Big Ten Teleconference Recap: Ryan Day Discusses TCU's 4-2-5 Defense, Jeffrey Okudah's Progression And How Dwayne Haskins Is Preparing For Primetime

By Derrick Webb on September 11, 2018 at 1:51 pm
Ryan Day

When asked just how big of a game Saturday's is against No. 15 TCU, Ohio State acting head coach Ryan Day had the perfect response: "If you don't think it's a big game, try losing it."

In his third and final act filling in for suspended head coach Urban Meyer, Day will lead his No. 4 ranked Buckeyes into AT&T Stadium to meet the Horned Frogs at 8 p.m. in the AdvoCare Showdown, televised nationally on ABC.

"We're looking forward to this game. A great opportunity to go on the road for the first time and play a top 20 opponent. We're excited for the challenge," Day said. "They're a veteran group who's played in big games before. A lot of the guys on defense have played a lot of football. Their scheme is excellent. They don't hurt themselves. Everything we get, we're going to have to earn. So it's a big challenge coming up for us."

Quarterback Dwayne Haskins has certainly earned the recognition he's received up unto this point. The sophomore has completed 42-of-53 pass attempts for 546 yards and nine touchdowns. But the Horned Frogs' defense will show him looks he's never seen before.

"That 4-2-5 defense ... they have a hybrid linebacker who has the ability to play coverage and get in the box and get his nose dirty," Day said. "So it's hard to find matchup problems because they have guys who can do multiple things."

Day said the Buckeyes' main concern was pass protection and keeping Haskins in rhythm.

"The focus is more on us, giving him clean protection and staying in rhythm," Day said. "Pass protection is a huge part of it."

Heading into Saturday's primetime kickoff in Arlington, here's what remains from Day's appearance on the weekly teleconference.

Ryan Day, Ohio State
  • Commented on backup quarterback Tate Martell: "The plan has always been to play Tate. He brings a different skill package to the table. He's getting better. He and Dwayne, in terms of meaningful time, this is the first opportunity for them to play. Now they have to take that next step, going into a big environment on the road. Anytime you have the threat to throw the ball with his athletic ability, you have to prepare for that. Shots down the field become available."
  • Was asked about quarterback Dwayne Haskins' preparation: "Dwayne started yesterday getting prepared for this defense. He did a nice job of going into last week and preparing. The most progress he's made is in the classroom and understanding the offense, understanding football."
  • Commented on defensive back Jeffrey Okudah: "Jeff has really developed over the past year and has a lot of talent. He's very aggressive. He's not going to back down from anybody. You can see that getting better everyday. He's one of the best kids you can be around in terms of day-to-day. Good things are happening. I think he's got a lot of great football ahead of him."
  • Discussed Baron Browning's role at middle linebacker: "Very talented, highly recruited. They've put a lot of work in to develop him where he's at. He's learned a lot from (sophomore) Tuf (Borland). Tuf's glad he's out there."

Aside from No. 25 Michigan State, who has an off week, the entire Big Ten Conference will be in action Saturday with kickoffs scheduled throughout the day.

At noon, Nebraska hosts Troy, Rutgers travels to Kansas, Indiana welcomes Ball State, Maryland plays host to Temple and Kent State travels to No. 11 Penn State. Nebraska, Indiana and Maryland's games will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network while Penn State is televised on Fox Sports 1.

Minnesota hosts Miami (OH) at 3:30 p.m., Illinois takes on South Florida at Soldier Field at the same time, and No. 19 Michigan plays SMU in Ann Arbor. All will be televised on the BTN. No. 6 Wisconsin also plays at 3:30, hosting BYU on ABC.

Three games are slated for 7:30 p.m. and all will be televised on the BTN: Missouri at Purdue, Akron at Northwestern, and Northern Iowa at Iowa.

Here's some of the highlights from the rest of the B1G's head coaches during Tuesday's teleconference call.

Chris Ash, Rutgers
  • "Really disappointed about Saturday's performance. Played a very, very good team that executed well. We did not. We didn't play to give ourselves a chance to win. We're excited to move on and get back into non-conference play."
  • Was asked about having to gameplan against Nick Bosa: "First of all, he's a great player. He plays with a high motor and he's not just a pass rusher, he's very good on the run as well. When you play a defensive end like that, you have to be aware of him and you have to be creative. There's a lot that goes into it when you play a difference maker like him. I would consider him as one of the best players in the country."
  • Was asked about the biggest concerns about his football team: "We played two different types of teams. We played Texas State and we controlled the game, which we should've and then we played a really good Ohio State team and didn't look good. My biggest concern is our depth and injuries as we go through the season."
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
  • "In all areas, we're striving for improvement. Special teams, offense and defense. We're mostly focused on that. I thought we made some good strides this past week and we want to continue that momentum."
  • Was asked about quarterback Shea Patterson's advancement: "He's doing really well. He's been good. I always thought the quarterback would be better after six months than when he started in anybody's system. Spring ball was a really good thing for Shea as a transfer player."
  • Commented on freshman Ronnie Bell's production: "We've put him into the offense and he's growing. He's got some skills that can really help our team. So we've chosen to play him. He's got a really good ability to track the ball, he gets separation, catches the ball well ... we want to see continued development. He's one of those unique freshman, it's not rare, but he has contributed right away."
Paul Chryst, Wisconsin
  • "Certainly looking forward to another game and another opportunity against, in our opinion, a really good football team in BYU."
  • Was asked about his biggest remaining concerns: "Two games in, you've got to keep improving. There's not one guy on this team that can't continue to grow. We've got a lot of areas where we can continue to improve and hopefully that never ends."
  • Was asked about Wisconsin's foundation of success: "There's a lot to it. The foundation has always been good players that care. Over the years, there's been a number of good coaches. I think we certainly have a belief in what's best for Wisconsin and those are fundamental foundation pieces. It's not like we've just stayed status quo. The magic is in the players and trying to play good football. I don't know if that's a great answer but that's what I believe. You have to stand for something. It's kind of a fun work in progress all the time."
  • Commented on coaching at alma mater: "The coaching part of it is ... it's always been the same no matter where I've been. What's most rewarding is working with the players and working with the team."
  • On running back Jonathan Taylor: "I certainly believe he has evolved and is growing. A lot of times, it's what situations come up and present themselves. He's grown in a number of areas, whether it be his overall knowledge of what we're doing or his understanding of what defenses are doing. There's kind of a natural progression."
Scott Frost, Nebraska
  • Commented on turning in quarterback Adrian Martinez's injury to the Big Ten Conference and PAC-12: "Honestly, I'm done talking about it. I answered the question yesterday. We need to focus on the things that we didn't do right. I'm not going to say anything else about it."
  • "As long as they don't tell me I have to talk about what's wrong with a player, I won't. That's in the best interest of the student athlete. So until they tell me I have to, I'm not going to say anything."
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
  • "Our goal is always to compete for a Big Ten championship in November. But that means you have to play well in September and October. But you have to be able to focus on the present to accomplish those big goals."
  • Was asked about breakdown in pass coverage: "We got beat on more outside type passes ... that was our biggest thing. In third down situations, we didn't play properly. There were some missed assignments."
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
  • "Just looking backward, we're really pleased to get the victory (over Iowa State). It was a hard fought team. It wasn't the prettiest at all times but the guys worked hard and played together. Now we turn our attention to Northern Iowa."
  • Said that he was worried about the game of football because of the calls the officials are asked to make at both the college and pro levels: "It makes their jobs more difficult, more difficult than they need to be."
  • Commented on Iowa's crowd this past Saturday: "Our fans have always been tremendous but Saturday, it's been loud on the field before, but it seemed louder than ever. They were really into the game. It was as good as I've ever heard. It was absolutely fantastic."
P.J. Fleck, Minnesota
  • Was asked about running back Rodney Smith's injury: "He's doing great. He's got positive spirits. I know he's really disappointed but I think he's handling it well. One thing this team understands is we're going to need everybody. Rodney understands that."
  • Commented on cornerback Antoine Winfield Jr.'s fourth quarter interception: "He knew he was beat. He had to find a way to recover and he did. He did that for his teammates."
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
  • "Obviously, our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by 9/11. As a football program, we try to do our part trying to lift those up who are making the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom."
  • Was asked about status of injuries on offensive tackles Rashawn Slater and Blake Hance: "I would call both of those guys probably questionable for Saturday."
Lovie Smith, Illinois
  • "Just pumped up and excited about another game, another week to show improvement on the football field. We like the position we're in. South Florida, our opponent this week, we have to be pumped up about that based on what happened last year. They got after us pretty good."
Matt Canada, Maryland
  • "We're excited coming off a win over Bowling Green. Our team played very well. Very much a team win, proud of our team and excited to play Temple Saturday in our first home game."
  • Was asked how important it is to build a fan base with young players: "I think it's very important to have young people around football in any way we can. Everything about college football ... it's the greatest thing going."
  • Commented on what he's observed about his assistant coaches: "As a staff, we're all together in this. We're all sticking together and we're all working very hard. As a staff, we've put our players first and we've focused on our players. Our focus continues to be about our players and I think our players know that."
  • On what it means to start 2-0 and keeping players and coaches focused on the season: "I think it's a great credit to our players. The job they've done of taking everything a day at a time and focusing on each other ... to have guys that actually believe that and buy into that, it's been a very special situation to watch."
Jeff Brohm, Purdue
  • "We're looking forward to getting back on the game field this Saturday night. We're going to play a great opponent who's playing extremely well. They've done a good job of coaching their guys up. They're playing at a high level. We currently are not. We've got to work hard to get better."
  • Was asked about cut block call on Matt McCann: "I don't think it matters what I think. We haven't gotten the calls we turned in sent back to us. But in general, we're going to have to teach better and, if that's what they're going to be calling, we can't cut at all on the backside. It was called, it costed us. We've got to learn from it, get it cleaned up and make sure it doesn't happen again." 
James Franklin, Penn State
  • Commented on scheduling and weighing benefits of playing challenging non-conference opponents early: "I think the issue is the nine conference games we play. It makes scheduling out of conference games like that more challenging. When you are the playoff committee, how do you compare apples to apples when multiple conferences play eight games and multiple conferences play nine games. I think one of the things we can do is make it a level playing field."
Tom Allen, Indiana
  • "With very inclement weather and a lot of things to overcome, I'm really excited our guys handled that and found a way to win. Looking forward to being home again this next week to play Ball State, a very improved football team from a year ago and a team that played Notre Dame extremely well on the road. They're going to come to our place and play their tails off."
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