Ryan Day Talks Health Of Buckeyes, Offensive Improvement

COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with reporters on Tuesday for his weekly press conference to look back on Saturday’s win over Rutgers, preview this weekend’s matchup against Michigan State, and answer a bunch of questions about the health of his team, the ongoing cheating scandal at Michigan, and much, much more. The highlights of everything Day had to say can be found below.

  • The offensive line is blocking better in the running game, but it makes a big difference when TreVeyon Henderson is back there. He got to the second level quite a bit, and he had help from the offensive line. They were more efficient in the second half.
  • Jermaine Mathews was a competitive player as a recruit. He competed at camp and he was fighting for a scholarship offer. He was hungry. “You could see it.” You never know until they get into those situations, but it seems like the bigger the stage, the more he likes it. He’s not a finished product, but he’s been challenged to step up and he’s done it.
  • Freshman tight end Jelani Thurman has an opportunity every day in practice to show that he can be counted on. He was ready to go in on Saturday if necessary.
  • The ball should have been punted and not had a punt fake. “It’s unacceptable.” The communication has to be clearer. When you make it too gray, you make it hard on the player. “No excuse.” As coaches we can be clearer in exactly what we want on a play.
  • Why did you opt to extend special teams coordinator Parker Fleming after last season despite some issues. Day has watched Fleming closely and everybody is evaluated every day. All of the coaches that are involved in special teams can do their jobs better.
  • Overall offensively, you want to see more drives finish in the end zone. They had more guys grade out as champions last week, but they still need to finish better. There are signs that things are progressing, but it’s getting late in the season.
  • No, he has not considered making a change with the special teams coaching. “I’m there every day. I’m watching how things are taught. We all need to be a part of it.” If there was something that was not being taught or done right, he’d intercede. “We just need to do a better job.”
  • Having Chip Trayanum and TreVeyon Henderson on the field together gives you two different ball carriers, so it forces a defense to do things in a different way. That can also open things up in other areas.
  • Regarding injuries, guys are willing to do everything they can to play. They make themselves available, but it’s still up to the coaches and training staff to make that decision. Every situation is unique. Sometimes guys could be used in an emergency, but mostly they’d like to give them another week off if possible. Every week you are trying to figure out how to win that week and then how that affects the rest of the season.
  • How hard are November games to win? It goes to discipline, maturity, consistency. Nobody’s entitled to winning. They win a lot of games, but it’s because of the hard work of the players on the field.
  • Day is not commenting on anything going on up at Michigan. Said people get upset when he says “No comment,” so he’s not saying anything. Declines to answer what his best punch is when asked if he knew that people can bet on who would win in a fight between him and Jim Harbaugh.
  • How has the team handled the No. 1 ranking? They have a lot of guys on the team who understand that rankings don’t mean anything. You have to try to win them all.
  • CJ Stroud deserves all of the success that he’s receiving. He went through a tough time during the draft process. A lot of people questioned him. He’s handled himself like a pro. He’s a captain as a rookie. He’s given that organization hope. Buckeyes going into the NFL understand the expectation of winning every game.
  • Did Kyle McCord miss anything down the field that he didn’t throw? No, Rutgers played a deep two-shell look. He was efficient and checked the ball down. If a defense is going to stay deep with two safeties, you’re not going to throw it deep into double coverage. You have to have patience. He did. If it wasn’t for the interception, he would’ve graded out a champion.
  • There was precision down in the red zone against Rutgers. The throw and catch with Gee Scott was tremendous. The run game was also going downhill down there. “Every yard is worth two.”
  • Devin Brown will hopefully have a full week this week and be available once again. He was available last week. He’ll be getting close to 100% here soon.
  • Are you seeing any trends for Kyle McCord is when he’s hot or cold? When his feet and eyes are right, that’s when he’s at his best. There are times early in the game where his feet are moving faster or slower than the rhythm, but once he finds the rhythm, he’s more accurate and consistent.
  • Tommy Eichenberg is okay. They’ll keep getting him treatment. He is expected to be out there today, but they’ll see how the week goes.
  • Not sure if Denzel Burke or Lathan Ransom will be back. Burke should be back practicing. They’ll know more on Ransom later in the week.
  • The secondary has been able to handle the injuries this year because they’re more talented than they were a year ago. They’re more experienced. They’ve been in the defense two years now.
  • They talk to recruits and show them that they have started true freshmen over the years. Three straight years of starting freshman cornerbacks is an example of that. Recruits notice that and OSU doesn’t hide it. There is a path to playing time for anybody.
  • Jim Knowles brought the “Given us an inch and we’ll defend it” mentality. It’s confidence and belief in the guy next to you. That’s the situational football that the coaches have been screaming about all year. When you stop opponents in the red zone, those are four-point plays. “The guys have embraced that.” Wednesday practices are about those situations. Red zone, third down, etc.
  • When you see your family’s name brought up in the Michigan scandal, how do you handle all of that? “Right now, all you can do is focus on what’s important. What’s important now is Michigan State. We always say ignore the noise. The noise comes in different ways.” Like the defense, they’re getting a lot of positive reinforcement from outside the building. That noise has to be ignored, just like the noise last year when they were getting ripped on by everybody.
  • How much do you weigh getting guys healthy before Michigan and keeping them playing their best? They will do everything they can to make sure they’re fresh, but each guy is unique. Depth is a question as well at different spots. This game right now is where the focus is. Michigan State is what is important right now.
  • Jordan Hancock is extremely competitive. They saw that from day one two years ago. He has a tremendous work ethic. He’s constantly watching film, “wearing out Coach Walt.” Now you’re seeing that production.
  • How does your offense spot the blitz pressure? Defenses do a great job of changing up their looks. The offense can be better. You have to be able to react and identify what defenses are doing early in the game.
  • Red zone offense and defense were a big emphasis in the offseason.
  • How much has the loss of Kevin Wilson in the press box been a factor? “I don’t know.” They have tried to establish the run game this year more than the last couple of years. That sometimes takes time to get it going. You’re starting to see it as the game goes on. That then opens things up more in the passing game. But there’s no question they want to be faster out of the gate. They need to be better on third down. “We didn’t execute on third down in the first half” last week at Rutgers. “I think it more has to do with being efficient on third down.” They’re looking for balance.
  • Josh Proctor is going to be ready to roll. They’ll keep looking at it. Tough player. Productive player who has been through a lot. Seen the good and the bad. He graded out a champion. He did a good job to veer off just enough to not get hit with a targeting call. “We’re counting on him to be a guy that we can rely on down the stretch to be a big part of our defense.”

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