Ryan Day Previews Michigan, Talks Season-Long Goals

COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with reporters for his weekly Tuesday press conference. He previewed Saturday’s gigantic matchup between the No. 2 Buckeyes and the No. 3 Wolverines. He also answered questions about his team, their health, and had various thoughts about the importance of this rivalry overall. The highlights of everything he had to say can be found.

  • On keeping composure this week in the game? You have to play with emotion, you can’t let your emotions play with you. It’s something they identified in the offseason and they’ll talk about it this week.
  • On the process of finding a running game that worked? They’re going to keep getting tested but they’ve made progress. TreVeyon Henderson returning helped, but everybody is involved. It’s balanced. They’ve identified what works and what doesn’t.
  • When did you grasp the magnitude of this game? Every year you learn more and more. “This will be my sixth time in the game. You learn quickly when you’re here.”
  • How do you keep Kyle McCord from trying to go out and “prove you right” regarding the recruitment of him and JJ McCarthy? They’ve all been working towards this game all year long. It’s about having the focus that is necessary for this game, which they’ve worked on since last year.
  • Why Kyle McCord over JJ McCarthy? There are a lot of reasons why you recruit who you do. JJ McCarthy was always respectful. Over time you learn more and more about people, but all of his interactions with the McCarthys was “very classy.”
  • How is this game NOT person for you and the staff? “Not that it’s easy, but the only thing that matters for this team and this game is preparing.” So that’s what they’ll do. They have to stay disciplined. Can’t let emotion get in the way of this game. Not gonna let anything else going on cause a distraction.
  • Were you tight last year leading into this game? Every year you evaluate what’s gone on and you try to fix the things that don’t go well and enhance the things that do go well. You learn from it and move on.
  • On Kyle McCord’s experience in big games this season: Any time you have been in those situations before you have a reference point to grab on to.
  • This rivalry was built on respect, but with this UM investigation, is there a lack of respect in the rivalry and does that bother you? The way you respect a rivalry is to work it every day. In the weight room, in the class room, the film room, practice, wherever. “We respect the rivalry.”
  • On being road warriors this year: They’ve gone on the road more this season than they have in the past. “It’s all in preparation for the last game of the year.” Saturday will be loud and hostile but they’ve been in that situation already.
  • It’s extremely important to run the ball well on Saturday.
  • What does it take to execute in the red zone against Michigan? “Well, first of all they haven’t had very many snaps down there.” Every yard is worth two or three down there. The field gets smaller. You have to execute and be efficient. Those will be huge plays in this game.
  • Is there a respect between coaches? Do you respect Jim Harbaugh and his staff? With everything going on, they’ve stayed out of it. They’re not letting it be a distraction. They’re focused on the preparation.
  • Have to play loose and fast with a good mission on Saturday. “That’s what you want as a coach.” “We’ve got to allow them to go play.” It’s going to be four quarters. “It’s something that we’ve been preparing for all year.”
  • Any talks about the tunnel at Michigan Stadium? There is a good plan put together to make sure they can focus on the field.
  • With the conference situation changing next year, is this year more special because of what it means? “I don’t think it will change anything. It’s always going to be this way. I don’t think the rivalry will be anything less than it is right now.”
  • How excited are you for this defense in this game after the last two years? Adjustments needed to be made, “and so here we are. Gotta go put it on the field.” You’ll see a confident group out there on Saturday.
  • You see Kyle McCord executing plays in practice and it carries over to the field. That’s what you want. Gotta take care of the ball. There’s a lot of things in his favor going into this game. He’s got good weapons around him.
  • How much of an unknown is this team? They’ve been tested. They’ve been down at halftime. “We’ve had to win games in the fourth quarter.” They’ve had games where they’ve pulled away from teams. This is a mature, veteran team.
  • How different does this week feel for you now than when 2019? There’s guys with scars, “and I’m one of them.” It drives you every day to work harder and make sure you do everything you can to win the game.
  • How much freedom comes with knowing that all that matters is winning? In those matchup games, they always say it can come down to one play. They play the game that way. “You’ve got to be on your game.”

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