CJ Stroud has done a great job with his pocket presence this season. He has bought them time with his escapability. Blitzes are being picked up nicely as well from the backs.
  • Julian Fleming is expected to play as well. They will continue to monitor him.
  • JK Johnson has done a really good job. He’s skilled. He can run. His role means a lot to him and he takes things seriously. “I think you see his capability.”
  • The rotation at defensive line is week to week. You can see guys are starting to fill into their roles. It’s a long season so they’ll need them all.
  • Any time you are a coordinator, you have a vision of what you think your offense or defense is going to look like. Jim Knowles still has more visions. You have to stay a step ahead of the opponent.
  • Nothing better than playing at noon and then going home and watching other coaches go through what you go during the afternoon and night games. They watch CFB to see the trends and what’s going on but the rankings are not important.
  • Toledo has upgraded positions through the transfer portal. They are going to come in and play hard. They will not be intimidated at all.
  • Mike Hall is fine and good to go. In the preseason you could see how disruptive Hall is. You have to earn your way here. He’s done that. “At the end of the day, the best players play.”
  • Ty Hamilton had his best game to date last week.
  • When you’re on the field, you’ve got to play well. It’s competitive here. “Unlike last year, we have some more experience to go on.” Josh Proctor bounced back well this past weekend. They are working hard to make sure he’s playing his best football right now.
  • TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams splitting carries so far is about what they’ve expected. They want to keep them fresh. “They’re running hard. They’re running violent.” They are taking care of the ball and their protection has been solid right now.
  • Miyan Williams is ahead of where Day thought he’d be at this point. He had a productive spring and preseason.
  • It’s definitely meaningful when young guys make plays at the end of blowouts. It’s important for players to show what they can do. There is a lot to process during a game, so if they show they can do that, even in a blowout, it’s significant. It’s the fog of war. “Some guys, they thrive in that environment.”
  • There is a long way to go with the running game, but it’s cleaner than he expected at this point. They’re on the same page and it’s well put together. They are nowhere near where they need to be, but it’s been a positive.
  • Jordan Hancock is talented enough to help. They expect him to be in the two-deep and help right off the bat. He should be back this weekend. It was a significant injury. He got some scout work in last week.
  • They expected to roll the receivers this season. Losing Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming caused a little bit of a panic. The other guys have been stretched a little thin, so it’s huge to get them back now. Not sure who starts between Emeka Egbuka or Julian Fleming but everybody is going to play.
  • The amount of penalties is ridiculous and they have to get that fixed.
  • They haven’t forced any turnovers but they’re not going to stop doing what they’re doing. When you worry about turnovers you can alter what you do that’s been working.
  • The game slowed down for Marvin Harrison in game two.

Jim Knowles

  • The Toledo QB can run it any time he wants to, but they don’t do a lot of designed runs.
  • He is comfortable “zero blitzing” because it puts a lot of pressure on the offense. The offense has to plan for it. It’s important to have that ability to use it for a defense. It changes the game. Your players believe in it as well.
  • When it all comes together, like on the Steele Chambers blitz and sack, “it’s a beautiful thing to watch.” He doesn’t enjoy it in the moment, but does the next day. “There’s no ‘yippee.'” He loves it when a plan comes together. It’s a lot of hard work, thinking, and planning. 10,000 hours kind of go into that one play.
  • He’s not surprised by Mike Hall because he plays the way he practices. The first time he saw him go full speed in practice he saw something rare. That first step is very rare. There a a lot of talented guys, but the ability to get off the ball, it’s a split-second thing. Some guys have it. He does. He has tremendous potential. Sky is the limit.
  • Turnovers are one part of the metric to being successful on defense. They come as guys get more comfortable in the system. When you feel more comfortable you can take more chances. He doesn’t like that there have been no turnovers. Is he concerned? His job is to be concerned about everything with the defense. The goal of the defense is to stop the offense. Turnovers are one way to do that but not the only way. When he was at Duke, they had games against Clemson and Florida State where they forced 10 turnovers but gave up 100 total points.
  • There are guys when you watch them in practice, they go hard every single play. Game, non-game, walk-through, doesn’t matter. “Mike has a lot of that in him.”
  • Caden Curry is another guy he noticed from the start. He’s got a tremendous first step. He’s tough. Because of his size, he can get himself in a position to make plays. He’s shown he can play. He will earn more opportunities.
  • Overall, he is happy with the tackling. It can be better. There were missed tackles in the last game. Tackling is a habit.
  • Denzel Burke is fine. Those guys are corner they live on an island. It’s something that 99.99% of the population could never do. It’s tough and competitive. Sometimes you can get into a little bit of a slump. He came out of the game, reassessed, went back in and then did better. It’s a high-pressure position and you will have ups and downs. It’s natural. He’s got a great attitude and they trust him.
  • The depth at cornerback? “We’d love to have Jordan [Hancock] back.” It is what it is so he tries not to have any feelings about the depth.
  • What goes into the decision to pull a game out of the game? If it happens a couple of times, you start to get a sense that maybe he’s a little behind. One play is no big deal. There are times when Knowles [jokingly] could use a break as a play caller but he has to call his way out of it. Players, you can pull them and let them catch a breather and reassess things.
  • Steele Chambers is athletic. Cody Simon is a physical presence with experience. He has a very stable mindset that the rest of the team picks up on. He can handle calls and checks. He likes having him in the mix.
  • CJ Hicks has great talent and a great attitude. It’s hard to get young guys quality reps in practice. “It’s hard to get him in the mix right now.”
  • He didn’t get to see Cody Simon in the spring but it was easy to tell that he has a presence about him. He was pleased with his play in preseason and it is being rewarded with playing time.
  • He does not like “bend-but-don’t-break” defense. “I never think about bending but not breaking.” He wants to get the ball back to the offense as quickly as possible.
  • Tommy Eichenberg has been a great leader for the defense. He’s tough and focused and they can count on him.
  • When you are a blitzing defense, your defense starts to believe in playing offense on defense. Creative defenses will get guys engaged. You don’t have to blitz all the time though to keep them engaged.

CJ Stroud

  • It will be exciting to get Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming back. But even if they don’t, he knows they’ll be fine.
  • Emeka Egbuka did a nice job of selling the drag on his touchdown catch. Took Stroud a second to find him but it was good execution by the both of them for making it work when it wasn’t exactly the look they were expecting.
  • Gee Scott is a very dynamic tight end. He’s a good blocker who can run really good routes. He adds a lot of positives to the offense and they’ll be using him more and more.
  • Is there something different about playing a team from Ohio? He approaches each game the same, but he knows there may be players on the other team who see it differently.
  • He’s worked on being smarter in the game and being smarter with the football and taking care of it better than he did last year. It’s still earlier and they still have to get better.
  • He’s been able to anticipate the game from a young age. It allows him to throw it to a spot where only his receiver can get to it. That also requires time in the offseason working with receivers. And guys to pick up the blitzes to allow him to throw the ball.
  • Anything good takes time, that includes football and running routes.
  • What can Julian Fleming bring to the offense? He’s versatile and dynamic. Everybody knows he can go and get the deep ball, but he’s worked hard on his route running. He’s also a physical receiver. He can block people. “When he comes back he’ll definitely be used a lot.”
  • Donovan Jackson is very smart for his age. He knows what they’re trying to get done. He asks a lot of questions. He works hard on film. Big body. Agile. Weight room guy who can move people out of the way. He and Paris Johnson work really well together on the left side. He just needs to keep growing and stay humble, and he’s the kind of guy who will do that.
  • Why are they throwing to the tight ends more? This is Ohio State, so there are always good highlights. They tried to get the ball to Jeremy Ruckert last year but the outside guys were always so open. That’s not to say the outside guys aren’t getting open this year. Cade Stover is like a little Gronk. He can make something happen with the ball. But the QB has to stay disciplined and can’t force the ball to guys.
  • Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson have been dynamic. People finally see how good Williams is. They are tremendous with the pass blocking. The offense will continue to do great things with the backs this year.
  • He goes home after noon games and watch college football. He’ll binge watch and just go from game to game to game. It’s an exciting season going on right now. Anybody can lose to anybody. “That’s just something with our team, we don’t want to learn the hard way” like they did last year.

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