Presser Bullets: Ryan Day, Larry Johnson, Greg Studrawa and Ohio State Players Recap the Season Opener, Look Ahead to Game Two Against Cincinnati

By Dan Hope and Colin Hass-Hill on September 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm

In the midst of preparation for Ohio State's second game of the season, Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day and several other Ohio State coaches and players met with the media on Tuesday to review the Buckeyes' season-opening 45-21 win over FAU and look ahead to their second game of the year against Cincinnati on Saturday at noon.

Defensive line coach Larry Johnson, offensive line coach Greg Studrawa, quarterback Justin Fields, left guard Jonah Jackson, defensive tackle Davon Hamilton and punter Drue Chrisman are also among those who answered questions in the team meeting room at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Tuesday.

Updates from all seven Ohio State representatives' meetings with the media are below.

Ryan Day:

  • "Watching the film here for a couple days, we've got our hands full." Day credited Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell with doing a good job building that program up. "I've got a lot of respect for Coach Fickell and what he's built down there." He says the Bearcats' defense is "very sound in terms of their scheme." Calls Cincinnati a "very strong program in great shape."
  • Day says Justin Fields "played well in terms of game management." Notes he didn't try to force anything.
  • On the team's performance Saturday: "I think the first quarter, it was exactly the way I envisioned, on both sides of the ball. After that, it was just OK."
  • Day said J.K. Dobbins' fumble on Saturday was "inexcusable." "That cannot happen. We have to get that fixed." Day said Dobbins was crushed about the fumble. "I know J.K.'s gonna bounce right back from that."
  • Day thought Justin Fields "stood in there and took some shots" on Saturday. "That's playing in the Big Ten, and that's what it's going to be like moving forward."
  • On the offensive line: "I actually, after watching the film, was more pleased with how the offensive line blocked than how I thought coming off the field." Said he thought there were more yards to be hard in the running game than the Buckeyes actually gained. Jonah Jackson was credited with nine knockdown blocks and Josh Myers was credited with six.
  • Day said he thought Master Teague "ran well" on Saturday. Said the time Teague missed this offseason with injuries "stunted his progress," but he thought Teague ran hard. "That was definitely a flash for us on offense."
  • Asked about running back recruiting, Day said the Buckeyes currently have a full roster of scholarship players at the position in Dobbins, Teague, Demario McCall, Marcus Crowley and Steele Chambers, but they always look to recruit running backs every year and if someone leaves, they'll need another one. Ohio State currently does not have any running back commitments for the class of 2020.
  • Day said Fields took some shots that he should not have taken on Saturday and needs to be careful to avoid those going forward. "He's also got to learn that this is a long season."
  • On the use of multiple-tight end sets regularly on Saturday, Day said that was partially because of the strength of the tight end group and partially because the Buckeyes thought those packages matched up well with FAU.
  • On what the Buckeyes need to do better this week: "We have to play for a full 60 minutes. Those first 6-7 minutes or whatever it was was completely dominant, but after that, it was just OK. We can't take a deep breath like that." On the FAU game: "A little strange the way the game played out, but a lot to learn from."
  • Day said he was not displeased with Dobbins' play on Saturday, but the Buckeyes know what he can do and Day reiterated that fumbles are unacceptable.
  • Day said the Buckeyes were trying to downplay how much they would go under center going into the season opener. "We're going to keep building that package as we go."
  • Asked for one play that Day liked from Fields' debut on Saturday, he highlighted a 3rd-and-8 play where he made a smart decision to get out of the pocket and throw the ball into the stands instead of risking a turnover.
  • Ohio State still hasn't decided on a second-string quarterback. Chris Chugunov got the call for the last series on Saturday, but he and Gunnar Hoak are still battling for the backup job.
  • Day said he has talked to UCLA coach Chip Kelly, who is one of his close mentors, since the Bruins' loss to Cincinnati last week. He said they did not talk much about the specifics of the game, though. Day's head coach at UNH, Sean McDonnell, who Kelly also worked with, recently took a leave of absence due to health reasons, so Day said "there were more important things to talk about."
  • On going under center: "Justin felt comfortable going under center, and it worked ... not that it wouldn't have worked in the past, but it seems to be working right now." 
  • Day said that whenever there were fumbles in the quarterback-center exchange in preseason, both players would be required to take a lap around the field.

Larry Johnson:

  • Johnson said he has seen Antwuan Jackson become more confident and was pleased with how he played in the defensive tackle rotation on Saturday. 
  • Johnson said the Buckeyes had to decide whether to move Cornell back to defensive end on Saturday after he spent most of the offseason at defensive tackle, but said Cornell is "a team player" so he agreed to make the move back outside. He said Ohio State wants to move him back to 3-technique defensive tackle once their defensive ends are healthy, but thought Cornell had his best game as a Buckeye on Saturday.
  • Tyreke Smith and Tyler Friday aren't quite ready to go yet, but the Buckeyes will see how they practice this week to determine whether or not they'll play Saturday.
  • On Javontae Jean-Baptiste: "He's a guy that's going to need to help us down the stretch."
  • Johnson said he believes Chase Young has shown "outstanding" leadership going into the season. "I thought he played really well on Saturday. There's always room for improvement."
  • Johnson said Cincinnati's quarterback and running back are "special" and the offensive line is "young but big."
  • Larry Johnson says Cincinnati is "really a Big Ten team" in its physical style of running.
  • Johnson said Ohio State played all of its scholarship defensive linemen on Saturday because they want to keep their unit fresh.
  • On Jonathon Cooper trying to recover from injury: "Jon is a resilient guy, now ... He's literally living in the training room. That's the kind of guy he is."

Greg Studrawa:

  • Studrawa said the offensive line needs to continue to work on playing in the under-center packages because it's new, but he was pleased with how his unit handled that on Saturday.
  • Studrawa thought Thayer Munford had a great first start after being sidelined for much of the offseason due to back surgery. "He's lighter than he's ever been ... he played extremely well."
  • On Jonah Jackson: "It was hard for him to leave his friends and guys there (at Rutgers), but he wanted to have a chance to be successful. He wanted to have a chance to win everything."
  • Studrawa said he wants to see enthusiastic play from his offensive linemen, and he "won't accept anything else." Was pleased with the enthusiasm he saw from his unit on Saturday.
  • Studrawa said that when Saturday's began, Ohio State's offensive line was able to simply overpower FAU's defensive line with its size advantage. When FAU changed its defensive line techniques, the Buckeyes had to adjust, and he felt they were able to do that in the second half to get their offense back going again.
  • Studrawa said the battle between Branden Bowen and Nicholas Petit-Frere at right tackle was "really close," but Bowen's maturity and experience allowed him to edge Petit-Frere out. Reiterated that Petit-Frere will continue to play as the season progresses, just like Joshua Alabi will as the backup left tackle.
  • Studrawa felt Josh Myers was nervous going into Saturday's game because it was his first start, but he felt Myers handled his nerves well and performed well in his first start. Said there were only two times where Myers made misidentifications in pass protection, and he thought there would be more.

Jonah Jackson:

  • Says he's not sure exactly what the offense can "hang its hat on" because it does a lot.
  • Jackson says it felt different because he was playing with the home team in Ohio Stadium for the first time.
  • "I think that might take the cake for the most knockdowns (in my college career)." However, he says he still made some mistakes.
  • "I like being nasty and finishing."
  • Jackson says Oklahoma and Ohio State were the two schools he focused on in his recruitment as a transfer. Ultimately, the visit sold him on choosing to become a Buckeye.
  • Jackson says it's important to communicate with the rest of the linemen and Greg Studrawa to communicate during the games when teams throw different front at them. He says he thought Ohio State's line adjusted "pretty well."
  • He says "every time you get a win is always great."
  • Jackson says he was welcomed with "open arms" when he arrived, which helped him build chemistry with the unit.
  • On what impressed him about Josh Myers: "How mature he is. Especially since that was his first start." Calls him a "grown man."
  • Jackson on the difference in expectations now versus at Rutgers: "It's definitely something that's different, for sure."

Davon Hamilton:

  • Hamilton says Ohio State preaches "competitive excellence" so there wasn't a big rallying call due to Jonathon Cooper's injury. Everybody knew they had to step up.
  • On Jonathon Cooper keeping his spirits up during his injury: "There's nothing really that's going to bring him down."
  • Hamilton says he's treating the Cincinnati game as if it's any other game rather than a game against an in-state opponent: "There's not really a firing up point. We just have to win."
  • On Jashon Cornell: "I was very proud of him." Says he has had a long road due to injuries.
  • "I feel like our coaches were really happy with the way we performed." He mentions it would've been optimal had the defense not allowed the fourth-quarter points, but that's part of the learning process.
  • On if he has a preference between nose tackle and 3-technique: "Whatever it takes to win." He plays the two positions with a similar style.
  • On Jashon Cornell moving between defensive end and defensive tackle: "I think it's more of an attitude." Says he knows you have to do what's necessary to win.
  • Says Luke Fickell was his lead recruiter. "We've got a lot to look forward to on Saturday."
  • "I feel like it helps out a lot having somebody who's actually from Ohio recruiting Ohio kids."

Drue Chrisman:

  • Says Saturday's game is "certainly" special. He played a game in Nippert Stadium in high school.
  • "We want zero return yards. Gave up a couple last game." He says that upset the punt unit a bit.
  • On the gunners "I love Terry (McLaurin). He was probably the best in the business." He says Chris Olave and Isaiah Pryor performed well. "They bailed me out last game, for sure." He says his hang time wasn't nearly as high as he wanted on Saturday.
  • Chrisman says when he was getting recruited by Ohio State, a lot of his friends and classmates were pushing him to go to the Buckeyes. He says he didn't have an offer from Cincinnati.
  • On Ohio State vs. Cincinnati: "It's the battle of Ohio, really. They're going to come up and try to take us out." He says there's "definitely a little rivalry" between Ohio State and Cincinnati.
  • Chrisman says he talked with Parker Fleming mostly during the game since Matt Barnes coached from the box.

Justin Fields:

  • Fields says when he rewatched the game, fixing the "little things" such as protections, going through the reads and carrying out fakes are now his main focuses.
  • He says on Sunday he was "definitely feeling it" after getting hit so often.
  • Says the offense has to keep up the tempo and has to view it like it's a 0-0 score.
  • Fields says the offense didn't play "as high of a level as we did" early in the game later in it.
  • When he's scrambling, he says he's "still looking downfield" and it's important for he and the receivers to be on the same page.
  • "I'm not trying to take a lot of hits, especially early in the season." Says he needs to preserve his body.
  • He says he came in on Monday and watched film of Cincinnati with Mike Yurcich. Nothing in particular stood out.
  • On Day saying his favorite play is when he makes a smart read and throws the ball into the stands: "He always tells me that in practice." 
  • On learning to avoid hits when he scrambles: "This has been kind of new to me." He says he hasn't ever slid in his entire life.
  • "Buckeye Nation showed out. They came and supported the team. I'm definitely excited to be a Buckeye."
  • "I think I could've scored one more touchdown." He joked he would've tried to score again had he known he tried Dwayne Haskins for the record of the most touchdowns in a first start.
  • On teams having transfer quarterbacks make immediate impacts: "I think it's definitely a good thing in college football." He believes it will lead to better quarterback play around the country.
  • After the game: "I was crazy sore. My whole body, really." He was asked in the training room "What hurt?" He said, "Everything."
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