Coach's Show Recap: Ryan Day, Jeff Hafley, Greg Mattison and Mike Yurcich Talk Recruiting, Scheme Changes, Justin Fields and More

By Kevin Harrish on February 6, 2019 at 1:02 pm
The first-ever Ryan Day show.

Ryan Day has finishes his first month as Ohio State's head coach and on Wednesday, he will wrap up his first recruiting class.

In the first edition of The Ryan Day Show, the new Buckeye head coach took to 97.1 The Fan's radio waves to discuss his first month, his first recruiting class, the transfer portal and new quarterback Justin Fields.

"It's been crazy," Day said. "Just a sprint to get through signing day. It's been all recruiting up to this point."

Day was joined by new assistants Jeff Hafley, Greg Mattison and Mike Yurcich.

Here are some highlights.

Ryan Day

On the culture of the team
  • Day praises the team for how they handled the coaching transition
  • Notes they only lost two players to transfer, Tate Martell and Keandre Jones.
  • "We're really proud of the culture."
  • "It's amazing how loyal they are and the culture they built."
  • Day notes they only had two more spots available in the class because everyone stuck around.
On Justin Fields
  • "Adding him to this class was huge."
  • "The competition between he and Matt (Baldwin) is going to be huge going into the spring."
  • "He's in the same conversation and same sentence as Braxton Miller" in terms of his performance in the weight room, Day said after talking to Mickey Marotti
On the transfer portal
  • "It's kind of unprecedented."
  • It's something new, but it's something we have to adapt to.
  • Every day, they check who's in the portal and evaluate the players
  • "They kind of become recruits for us."
  • If it continues, they'll have to have a section of the recruiting department dedicated to monitoring the transfer portal.
On carrying recruiting momentum despite being a new coach
  • "The infrastructure has remained the same."
  • Day notes that there has been staff turnover, but the culture remains.
  • "We didn't want to change anything that way."
On the remaining staff members
  • Day notes he's very comfortable with the staff that remained.
  • Adding Mike Yurcich to the offensive staff was "very important."
  • On Larry Johnson: "He's a father figure to everyone on the defense."
On Mike Yurcich
  • Day praised Yurcich's prolific offenses at Oklahoma State.
  • "He's been handed nothing, had to earn everything he has."
  • "For him to want to come back to Ohio, be a part of this thing – that's something special."
On Greg Mattison and Al Washington
  • Day said he wanted to bring in a few veteran guys and younger guys to compliment them.
  • "These guys are great coaches who I've known for a long time."
  • "No matter where I was, I was going to try to get them on my staff."
On Al Washington and Jeff Hafley's roles
  • Notes that Al Washington can coach a lot of positions.
  • "He's got experience all over the field."
  • Day said Jeff Hafley will coach the back half of the defense while Al Washington will focus more on the front half of the defense.
  • "There's no egos in that room."
On Jeff Hafley
  • Day notes Hafley had a few NFL offers to be a coordinator but wanted to return to college.
  • Both the safeties and the cornerbacks will be in one room.
  • "He wants to coach the whole secondary."
On the linebackers
  • The most depth I've ever seen at linebacker.
  • "That should be a strength of ours this year."
  • "I think they're going to be a highly productive group this year."
On Matt Barnes
  • Matt Barnes comes from the Urban Meyer coaching tree and knows all the terminology.
  • Ryan Day said Barnes is a really bright guy and really knows the game.
  • Day said special teams will be the tip of the spear, as usual.

Jeff Hafley

On Greg Schiano's influence
  • "Greg Schiano is a big influence on me."
  • He coached with Schiano at Rutgers and in Tampa Bay.
  • "He was like a father figure to me."
  • "The reason I'm sitting here, and the reason why I've had some success so far is because of him."
On recruiting across the country
  • "They roll out the red carpet for you."
  • "The brand is powerful."
  • "It made me feel like 'Wow, I really made the right decision.' This is a great place."
On the number of first-round draft picks at cornerback
  • Praised the size, speed and talent of Ohio State's cornerbacks
  • "Hopefully we'll continue that trend."
  • Hafley said there aren't better corners across the country than here the past seven years, "and I would have said that before I took this job."
On working with Matt Barnes
  • Hafley said he's never worked with Matt Barnes before, but "he's very bright, very intelligent."
  • Hafley said he's going to have to study the college run game a little more, since they add the quarterback in the running game and that Barnes is another great mind to lean on.
  • Bringing the corners and safeties into one room will help with communication, Hafley said.
  • The defense will adjust to what it needs to do to be successful.

Greg Mattison

On what he sees in Ryan Day
  • "He was one that the second you met him, you said 'Ooo, this guy is pretty sharp.'"
  • Mattison said he kept watching what Day was doing, and Day impressed him this year.
  • "You knew that this guy is special."
On Larry Johnson
  • "I am so excited to not get beat in recruiting by him."
  • "This guy's special, and I mean that."
  • Mattison said he was always impressed with Johnson's units.
On recent changes defensive scheme
  • Man-to-man is a necessity in defending the RPO offense.
  • RPO offenses have also forced defensive linemen to be able to run.
  • Rotations are necessary because you have to go hard on every play.

Mike Yurcich

On what his offense has done in the past
  • "It's all about the players."
  • "If it wasn't for the type of players we had, I wouldn't be here."
  • "I'm looking forward to continuing those relationships and those developments here in Columbus."
On Justin Fields
  • His athleticism is elite. His arm strength is elite.
  • "He's a football junkie"
  • Yurcich says hasn't seen one live rep from Fields, but was impressed with his highlight tape.
On his role at Ohio State
  • "I'm here to learn coach Day's offense, and Ohio State's offense. That's priority one."
  • Yurcich said he has to become an expert on the offense so he can teach it.
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