While Urban Meyer did return to work with the Ohio State football team on Monday morning, acting head coach/offensive coordinator Ryan Day and assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Greg Schiano were the ones who fielded the questions once again during Monday's game week press conference.
Coming off a season-opening, 77-31 win over Oregon State, Day and Schiano will lead the way on the sidelines once again this Saturday – while Meyer serves the second game of his three-game suspension – as the Buckeyes play Rutgers in a game scheduled for a 3:40 p.m. kickoff at Ohio Stadium and to be televised on BTN.
Day and Schiano reviewed the Buckeyes' first win of the season and looked ahead to their upcoming test against the Scarlet Knights, while also fielding questions from the media about Meyer's return and other topics surrounding the team.
A bullet-point recap of what Day and Schiano had to say can be seen below.
- "Things are back to normal," Day said of Meyer returning to work on Monday morning.
- Day said there was "a lot of embracing" between Meyer and the other coaches, as the other coaches hadn't seen Meyer in awhile.
- "Everything was for the first time on Saturday," so Day there were several things he made notes on to learn from going into his second game this weekend.
- Day says that most of the coaching is done during the week, so Meyer will have a huge role in building the gameplan.
- Day credits Mickey Marotti's offseason conditioning with enabling Ohio State's offense to play with the tempo the Buckeyes want to play with.
- "I thought it was pretty efficient," Day said of the play calling between he and Kevin Wilson in Meyer's absence.
- Jordan Fuller was a "game-time decision" on Saturday with his hamstring injury. Day said he is looking forward to him returning to practice and is hopeful he can return this week.
- Day said Demario McCall is "part of a group that's pretty deep right now" among returners, but praised his performance on Saturday.
- On the wide receivers: "I don't think that's a selfish group. I think they pull for each other."
- The Buckeyes will continue to rotate Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins at running back.
- Meyer will be with the team through Friday, even though he can't be with the team on Saturday.
- Day said he didn't expect his role on the coaching staff to be any different after his head coaching experience, because the stuff is already structured in a way where everyone has input.
- Day on what Meyer said to him this morning: "I think the comment was, 'You only had to punt once, huh?' So that's a pretty good day."
- On Isaiah Prince's tackle on Oregon State's interception: "To see 59 running down the field to make that play was amazing." Also praised Binjimen Victor's effort on that play.
- On getting Tate Martell involved in the offense: "I think it'll change as we go into each week and what we see with the defense. We want to get him in the game but how it plays out, we can't predict how that's going to work."
- On Dwayne Haskins' rhythm as a passer: "He does get the ball out quickly, and he's accurate when he throws it."
- On Joe Burrow's first start for LSU: "Really happy for Joe ... And it was great to see him get a win." Said he texted Burrow and his parents last night to let them know he was happy for them.
- On true freshman wide receiver Chris Olave: "We knew right when he got here that he was special."
- Day said Oregon State's coverage was soft on Saturday, but that didn't strike him as particularly unusual in comparison to how defenses covered Ohio State when J.T. Barrett.
- Matthew Baldwin, Chris Chugunov and Kory Curtis are all still competing to be Ohio State's third-string quarterback.
- How has Dwayne done throwing the deep ball in practice? "He's been good." Day says they work on it a lot in practice.
- On Ohio State's defensive performance Saturday: "I wasn't disappointed other than there were some plays I was disappointed with." Said 82 percent of Oregon State's offensive production came on just seven plays, which he described as "unacceptable."
- Schiano said he expects big improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 because of how young the defense is.
- On Tommy Togiai: "He played strong. He is strong." Also said he thought Tyler Friday "did his job" and looked like he belonged, and that Tyreke Smith got in early and played well.
- On Rutgers quarterback Artur Sitkowski, who will make his second start against Ohio State on Saturday: "He is a big, strong-armed, dropback passer with good mobility. He's not a stiff back there. So you have to be able to have ways to get him down when he does move."
- Schiano reiterated that Fuller's absence on Saturday was a "game-time decision" and the Buckeyes hope to have him back this weekend.
- On Isaiah Pryor and Jahsen Wint, who started at safety in Fuller's absence: "We knew there would be some growing pains there. Overall, I thought they were solid."
- Tuf Borland played 10 plays on Saturday, and that was his "pitch count." "It's all part of his recovery." Schiano said he thought Baron Browning "did a nice job" starting in Borland's place.
- Schiano said he has known Haskins dating back to when he was at Rutgers: "He grew up right across the river from Rutgers."
- "I think we have more than three linebackers that should play," so he expects both Borland and Browning to play regularly when Borland is back healthy. Also said he thinks Dante Booker and Justin Hilliard have made their case for playing time despite not being starters.
- Schiano, who used to be the head coach at Rutgers, said he believes Rutgers' market is valuable to the Big Ten, especially when the Scarlet Knights are winning. Said that he would see Giants, Jets and pro baseball players at games when Rutgers was successful, but when not successful, they weren't there.
- Schiano's history coaching Rutgers is "no factor" in Ohio State's preparation for this week's game, he said. "When you've built something, you never forget about it, but now it's our job to beat them."
- "I'm really proud that Rutgers is in the Big Ten," he said.
- Schiano said he has seen in the Buckeyes' initial preparations that Rutgers is a "much better team" this year.
- The Buckeyes aren't looking ahead to TCU. "All our focus is on one team," Schiano said.
- Schiano said the Buckeyes have to cut out the big plays that they allowed against Oregon State. "You don't live very long as a defense if you're giving up 80-yard plays."
- On Day's debut as a head coach on Saturday: "I thought Ryan did an excellent job."
- Schiano said the Buckeyes have to be better against the screen this week, as Rutgers uses the screen pass often.
- Schiano acknowledged that having Fuller on Saturday could have helped Ohio State's chances at eliminating big plays. "I think one thing Jordan gives you is a sweeper back there, an insurance policy."
- Nick Bosa and Dre'Mont Jones, Ohio State's only defensive champions on Saturday, "played very, very well," Schiano said, describing their performance as "off-the-charts."
- On Kendall Sheffield and Jeffrey Okudah: "I think they played solid." Said he expects the three-man cornerback rotation with Damon Arnette, Sheffield and Okudah to continue, and that Shaun Wade and Marcus Williams are also pushing for playing time, which could lead to the Buckeyes using some different combinations in their nickel defense.
- On Pete Werner: "I thought Pete played at a high level of speed." Said he made some mistakes in his first start, but everyone does.
- Schiano said he does not know yet who the other starting safety will be between Pryor or Wint if Fuller is back this week.
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