COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with reporters for his weekly Tuesday press conference. He discussed the Buckeyes’ most recent game, as well as Saturday night’s upcoming Big Ten opener against Wisconsin. Also meeting with the media was defensive coordinator Jim Knowles who discussed the prospects of defending the Badgers’ running game. The highlights of everything that was said can be found below.
- Wisconsin epitomizes everything the Big Ten is all about. Sound offensively and defensively. Always well coached with good talent.
- What happened last week doesn’t matter for this week. Need a great Tuesday practice and then Wednesday and so on. It’s about growing and enhancing.
- Wisconsin has an identity, which is important for a program. They are not easy to scout because they do a lot of different things and they’re good at them. They won’t deviate from their plan because the Wisconsin plan has been successful over the years. Just because they do the same kind of thing every year doesn’t make them easy to prepare for because they’re good at what they do. And they’re more multiple than you think offensively. They are throwing the ball more. Defensively they have different fronts.
- Is this a prove-it game regarding toughness? “It’s the epitome of the Big Ten.” They have talked about Wisconsin’s style of play, but it’s not just Wisconsin. This schedule is going to be more physical going forward.
- What’s the issue at cornerback? There have been some plays made on them. They have to do a better job making one-on-one plays. They will. There have been some funky plays. But you still have to make sure you defend the ball.
- Cameron Martinez graded out a champion against Toledo.
- It’s unbelievable to see Harry Miller continuing his messaging in so many forms. Day was the guy who recruited him. They knew he would have an impact on people. “I’m proud of what he’s doing.”
- They did expect Cade Stover to be this explosive as a tight end. He can block, he can protect. Now he’s showing what he can do on the perimeter. He can run. Good basketball player. Really good ball skills. Day saw those skills a few years ago. Stover put his faith in the coaches to develop him at tight end.
- TreVeyon Henderson is expected to play on Saturday.
- What is the process like coming up with different offensive packages. There are ideas drawn all over the walls. When you are in that room, there can’t be any egos. Day and Kevin Wilson make the final decision, but every coach puts stuff out there. “The best idea wins.” But you also need enough time to practice that stuff. The players are also giving decent feedback on what they like.
- Justin Frye is very intelligent and sees the offense from a wider lens than just the offensive line. He has been part of different kinds of schemes.
- How much does Wisconsin DC Jim Leonard affect the OSU game plan. He has great respect for Leonard. His defenses are always among the best in the country. But it still comes down to the players. What do they know and what can they execute on the field.
- He gets more worked up on Tuesday and Wednesday than he does on Saturday. It’s the preparation that is key.
- It’s been a while since Jordan Hancock has practiced. He’s close but not where he needs to be yet.
- Ten out of 12 games each season are going to be difficult. “It is what it is.” Doesn’t matter when they happen you still have to be ready.
- TreVeyon Henderson has been running hard. The entire room has that mentality and they take pride in that. They have an edge about them, which is what he wants.
- The Toledo game was the first time he has ever called a fullback dive. They like the players they have to employ the I-formation. The players love it. He has challenged the team to be tougher and this is one of the ways they can show that they are able to meet that challenge.
- They are trying to get the ball to Gee Scott. He deserves the ball. The one they had drawn up for him he was held. Coverage dictates where the ball goes as well. Everybody has their own journey. To Gee’s credit he has worked every day and shown toughness. It’s important to have an athletic, physical tight end like him. Arkansas State didn’t respect him in the running game and OSU ran the ball right down the field on him with Scott in the game.
- It is difficult to keep a rhythm offensively playing a team like Wisconsin that can keep the ball away from you.
- Midway through preseason camp they felt good about their tight end depth. Those guys have shown up every day and blocked and made plays. They have to block a DE on one play, then pick up a blitz on the next play, then go beat a DB in coverage on the next play. It’s not an easy job.
- Any team can beat you and the players need to understand that. Wisconsin takes care of the football, they play hard, and they are talented. They have been talking about the weekly challenges for a long time.
- Will we see more 3 linebacker sets? “There’ll be different plans to handle what they do.”
- Cade Stover, Mitch Rossi, and Gee Scott all graded out as champions.
- Sometimes Jim Knowles will employ eight and nine guys in 7-on-7 in practice. That has forced CJ Stroud to move around and look for receivers. They don’t script scrambles, but his ability to move has been a good addition to the passing game. When deciding whether or not some of those scramble throws are good decisions, you can’t look at the result. It’s about the process and decision making. He may have completed the pass but it wasn’t the right decision. Or vice versa.
- The three night games are good for recruiting. They are long days. It’s nice when a noon game is done and you can be home by 4:30. But he also enjoys a loud stadium and the electricity of campus during night games. They need the crowd to be loud in this one. “Buckeye Nation’s got all day to get fired up…”
- The balance between having an identity and not being predictable? They take that very seriously. Good teams have tendencies because they have things that they are really good at. You then have to play off of those tendencies at times.
- Luke Wypler is typical of a center. He’s Type A. He wants to get everything right, but he also takes pride in it. He is always working extra. You also have to be a good communicator and be able to process a lot of information.
- It’s important to have options to a package that you put in. It can’t just be a hand-off in an I-formation. There needs to be different things that can be done from it.
- They have been able to check off some boxes regarding what they’ve learned over these first three games.
- “We’ve been bullish on Lathan from the time he first showed up in practice.” He just gets better every week. He can play multiple positions.
- When you have safeties that can cover and attack the line of scrimmage, it just makes your defense better.
- You never feel totally comfortable as a defensive coordinator in college football because you face so many different styles of offense, but they’ve faced a good variety so far to know more about what they have.
- Denzel Burke is serious about his craft. He comes in early. Works with Tim Walton. “Life on an island is difficult.” Burke will get better and better. They have 100% confidence in him.
- “I don’t think we did a great job” of defending the Toledo quarterback. That’s on him. It wasn’t Silver Bullet caliber. He didn’t do a good enough job preparing the defense for how good the QB was. It’s difficult to simulate a scrambling quarterback. They had some schemes and ideas, but they didn’t execute them very well, which is his fault. They’ll get better.
- This week is Big Ten football. You’ve got to be able to win one-on-one battles in the running game. Hard-fought fistfights.
- The run defense has been good. “It can get a lot better.” Last week could have been better. He’s still waiting for this defense to dominate at all points of attack.
- He has been told Mike Hall will be back.
- The defense has allowed a 50-yard pass in each game. Does this concern him? He has built explosive plays into his defensive system/plan because they do happen. You have to look and see why they happened. Every explosive play is concerning, but it’s not the end of the world because they’ve shown they can respond. They’ve been on the right track schematically regarding the big plays and being in the right places.
- “I only concern myself with production.” He doesn’t care if it’s three-down or four-down. They have demonstrated the ability to defend the run with a 4-2-5. It creates indecision offensively. It gives the defense an advantage.
- If you can get Wisconsin behind the sticks, this defense is going to have a better chance. Every first-down play will be at a premium.
- The defense left their feet too much while trying to defend Toledo quarterback Dequan Finn. Guys felt they were a step behind and so they would lunge. That goes back to preparation and finding ways to practice that. They didn’t use a mobile answer on the scout team last week to give the defense a look.
- Cam Martinez did really well. “I had confidence in him. I felt like he was game ready going into the season.” He was comfortable having him in the game and he showed up.
- Continuing the understanding of the defensive scheme allows your safeties to be multiple and do different things. Safeties understand the system, which allows you to plug and play guys.
- The Wisconsin offensive line is big, physical, and well-trained.
- You look at the highest-caliber opponent for your current opponent, so they looked at the Washington State game a lot.
- CJ Stroud is amazing on the move. “I’m just glad he’s on my team.” It’s incredible to watch some of the throws he makes in practice. It makes it tough to defend but it makes the guys better. Once the pocket is broken, all routes and schemes have changed. “We call it ‘find a guy and take him.’ It’s free-form football. “Once it breaks loose like that, it’s every man for himself.”
- No frustration or relief regarding forced turnovers right now. Scheming to get turnovers is dangerous.
- Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen is different. Big, strong back. As good as any big back he has seen. Have to make sure they have great form when they tackle him. Have to rally to the football and vice him in. It will be a team effort.
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