Ryan Day Ohio State Buckeyes

Ryan Day Discusses Tony Alford Departure, Resuming Spring Practice

COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with reporters following practice Tuesday morning. It was the first time Day has spoken to the media since running backs coach Tony Alford left for Michigan last week. Day discussed that topic as well as many others. The highlights of everything Ryan Day had to say can be found below.

  • He was made aware last week of Tony Alford’s decision to leave. They have identified a group of replacements. They don’t have to make a quick decision because there is nothing pressing right now with the portal or recruiting. The running backs will be part of the process and they will meet with the candidates. This will be Day’s decision but Chip Kelly will have a say. The candidate pool is tremendous.
  • Day coached the running backs today.
  • They rolled the quarterbacks again today. This was the first day in pads. It was a short practice. The next two practices will be longer and more physical.
  • How fluid is the offensive line right now? They are going to evaluate the right side really hard now with the pads on. Josh Fryar had one of the best offseasons of anybody in the building. There are still some possibilities on the right side involving guard and possibly tackle if Fryar moves inside.
  • Josh Fryar, Luke Montgomery, and Tegra Tshabola could all play tackle or guard, though Tshabola is more of a tackle.
  • Level of concern that Tony Alford has taken intel with him to Michigan with the offense under Chip Kelly? It was only two practices and a lot of it was stuff they’ve always done. Ultimately it comes down to what the quarterbacks can do, and they still need to figure that out. The running game is going to be different as well.
  • Very competitive situation at linebacker right now. When they are facing a 12 personnel and go with three linebackers, Sonny Styles is at Sam.
  • With the headset communication now: The NCAA allows them three helmets in practice with communication, so they had all three with the QBs today. Thursday they’ll let the MLBs have them.
  • Day is running the running back room full time right now. “It’s been awesome. It’s been great.” It will be good for the players to see things through the eyes of a quarterback. It will give them a different viewpoint. “I think it’s the best running back room in the country.”
  • Replacing the RB coach as a recruiter? When you bring anybody into the program you have to figure out where their expertise is. The RB coach has to be an expert at his position. “Your competency has to be at a high level. You have to know what you’re talking about.” The recruiting part is very important. Would they like a proven recruiter already? Yes. But that doesn’t make him the best option. Day had never recruited at a place like Ohio State. Same with Brian Hartline. “We’re being very, very thorough in the interview process.”
  • Congratulations to Jake Diebler and his family. What you have to do is trust who you are and learn from your experiences as a first-time head coach. You have to have the courage to make changes, but not everything needs to be changed.
  • It has been a great opportunity to spend time with the running backs. Any time he can do that with any group it’s good for him and the players. He’s still got time for special teams as well.
  • Is this the most chaotic offseason you’ve had? “I don’t look at it that way.” Every year has its challenges. There’s never going to be a calm, cool offseason. “Part of the job is adapting.” You do the best you can to have contingency plans in place. “I think we’ve done that. I think we’ve been aggressive. I think we’ve done what’s right.”
  • “To have all of these guys coming back as seniors is significant.”
  • How much does the place where Tony Alford went matter to the team? The players all know that they have to focus on right now. That’s what matters to them. They’re excited to see who the next coach is going to be. He thought it was important to give them an opportunity to provide feedback.
  • The RB coach change hits the younger guys harder. The older guys understand that this is part of the profession. “I think Tre said it best, ‘You rely on your brother.'” That’s ultimately what the power of the unit is all about.
  • On the second group of defensive tackles: It is one of the focuses of spring camp. The spotlight is on them. There are a handful of guys who didn’t have a spring last year and this is there spring to step up.
  • What do you need to see from Jason Moore and Kayden McDonald? “The talent is there, that’s for sure.” It is up to them to build the skill and discipline to get on the field. They’ll have a lot of opportunity this spring. “Eventually you’ve got to start making plays.”
  • Why wasn’t Chip Kelly the first choice? Right out of the gate he tried to identify an A-list. He had three guys. Bill O’Brien and Chip Kelly were both on that list. He also had a B-list and a C-list. And if they got down to the C-list, Day was probably gonna keep plays. The timing just wasn’t right at the moment with Chip Kelly, but those few weeks changed things. “It wasn’t like I ranked them in that order.” He is doing the same thing with the running backs coaches right now.
  • How much toughness does Chip Kelly bring to the offense? Part of it is how you run the football and he’s done that historically year in and year out. He has a heavy hand in the running game and how the offensive line blocks. He demands toughness and physicality. The proof is that he’s been able to run the ball wherever he’s been.
  • How is the tight end position shaping up? Gee Scott has had a really good offseason. Jelani Thurman, Will Kacmarek, and Bennett Christian need to step up and show that they can play. Cade Stover took up a lot of reps during his career. “I’m excited by Gee’s play so far.” Leadership, demeanor, and attitude have been off the charts. The rest of those guys have to step up now. They’ve been playing more 12 personnel to get them reps. There’s enough talent in the room.
  • Brandon Inniss is getting his first spring. “I think you’re seeing a different player.” His body has changed. When he’s in shape, he’s dynamic. He was really good in winter workouts. Fierce competitor. Football player. Tough.
  • Carnell Tate had a really good offseason. The sky is the limit. He’s been here now a year. “This is not new to him.” Based on what they saw last year, he’s right on pace with some of the guys in the pass.
  • “You’re seeing Bryson Rodgers stepping up.” “Certainly Jeremiah has flashed.”
  • You always evaluate your coaching staff. “Just moving that compass a little bit can get it right.” Sometimes it is good to make changes and sometimes it’s good for coaches to have a change of scenery.
  • How does Tony Alford leaving for Michigan not feel like a betrayal? “Everybody has to make decisions for them and their family. We try not to focus on that.”
  • Jack Sawyer’s leadership is seen constantly. His ability to get the seniors thinking about returning is something he’ll never forget. He was also the leader of the 2021 recruiting class.
  • Kenyatta Jackson has so much talent. It was great to see him as a true freshman and work with Paris Johnson work together and talk after practice. “We believe in Kenyatta and when he’s believing in himself…he can be one of the best players on the field.” When you’re trying to get to places that are hard, you need the guys around you to help you along. “He can be as good as he wants to be.” The challenge that Larry Johnson has given him is consistency and believing in himself.
  • What’s going on with special teams right now? Matt Guerrieri and James Laurinaitis are on punt and kickoff coverage. Keenan Bailey and Brian Hartline are kick and punt return. Guerrieri runs the punt meetings. Day is there for all meetings. Rob Keys is also organizing things as a special teams/kicking coach.
  • He talked with Jim Tressel about how he did special teams and Tressel said he gave assistant coaches responsibilities, so that’s what Day has done here. It brings buy-in from the players as well because the coaches take it seriously.
  • He is not a substitute teacher for the running backs. They are enjoying having him there.
  • What does huddling do for a quarterback? The positives is that the QB can look guys in the eye. They get a feel. The no-huddle gave college football a good pace, but the signal stealing has made it harder to do that. This allows them to be more creative. More teams will now be huddling. The clock will continue to move. There are going to be a lot less plays in college football now because of these two things. In 2017, there were around 85 plays per game. Last year they were at 65. That’s 2-3-4 drives per game they’ve lost.
  • Jack Sawyer has been asking to get time on offense. They look for those things more in the preseason in terms of defensive guys helping out on offense.
  • How good do you feel about the potential of this offensive coaching staff? “I think it has the potential to be the best offensive staff in the country, and that’s what our goal should be. We’re at Ohio State.” “I think if we make the right hire here I think we can have that.”
  • Where is the center position right now? “It’s still early.” Next week he will know more. Seth McLaughlin’s snaps have been great. Last year’s issues were a cadence issue. Carson Hinzman didn’t have a bad snap today. You don’t know about offensive linemen until the pads are on.”
  • Who is your punter? There are a couple of punters on the team. They are also looking at adding somebody.
  • Who is throwing at pro day tomorrow? Will Howard and Devin Brown will throw tomorrow.

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