Ryan Day

Ryan Day Talks Fall Camp, Position Battles

COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with reporters on Wednesday to provide some updates on his football team while they are in the middle of camp. Day also spent some time talking about the retirement announcement by athletic director Gene Smith. The highlights of everything that was said can be found below.

  • With everything going on, how does he stay in the moment right now? Being in the middle of camp helps.
  • “I couldn’t be any happier for Gene and Sheila.” They have dedicated themselves to the University over the last 19 years. Can’t even verbalize everything he owes to Gene Smith. “He trusted in me and our relationship is going to go on forever.” Today is a day to reflect on what great work has been done by Gene. Gonna miss him, that being said, can’t take his mind off of how inside drill went today.
  • How is the right tackle job working out? They have been moving some guys around to figure out what the right mixture is going to be. He likes the progression that they’re making, there are a lot of capable guys there. Josh Fryar, Tegra Tshabola, Josh Simmons, and Luke Montgomery are jockeying to be the top two tackles. Zen Michalski is in there as well. They always need to figure out their best five, then they figure out where they can put them. Josh Fryar has always been a guy who can move around. “But we want to get settled by mid-week here, end of this week.” They have to make the decisions now.
  • The safeties? Today was the first day in pads, so this week will be huge for evaluation. This week is now where they start playing football. They have good depth. Nobody has won a position yet. There are good combinations within position groupings. The more they can do, the more they can stay on the field.
  • Cam Martinez had a really good day today. Sonny Styles has had a great start. Both nickels are doing well. Cody Simon has had a good first few days. Jordan Hancock as well.
  • Defensive end Omari Abor will be out for at least a couple of months following a procedure.
  • Thoughts on Oregon and Washington? Not really thinking about it yet.
  • A quarterback needs to know where Sonny Styles is lining up because he can do so many things, but they can’t ask their players to do too many different things. They need to get good at their fast ball and then add a curveball and change some speeds. It will require creativity and scheming to find ways to get him involved and keep him safe from things he isn’t as strong at. That goes for everybody. “That’s the art of coaching.”
  • He would like to have some decisions made about position battles after the scrimmage on Saturday. “This week is a defining week for us for sure.” They will at least have more information to go off of following this week of practice.
  • Now with pads on, how does that impact the quarterbacks? You don’t really get a feel for what you have until you actually start playing the game. You try to simulate it, but you can’t. “It’s impossible” to simulate a pass rush or situations in an accurate manner. You get a feel for it, but you don’t know for sure. Putting pads on helps. They worked on red zone and short yardage today. You see some situations start to crystalize. Small sample sizes make it difficult to know, but more and more practice will help.
  • The offensive tackles are all moving between left and right right now. They are talking about all of these things right now. Josh Simmons has done good things. Luke Montgomery too. They are trying to project down the road. “I think by this time next week, I’ll have real good answers for you.”
  • How much has Gene Smith helped you and meant to you? The fact that he played football means he has a tremendous feel for the game. He manages all of the coaches at Ohio State so well. So much comes at him politically and he’s handled it with grace. Smith was always giving him advice on how to handle people and situations and being the head coach at Ohio State. What not to listen to. Smith has given him great confidence and clarity to do the job.
  • Good to have “that weapon” of Evan Pryor back on the field.
  • Nothing new on play calling yet.
  • They need somebody they can count on at offensive tackle that can hold up against the best defensive ends in the country. They have to be able to handle mentally what they are tasked with, and also physically to hold up in the run and pass game.
  • They are okay health wise right now. Nothing else noteworthy. Just standard short-term stuff that pops up.
  • It was life changing when Gene Smith came to him to offer him the job. They had had conversations leading up to the 2019 offer. Smith believed in him as a person. It was a big decision. It instilled confidence in Day to do the job.
  • He has reverted to some of his old ways as a head coach this week by spending a bunch of time with the offense. But he sees a confident defense and confident coaches. The backsliding is just natural, not any cause for concern.
  • Greg Mattison stopped by at practice today.
  • The defensive backs have flashed in general. Jordan Hancock is very competitive. He’s had a full offseason to prepare for this season and it shows. Plus, as guys get into their third, fourth year, you see them start to really bloom. Usually what you see in practice, you’ll see in the game.
  • Denzel Burke has continued to progress as a leader and player. He’s a guy who deserves to be called out (in a good way) for the work he’s put in this offseason. “I can’t wait to see these guys play against Indiana.”
  • How tight is the QB race right now? “It’s a good battle. It’s back and forth, for sure. They know that this week is important for them.” “They’re both competing at a high level.”
  • The battle between Carson Hinzman and Vic Cutler has heated up. Cutler has now had a full offseason in the program. He has changed his body. He understands “what we’re trying to do now.”
  • Day plans to continue to use Gene Smith as a resource over the next year. Change has been par for the course for Day. Every year has been something, as he told Gene when Day found out about the retirement.
  • Constant communication and alignment is critical between the head coach and athletic director. He knows that’s not the case everywhere because he’s seen it. They have stuck together over the years. They agreed on almost everything, but when they did have disagreements they talked it out. Hoping to build the same relationship with the new AD down the road.
  • The offensive line is giving the quarterbacks enough time to work.
  • The decisions for OSU president and athletic director won’t be made by him. “I trust that they’re going to make a great decision. I gotta coach the football team.”
  • They missed Jordan Hancock’s presence last year. When you add all of these cornerbacks to the mix now with him and the two transfers, the competition forces improvement.
  • Does he hope to have a starting QB named by next week? “I don’t know.” But there will be more clarity.

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