Presser Bullets: Ryan Day Meets with the Media After His First Spring Practice As Ohio State's Head Coach

By Dan Hope on March 6, 2019 at 10:57 am

Following Ohio State's first practice of the spring on Wednesday morning, new head coach Ryan Day met with the media to recap the Buckeyes' first couple hours on the field and answer other burning questions about the team as spring practice begins.

A sampling of what had to say:

  • Solidifying the offensive line will be one of Ohio State's top priorities this season.
  • Day said the Buckeyes need Branden Bowen to "step up in a big way this spring." Said Bowen's return from injury is crucial to the offensive line not only because of his ability, but also because of the leadership he can provide as a fifth-year senior.
  • Ohio State was ready to play Josh Myers at center and move Michael Jordan back to guard at the end of the 2018 season, but the opportunity never presented itself, Day said.
  • On the quarterback competition: "It's going to be a battle." Day said Yurcich will "roll those guys in and out."
  • On Justin Fields: "Justin is a quick learner. He's a sharp guy."
  • "The defense was really swarming to the ball," and Day liked what he saw on that side of the ball, thinking the defense was really serious about the way they were going about their business.
  • Day said he believes Brendon White can do a lot of different things, and that the Buckeyes want to test the waters with him to see what all he can do, playing at both linebacker at safety.
  • Day said the quarterbacks cannot be afraid to fall, and have to understand they're going to make mistakes. Whoever learns from their mistakes better is going to win the job.
  • On the quarterbacks' overall performance on Wednesday: "For Day 1, I was pretty encouraged," acknowledged that a lot of improvement is still needed.
  • Day said the defense will look different this season because of all the coaching changes, and said the Buckeyes are also looking at potential changes to the way they go about their recruiting, but isn't trying to make drastic change yet from the Meyer era.
  • Day said he believes it is important for the defense to force teams to work the ball down the field, and wants the defense to be simpler for the players so they can play fast.
  • Day said he has to force himself to walk down to the defense and work with them because his natural inclination is to work with the quarterbacks and the offense.
  • Day said his plan is to be the offensive play caller this fall, though he will allow Mike Yurcich and Kevin Wilson to call offensive plays this spring.
  • Among the early enrollees, Zach Harrison has stepped in and done a really good job, Garrett Wilson has caught Day's eye with how smooth he has been, Marcus Crowley has a chance to compete for playing time at running back and Ryan Jacoby and Noah Potter are off to a solid start as well, Day said.
  • Day said none of the quarterbacks have established themselves as leaders yet simply because they don't have the experience.
  • Ohio State's quarterbacks could see more snaps under center this season.
  • Ohio State's defense will continue to be based out of a four-man front this season with Larry Johnson back as defensive line coach.
  • Ohio State will continue to limit established veterans' snaps in spring in order to manage their workload.
  • Day said he has talked to J.K. Dobbins about carrying the load at running back this season, and that he wants Dobbins to focus on battling for the 5-6 yard runs instead of hitting home runs.
  • Jordan Fuller has a lower-extremity injury, while Thayer Munford has a back injury.
  • Demario McCall, Taron Vincent and Jerron Cage are all limited right now due to injuries, but the Buckeyes expect them back this spring.
  • Ohio State is currently at 87 scholarships, but Day has no updates on whether the Buckeyes expect to lose any players who are currently on the roster. Said former walk-on Kevin Woidke, who was placed on scholarship last month, is on scholarship "for this spring."

Stay tuned with Eleven Warriors for more coverage from Ohio State's first spring practice.

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