Ohio State football coach Ryan Day held his first formal press conference since the spring game at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Wednesday.
With summer workouts and a busy few weeks of recruiting camps underway, Day met with the media to provide the latest updates on the Buckeyes and answer some burning questions around the midpoint between the end of the spring and the start of fall camp.
A sampling of what Day had to say:
- Day opened up his press conference by congratulating Kevin Warren for being named the Big Ten's new commissioner.
- Day also made note of the team's APR, which earned them a public recognition award from the NCAA, in his opening statement.
- On the mental wellness fund Ryan and Christina launched Wednesday: "This is something that hits home for us." Described mental health as an "epidemic in our country right now," and he and his wife believed it was important to contribute. "We see mental health as a major issue. We see it at the college level, we see it with our team."
- Day said it is important for Justin Fields to spend time throwing to his receivers during the summer on his own because the coaches aren't allowed to do that with him until fall camp. "He's done a good job so far. He's been working really hard in the weight room," Day said, but also said there's no substitute for his lack of experience.
- "I have high hopes for the offensive line." Said Thayer Munford is "really looking strong right now" after missing the spring due to injury.
- On the rash of transfer movement at the quarterback position: "The transfer portal and all that goes on, that's not great for college football in a lot of areas, but it is what it is."
- Day said he liked that Gunnar Hoak was from Central Ohio but also that he has experience playing in the SEC. Said he thinks Hoak will be able to pick up the offense quickly and is doing well so far.
- On recruiting: "This month is a big month of us." Said at the end of June, Day will have a better feel for where the Buckeyes are in terms of building their class of 2020.
- On new quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Mike Yurcich: "He's got a huge job in front of him," referring to having to work with a brand new Ohio State quarterback, but "I brought him in for a reason."
- Day said recruiting Ohio does take precedence, and it does matter to the staff when players are from the state or have Ohio ties.
- Day said he recently had the opportunity to spend time with the other Big Ten coaches and Jim Delany, which helped him learn some of the other aspects of being a head coach.
- Day said the Buckeyes have three lifting groups a day during the summer – broken up in various ways depending on workout – while they also do conditioning work and have summer classes. Because there are fewer classes in the summer, Day said this is an important time for players and coaches to spend time together and build camaraderie.
- His thoughts on the transfer portal: "It's a complicated issue ... There are parts of it that I completely understand, there are other parts that make me very, very nervous, where college football is going with it."
- Day said he believes it is important to talk to players about both the positives and negatives when they come to Ohio State so that they aren't caught off-guard when they arrive and prone to transfer early.
- On the H-back position: "That H position can take on a lot of different roles. It could be a third receiver, it could be a second running back or a second tight end, based on the body type." Said Jeremy Ruckert, Rashod Berry, Demario McCall, K.J. Hill, C.J. Saunders and Jaelen Gill can all play that spot in various roles.
- On losing his father to suicide when he was nine years old: "I think when you're young and something like that happens, you go through a range of emotions, from angry to sad ... and then when you get into your 20s and 30s, you get a better perspective on how that happens." Said he considers mental illness to be like any other illness, and believes it's necessary to break the stigma. Said the Buckeyes have multiple sports psychologists to work with their team to help through any issues they might have with mental health.
- Do you prepare longer for speeches now that you're the head coach? "Yeah, a little bit."
- Day said the linebacker competition is still unsettled. Everyone is still battling.
- Day says people always ask what if he doesn't win a national championship, what if he doesn't beat Michigan. Day: "I always come back with, 'What if I do?'"
- On J.K. Dobbins: "He's one of the guys that has to play good ... He has to play good for us, especially in the first six games of the year."
- Day said this spring that he would limit transfers to two per school. After signing three scholarship transfers himself this offseason, "I've realized that it's a complicated issue."
- On Gunnar Hoak: "He's going to come in, he's going to get reps with the ones and he's going to compete for the starting job." Said Justin Fields didn't win the starting job in the spring, but the real competition begins in the preseason.
Stay tuned with Eleven Warriors for more coverage from the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, as offensive coordinators Kevin Wilson and Mike Yurcich and defensive coordinators Jeff Hafley and Greg Mattison are also set to meet with the media this afternoon.