Presser Bullets: Ryan Day, Al Washington and Mike Yurcich Meet the Media Ahead of Ohio State's Final Non-Conference Game of the Season Against Miami

By Dan Hope on September 17, 2019 at 12:34 pm

With one Big Ten win in the books and one more non-conference game to go, Ohio State coach Ryan Day held his weekly press conference to preview the Buckeyes' upcoming game against Miami (Ohio) on Tuesday.

Day will also be joined at the podium on Tuesday by linebackers coach Al Washington and quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator Mike Yurcich, who are each participating in the Tuesday press conference for their first times this season.

Updates from Day are below, and updates from Washington and Yurcich will follow. Updates from the players who are participating in Tuesday's presser – quarterback Justin Fields, right guard Wyatt Davis, defensive tackle Robert "BB" Landers and cornerback Damon Arnette – will follow in a separate post.

Ryan Day:

  • Day opened his press conference by thanking teachers for the work that they do. This week is the College Football Playoff Foundation's Extra Yard for Teachers week.
  • On the right side of the offensive line: "I think Branden Bowen and Wyatt Davis are two of the better offensive linemen in the country." Said he didn't feel like Indiana had reason to attack the right side of the line more than the left side.
  • Day said he thought Ohio State played hard and tough in its 51-10 win over Indiana, but didn't play great; the Buckeyes still have a lot to work on. "We do have some momentum right now, but we got to keep that going." Day said it was actually frustrating to watch the film because "there are so many things to clean up."
  • Day said he believes Ohio State has elite potential, but doesn't want to spend too much time thinking about that: "If we want to get to where we want to go, we have to take it one week at a time ... If we train the way we train, Saturdays will take care of themselves."
  • On preparing for opponents: "I don't think you truly know what a team is until about midseason."
  • Asked why he thinks the Buckeyes could be special this year, he believes they have the right people to be great. "They're the type of kids you want your family to be around."
  • Day said "there are a lot of things that go into" the missed deep balls that Justin Fields had on Saturday, but "overall, he's managed the game well" and just has to keep gaining experience and learning from his mistakes. He said Fields is "light years" beyond where he thought Fields would be three games into his Ohio State career.
  • Day said the Buckeyes spend a lot of time in the preseason working on different situations that could come up in games. Said the coaching staff will watch clips from different college football games and situations and discuss what they would do if they were in those situations themselves.
  • Day said the Buckeyes will have to have conversations over the next couple weeks about which freshmen should redshirt and who should not. Said they will make decisions based on where guys can help them and stand on the depth chart, but those decisions won't be set in stone.
  • Day said the biggest challenge for Branden Bowen will be to stay healthy and playing well throughout the whole season. "So far, so good."
  • The backup quarterback job remains open for competition, and Day said Gunnar Hoak is still learning the offense after just arriving this summer.
  • On Fields' arm strength: "Justin has as strong an arm as he needs."
  • Day said the key to guarding against complacency is watching the film and seeing what the Buckeyes need to do better.
  • “We’re probably doing more stuff than we’ve ever done in terms of variety,” Day said of the offense. He praised Fields’ ability to handle it mentally.
  • Day said Fields arrived at Ohio State with a tendency to over-stride and sail the ball high, but Dwayne Haskins and J.T. Barrett also had the same issue until coaches worked with them to correct it.
  • On Fields' low-key personality and deflecting praise to his teammates: "That's Justin." Said he hasn't told Fields how to handle himself, that's just how Fields is.
  • On Master Teague's emergence as the No. 2 running back: "I think we all kind of had an idea what we had," but it was hard to see exactly what he could do because of injuries in preseason camp. "He needs to assert himself and start to be a guy we could count on."
  • On the defense: "I think they're all kind of swarming to the ball."
  • Day said backup safety Josh Proctor is "flying around and doing a great job."
  • On Chris Olave: "Certainly the last six games he's had, his production has been off the charts." Said Olave has been practicing really well and gaining the confidence of his teammates.
  • Day said Ohio State wants to be the best team in the nation, and he says he doesn't hide it: "That's our goal, and we're not ashamed to say that."

Al Washington:

  • Washington said he feels like the whole defense has been bought into the message the coaches are teaching, and that's started with co-defensive coordinators Greg Mattison and Jeff Hafley.
  • On Mattison: "His wisdom, in terms of being able to see an offense, helps a lot. And I think when guys know what's coming, they play better."
  • On Indiana's trick-play touchdown: "It was a good fake. We were aggressive, we played on that ... I guess when you're aggressive like that, those things happen. We can't consistently obviously give those up," Washington said, but said they had to move and keep playing after that.
  • "We're going to get everybody's best shot, so the whole goal is at the end of the year, you're playing your best football."
  • "When you're going against a team with equal talent or better talent, technique's going to be the equalizer."
  • On Baron Browning: "The reason why Baron is having success is because he's worked really hard. And he's talented."
  • Washington said he isn't "PC" with his players. If there's something they need to improve on, he tells them.
  • On getting the best out of his players: "If he has a spark, I'm gonna pour gas on it, and hopefully it turns into a blaze."
  • Washington said he believes Malik Harrison has the ability to be one of the best linebackers in the country, and just needs to keep giving maximum effort and perform in a way on the field that allows his play to speak for itself.
  • On the balance of playing time between Browning and Tuf Borland: "I think we've done a really good job with that ... I think the way you rotate guys, you kind of preserve some of that extra fire ... I think they play off of each other well ... I think both guys physically are in a place they hadn't been in years past because of that."
  • On Borland: "There's no ego in him. I think he understands his role." Said Borland doesn't need to be on the field every single play to be the leader that he is.

Mike Yurcich:

  • On Justin Fields' progress: "What we're trying to do is just find ways to improve every day ... How can we help him become the best quarterback he can be? We're not there yet, and the best part is he knows, there's ways he can improve."
  • Yurcich said the two things he constantly preaches with Fields are his eyes and feet. Make sure his eyes are where they need to be and make sure his feet are where they need to be.
  • Yurcich said there hasn't been enough of a sample size to say that Fields has done anything consistently yet. Has to keep working hard every day to be consistent over the course of the season.
  • On the backup and scout-team quarterbacks: "They are very dependable."
  • Yurcich said true freshman walk-on quarterback J.P. Andrade played scout-team wide receiver last week and "gave tremendous effort."
  • Chris Chugunov is more familiar with the system, which has given him the edge to be the No. 2 quarterback so far, but Yurcich said the Buckeyes are continuing to evaluate both Chugunov and Gunnar Hoak every day to determine who the top backup should be. Said the Buckeyes need to be confident in their No. 2 quarterback but "it's in our best interest to keep two guys competing against each other."
  • On Chris Olave: "He's a very explosive receiver and he's very consistent, and he practices really hard and his want-to is extremely high."
  • On the wide receiver group: "I think that group has a very unique style in that we have a lot of experience and we have some youth, and I think the mentorship is very strong in that group."
  • On Fields' growth as a leader: "I think every leader on a team needs some street credit. I think you have to produce to a degree. I think he's become more comfortable leading the troops and taking control." Has seen Fields become more outwardly confident as he has gained more experience.
  • On the success of the running game: "It starts up front with our guys up front, they're doing a great job establishing the line of scrimmage. And our tailbacks are doing a great job coming downhill as well."
  • How difficult is to keep the players focused on the task and getting better each week? Yurcich said Day does a great job of making sure that happens, and the Buckeyes offense and defense "compete at a very high level" against each other every week, regardless of who their upcoming opponent is.
  • Yurcich said the throw from the far hash to outside the numbers can be very difficult if you have bad mechanics or bad rapport with their receivers, but he said Fields has the arm strength to get in there and has done a good job of that with the help with his teammates.
  • Yurcich said Day does a great job of building progressions within the offense's structure so that quarterbacks feel confident going to their second or third option.
  • On Fields: "I think that right now, he's trying to make sure that he's saying the right things to the media and gaining the respect of his teammates and the fan base." Said he thinks Fields will show more personality as he gains more experience. “He knows he hasn’t arrived yet."
View 34 Comments