Ohio State football head coach Ryan Day

Ryan Day Provides Updates On Quarterback Battle, Upbeat About Offensive Line

COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with reporters on Monday to discuss this past weekend’s scrimmage. He provided updates on the quarterback battle between Kyle McCord and Devin Brown, and also revealed some unfortunate personnel updates for the Buckeyes.

  • Freshman tight end Bennett Christian is out for this season after testing positive for a banned substance. “He accepts his responsibility and wants to share his story.” He will remain with the team.
  • How much separation does there need to be at quarterback? “You’d like a sizable gap to name a starter, for sure. It’s hard to name somebody when there isn’t a significant gap.” There have been some good things, some things they want back. “We are not ready to name a starter right now.”
  • They have to decide this week if they are ready to name a starter at quarterback by the end of the week, or do they go into the season expecting to play two quarterbacks.
  • Tywone Malone has shown flashes at times, but now it will be about the consistency of doing it all the time.
  • Josh Simmons has had some really good practices and shown he can be the left tackle, but he has not won that job yet. Josh Fryar has great flexibility and it isn’t as hard moving back and forth in practice from right tackle to left tackle. Tegra Tshabola is now at left tackle behind Simmons. Luke Montgomery is also working at right tackle.
  • How long will they continue to practice in split squads? The more reps you get, the better off you are. They have gotten a lot more reps with the squads being split up for some of those periods. Now that they have 120 players in camp, they can do this more than ever before. They get plenty of “good-on-good work” with ones on twos and ones on ones.
  • Anything he learned in Saturday’s scrimmage? There was a physicality that was great. They tackled well. There were only a couple of missed tackles. Evan Pryor looked good. Cody Simon really showed up.
  • The scrimmage format was first and second-down situations with play-action passing. The QBs both did well. Then they went to a “move-it period” and it was hot and cold. Not the consistency you want, but still some good moments. The next period was third downs and the defense did well. The offense wasn’t where it needed to be yet. Then a coming out period then a red zone period. “It was okay. It wasn’t great on either end.” They’re still looking for consistency. “There doesn’t need to be extraordinary play” at quarterback. Just make the routine plays routinely.
  • They need to know their identity offensively by Saturday. They like where the running game is going right now and how it’s looking. TreVeyon Henderson continues to look good.
  • Staying on schedule is going to be critical early on for this offense, and that’s up to the offensive line to create time and room.
  • The split squads have also led to more leaders because more guys are getting opportunities for reps. There are more expectations because there are increased reps and there aren’t always first-teamers around to lead.
  • The defense continues to get their hands on footballs. That continued on Saturday as well.
  • You’re always watching the locker room to see leaders emerge. This is a mature team with leadership, “and that has to count for something.”
  • TreVeyon Henderson “has had a great offseason and he’s had a great first 10 days of practice.” He’s fast and he’s seeing the holes. Can’t say enough about how well he’s doing right now. The other guys “will all get in the game.” “We’ll let them keep working.”
  • It’s not more difficult to find a starting quarterback when you’re still trying to find your five starters on the offensive line.
  • Miyan Williams and Tyleik Williams are “doing fine.” They’ll be back soon.
  • Fourth-year junior linebacker Kourt Williams suffered an ACL tear. “I feel awful for Kourt. You feel like he can’t catch a break.”
  • The kicking battle is going back and forth between Jayden Fielding and Parker Lewis.
  • There’s a chance he could’ve named a starting quarterback by this Wednesday if needed. He was scheduled to speak with reporters in two days, but Day’s session was moved up today to talk about the scrimmage.
  • The QB battle isn’t like two guys “are blowing it out of the water” but they’re also not doing poorly. Things are on track. He has asked his coaches and players for their input on the QBs as well.
  • How often is he talking to the quarterbacks? “This is the only time I’m not talking to them, right now.”
  • There’s a chance he could play two quarterbacks, but that’s not ideal.
  • They probably had about 10 players on offense and 12 guys on defense who graded out as Champions on Saturday. Chip Trayanum ran hard and looked good.
  • “I think it was a great scrimmage.” It was physical and guys competed, “but to say guys emerged, no.” They came out of it healthy. They were around 120 snaps.
  • They definitely have “leaders in the clubhouse” at certain positions.
  • Ted Ginn Sr. told Ryan Day when they were recruiting Arvell Reese that defensive end could be in his future. When they got him here, they were very impressed with his athleticism. They decided to give him a look for a week at defensive end because he’s going to get to 255 pretty quickly. This is not a permanent move, especially now that Kourt Williams is out for the season. His attitude has been great.
  • They want to have starters on the defensive line who can handle starter-level snaps. The more guys who can do that, the better off they are. Kenyatta Jackson and Caden Curry are coming on and doing a great job. Mitchell Melton as well. They’ve all gotten a lot of work. It’s a good problem to have.
  • You’ve got a chance as a team when the players are holding each other accountable, which we saw on Friday at the end of practice when Emeka Egbuka addressed the team to let them know that the day’s performance wasn’t good enough. He’s not the only guy who has stepped up to be a vocal leader this year. There will be moments this season when that needs to happen in a game. Players have to be able respond and challenge each other.
  • Any thoughts on being No. 3 in the AP poll? What matters will be what happens at the end of the season. He doesn’t start looking at rankings until November, because that’s when it actually starts to matter.
  • All of the quarterbacks are improving their pocket presence right now because they’re getting rushed in practice and that’s not something you can simulate in the offseason. It’s something that takes time. They are trying to force the QBs to stay in the pocket and get comfortable there and find time in the pocket. “Find the soft spot in the pocket.” It takes time to find the speed of the game and the rhythm of the game.
  • They haven’t made a final decision on the offensive tackles, but he’s not expecting any more flipping.
  • They’re not ready to name a starter at center, or even announce somebody as ahead of the other.
  • Is there frustration with Kyle McCord for not being further ahead of Devin Brown at this point? “I don’t feel any of that.”
  • Is it truly even at quarterback or is somebody again? The need is for consistency. They have to do it over and over and over again. The expectations and standards are very high. They knew that coming in. They agreed to that in recruiting. But right now he can’t name a starter. It’s a long season. Maybe by the end of the week somebody will take the next step.
  • “I think we’re actually in a pretty good place right now…” on the offensive line.
  • Has Jelani Thurman picked up where he left off in the spring? Joe Royer has been out and hasn’t practiced much. Gee Scott has done his best. He’s his best version of himself right now. Cade Stover is the starter and has been solid all camp. “Gee’s really shown that we can trust him right now.” The tight end position is tough. You have to be tough every single day. Jelani Thurman is just learning how to do all of the job descriptions consistently.
  • Sometimes when you have a QB battle going on, you go to bed thinking one thing, and the next day’s practice completely ruins that thought. There’d be nice to have a protocol for these things, but every year is different and so are the players.

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