Ryan Day Ohio State Buckeyes Head Coach

Ryan Day Expects Reinforcements Saturday, Feels Good About Running Game

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day took part in his weekly radio show on Thursday and then spent 10 minutes with reporters for his “lightning round” session as well. Day discussed his team and their upcoming game at Maryland. The highlights of everything he had to say can be found below.

Ryan Day Lightning Round

  • How much have teams shifted coverage to Marvin Harrison and when you recognize that, how does it change your process of attacking a defense? That’s something that is important to consider. In the past they’ve had guys like Olave, McLaurin, Wilson, who were gameplanned against, so they’ve worked hard on their balance to keep defenses from taking one aspect away. If that’s something they want to do, they then attack in other areas. That’s the goal of being balanced, that you can’t just take away one guy or one play.
  • Xavier Johnson has spent time in past years at running back, so he’s done it before. He’s taken some more reps at RB this week but has still done a bunch of stuff at receiver. “His skill set is just that — he can do a lot of those things.” He’s been a weapon.
  • They didn’t practice much in the snow last year because they didn’t really get any snow last year. It wasn’t a conscious decision not to do it last year. The guys seem to becoming immune to the weather and snow.
  • Is the DC area as fertile as any recruiting ground that OSU recruits? It’s very talented. There are a lot of good programs. They will continue to recruit there. “Very, very high-end talent there.” It’s an easy trip to Ohio State for those recruits. Not too close, but not so far from their families. “We consider it a very high priority.”
  • Do you have to see something in a RB’s eyes before you know you can trust him? The number one thing for anybody who touches the football is ball security. When you have the ball in your hands, you have the whole team in your hands. That’s a huge responsibility. The second thing is, a guy has to know what he’s doing, and the coaches can see that every day in practice. Then there’s the ability to get the yards or make plays.
  • When Josh Fryar plays as well as he did, how do you progress from there? You know now that he can play in a game and do well. He comes in with the Bison package as an extra tight end, but if there’s a hiccup on the OL, he can handle playing time.
  • Are you still expecting to get Jaxon Smith-Njigba back this year? “I wouldn’t say expecting, I would probably say more ‘hoping.'”
  • Wednesday practices have started out with the threes scrimmage. This week they had Tommy Eichenberg and CJ Stroud call the plays. “It was just for fun.” It was an opportunity for them to have a different perspective.
  • They have not yet decided or had talks about who will be using their COVID years and return for a fifth or sixth year. They try to project in recruiting how much room they have, but it’s a flexible number. Last year in the spring they had 88 or 89 guys on scholarship. But it all shakes out after spring. They’ll know more about who is using the extra year more towards the end of the season.
  • What would you like to say about Cade Stover and his play and impact and his time as a Buckeye? “Whatever I say won’t be enough.” They have always spoken man-to-man. They took a leap of faith together with the move to tight end. Now you’re seeing all of the hard work pay off. Can’t say enough about who he is as a person.

Ryan Day Radio Show

  • The running game got started quickly last week. Miyan Williams ran hard and they offensive line got some good movement.
  • Yesterday was a good, hard practice out in the snow. There were times watching on film and you couldn’t see what was going on.
  • They started practice yesterday with some scrimmage reps at the 10-yard line with the threes. They had CJ Stroud call the offense and Tommy Eichenberg call the defense. Eichenberg won the drill. He was dialing up a lot of blitzes and got upset when some of those blitzes didn’t get home.
  • Looking forward to getting some injured guys back this week.
  • CJ Stroud had a great week of practice. He’s seeing more and more things on the field and it’s made him a better player.
  • Emeka Egbuka has taken some big hits this season. He’s a warrior.
  • They have a lot of guys on the team now who know what it takes to play in November.
  • When Steele Chambers first moved to defense last year and he was making a bunch of plays in practice, they thought at first he was stealing signals. But it was just his instincts for the game, and you’re seeing that more and more this year.
  • The depth at receiver is full of guys who want to work and understand the expectations placed on them when they’re on the field. It took time to recover from the loss of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but it’s been tremendous to see the way they bounced back this year.
  • Xavier Johnson has provided value at both receiver and running back. He spends so much time off the field to be ready for either spot.
  • The freshmen receivers are learning from a really good room. Some of those guys didn’t have a ton of high school work because of injuries or COVID. But they’re working and putting one foot in front of the other.
  • The team came to Day before the season to say they wanted to get back to wearing suits before the game because they wanted to get back to what they used to do before COVID, plus it’s the 100th anniversary of Ohio Stadium.
  • Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa is a leader and he’s tough. They recruited him. Strong arm. Can extend a play with his feet. Has played a lot in the Big Ten.
  • Day’s memories of the 2018 game against Maryland? The Terps had an interim coach at the time. It was a game early on. Dwayne Haskins through a pick six in the third quarter and then they were really in trouble. But Haskins ran the ball in that game and played tough. Terry McLaurin played great in that game. Came down to a 2-point conversion. Barely got out of there. Not a great memory. Games like that you just want to get on the plane and get out of town as quickly as possible because you feel like you stole one.
  • The Buckeyes are 10-0 but they haven’t reached any of their goals. They have to take care of business on Saturday to get one step closer to their goal. They have understand the competitive excellence needed to get where they are. They have worked on staying focused all year long.
  • Day didn’t try to talk Kam Babb out of returning the final time, but he did ask him “are you sure you want to do this?” Babb slept on it for 24 hours and came back and said he wanted to do it and be a light for others. “How can you say you’re having a bad day when you see Kam there with a smile on his face?”
  • Paris Johnson came into Ohio State as a well-rounded person. Day wishes OSU could take credit for that, but he was like that before he was a Buckeye.

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