ATLANTA — The Buckeyes arrived in Atlanta on Christmas Day for this weekend’s Peach Bowl against Georgia. On Monday, head coach Ryan Day, middle linebacker Tommy Eichenberg, and tight end Cade Stover took part in a Zoom call to provide the latest on the Buckeyes. The highlights of everything that was said can be found below.
- Got to Atlanta last night and had a really good practice today at the stadium. Just got off the field a bit ago. They’ll have meetings next.
- Has not playing on Championship Weekend started to pay any dividends? The whole month has been really good for the entire team. They’ve gotten good work done. They broke it up into fundamentals, then game plan, and now game prep here in Atlanta. There has been an emphasis on physicality in practice. There was an energy in Columbus as the team left town and that continued today. Everybody has been working hard. There has been a level of urgency going on.
- How important is it to match Georgia’s physicality? They have great experience playing in this type of a game. They have good examples to draw on. They know the atmosphere and electricity is going to be there. They have been preparing and practicing for every yard to matter. “The leadership is going to have to play really well in this game.”
- Football is a small world. Both head coaches are familiar with so many players on each roster through recruiting.
- Why did you come in yesterday? They had a dinner last night for everybody. The Peach Bowl did it right. They had a Santa Clause there for the families. There was a good portion of the team that wasn’t on the charter who were still getting in from various parts yesterday. They will try to keep their schedule as normal as possible.
- How much different are the practices at the bowl site? Is it difficult to keep it “normal?” That’s why you have to keep as many things as routine as possible, because it’s not a normal practice facility.
- What do you like about these playoff uniforms? “We try to honor the traditions and do the best we can in that area.” That’s something they’ve done in the past. The guys like these uniforms.
- How does Georgia’s depth affect your game planning? Georgia takes pride in playing their depth. Multiple RBs, WRs, etc. When you play against a good team, that’s one of the things you have to prepare for. You can’t just hone in on one or two guys. That’s the sign of a good team.
- There are times OSU has been very effective with tempo in the playoffs. They’ll figure out how much to do it this week. If it’s an advantage, then they’ll do it. Nowadays you can’t just be no huddle because teams get immune to it, but if you can switch it up from game to game or series to series or play to play, then it becomes more of a weapon. Early in his his HC career, they could play faster more often, but defenses have adapted.
- The No. 1 focus in recruiting is Ohio, but then there is a 4-6 hr radius that they look at. From there, you’ve got places like Georgia that have great programs in high school. Being down here is great this week. They have recruited this area very hard every year. It’s an easy flight.
- Defensively, OSU has to play with great fundamentals and learn how UGA is trying to attack them schematically. But it always comes back to fundamentals. They can’t overcommit to stop one area and leave themselves vulnerable to another area.
- They’ve got to let the guys on defense play fast.
- What stands out about Georgia’s defensive line and their physicality? You see some really good players with really good size. But there’s depth. Two and sometimes three deep inside. They do a great job with hands and pad level. They eat as many haps as possible and try to create a mess inside, which they do a great job of. “We know that we’ve got to play our best game up front.” But that’s what they’ve been working towards all season long.
- They did good on good during the first phase of practice, then did less during the second phase of game planning. There will be a little less this week in game prep, like normal.
- Are you nervous for this game? Maybe closer to the game there will be nerves. Right now it’s just excitement to play.
- What stands out about UGA’s rushing attack? They have a good RB, OL, and a good scheme. When you put those together, you’re pretty good.
- On the challenge of facing UGA’s tight ends? They’re good tight ends. They are effective in both the run and pass. Everybody just has to do their job.
- What is your familiarity with Georgia? Any friends? Did they recruit you? No familiarity. “I’ve seen them play.” Has studied them now obviously. Not recruited by them, no friends over there. “Nothing really.”
- It’s very important to stay on a routine. They have a bunch of events this week but they have one goal and that is to beat Georgia.
- Are the UGA RBs different or similar to each other? Every RB plays different and plays differently. They see the whole differently. They have different speeds. But they’re all great backs.
- Does the Michigan game seem like a month ago? “All the focus is on Georgia right now. That one stings, yes, but we’re focus on Georgia right now.”
- What makes OSU successful with players switching positions? There are multiple versatile players on this team that can do different things. To find what they do best, you have to let them do each and go from there.
- What stands out about UGA’s defensive line? That’s a tough, big front seven. They are athletic and long.
- Do you keep up with other tight ends around the nation? The position has had a resurgence, don’t you think? “It’s just a very key piece to a good offense.” He can be a lineman and a receiver. It adds elements to your offense that some overlook.
- The OSU tight ends aren’t worried about what everybody says about UGA’s tight ends.
- How much did your injuries late impact and limit you down the stretch? Everybody is banged up at the end of the season. How much it affected him, he would never admit it. You sign up to get beat up but these weeks have been a nice opportunity to get healthy.
- How much is offensive balance being stressed for you guys? “We’ve got the plays down and we’ve got to people to do it.”