The Buckeyes are are back in action, coming off a bye week and as they head into Evanston for a Friday night bout with Northwestern.
With Ohio State's schedule moved up, due to the Friday night game, Ryan Day made his final media appearances on Wednesday instead of the typical Thursday, but the content was the same. Day joined 97.1 The Fan for his weekly radio show immediately followed by his typical brief afternoon media availability in the team room.
You can read the updates from what Day – also joined by wide receivers coach Brian Hartline – had to say during his radio show appearance, followed by his meeting with the local media, below.
Ryan Day Radio Show
On the bye week
- "The big focus on us in the off week was getting better."
- Day said they targeted each player and told them what they needed to get focused on.
- They started Northwestern game prep on Sunday.
On leaning on experienced players on the road
- "Those guys have been in these types of games before."
- Day said every game is different, and every game is like a one-game season.
- "The experienced guys do help you out there."
On Northwestern's defense
- "This is a defense that is really back from last year, and they've done a great job this year."
- "They haven't given up much all year."
- Day notes that they gave up less than 300 yards to Wisconsin.
- "They don't make it easy to move the ball."
- "Nobody has really had great success against them."
- Day notes that nobody has had more than 400 yards of offense against them.
Is missing class a concern for road games?
- "Yes, it is."
- Day said they reach out to professors and try to get classwork in advance. Otherwise they catch up when they get back.
- "We meet every Thursday to go through every single kid and every single class."
On the depth
- "Some of the younger kids kind of get lost in practice because they sort of lose the hope of playing."
- Day said that hasn't been an issue this season since so many guys have gotten live game reps.
On K.J. Hill's unselfishness
- Day called Hill "A leader of the whole offense and the whole team."
- "If you get so focused on yourself and on your numbers, it doesn't go so well."
- "He has a chance to be one of the most productive receivers in the history of the school and he wasn't even always a starter." Hill has started just nine games in his career.
On J.K. Dobbins reaching 1,000 yards again
- "I think that's what makes a really good football player – guys who get through adversity."
- "This game – it can take you to your knees."
- Day said Dobbins is a better player now because of the adversity he went through earlier in his career.
On teams negating Ohio State's pass rush
- Day notes that teams are going to continue to try to get t
- "We just have to play our defense and whatever we're doing we're just going to have to adjust."
- Day explains that even if they negate a pass rush with extra men or getting the ball out quick, that keeps them from doing other things, so it's still a win.
Does a spread offense get rid of the power run?
- "We believe even though you're spread out, it's still a power run."
- Day said his interior linemen would take offense to thinking their scheme wasn't a power run scheme.
- Day notes that while they might not have a traditional fullback, they do have two tight ends."
- "They spread just gives us more room."
- "That's really the idea – to create more space, but not be less physical."
On the red zone offense
- "When you get in the red zone, the defense has that 12th defender – the back of the end zone."
- "Everybody's a little bit better" in the red zone.
- "It's almost like playing arena league football."
- Day said it is nice to have a mobile quarterback to equate the numbers.
On Justin Fields extending plays
- "There's a lot that goes into that."
- Day explained that sometimes, he does want Justin Fields to throw the ball away instead of take a sack, but he doesn't want to tell him not to use his legs.
- "I want him to create, because that's part of his game. He's good at that."
- "It puts more stress on the defense because they have to hold their coverage longer.
On the scout team
- Ryan Day said Mike Yurcich actually runs the scout team offense, so the offensive look is clean and accurate.
- Day emphasized the importance of having a good, clean look in practice.
- Day said they really value the scout team and actually give player of the week awards to the scout team.
On in-game trash talk
- "We certainly want guys playing with an edge though."
- "Part of being tough in a physical game is that little bit of back and forth."
- Day said they certainly don't want a penalty, calling it "unacceptable."
- "You have to play with emotion, you can't let emotion play with you."
On another road trip
- Day said they place extreme value in every game.
- "You work so hard for this, you can't let it get away in one week."
- "That's college football. It's not like that in any other sport."
On Pat Fitzgerald
- Ryan Day called Pat Fitzgerald "very classy."
- Day said Fitzgerald sent him a congratulatory text right after the Big Ten Championship game and texted him when he was named the head coach.
- "He was the first to text" after Day's first win.
- "Just a classy guy. Someone you'd want to work with, someone you respect."
On the young receivers receiving leadership
- "They don't know the guys from last year. They just know the guys this year."
- "Your legacy is not the stat sheet," Hartline said of veteran guys.
- Terry McLaurin, Parris Campbell and Johnnie Dixon's legacy is tied to how this year's veterans lead the room.
On Chris Olave's emergence last year
- "We can't control a lot of times what happens to us, but we can control our response to it."
- Hartline praised Chris Olave's fight to get ready to play last year, even though it didn't look like he would.
- Hartline said Olave is playing great. "The stats don't say it all."
- "There's a lot of correlation between Michigan State and Northwestern."
- "They're both tough, hang their hat on stopping the run."
- "That carryover can help us."
- "We have a lot of respect for them and what they do."
On the receivers communicating with the quarterback
- "There's only really one play to be on, and that's the quarterbacks page."
- Hartline said it's on them to make sure they're doing everything he needs, not the other way around.
- "If he's not coming up to us, we need to be coming up to him."
- "It's been a two-way conversation – which is huge."
Press Conference With The Local Media
- On how he makes sure a team isn't overconfident: "Just talking to them every day. Making sure they stay hungry." He says Ohio State has to come into every week and every game with something to prove, "and we have a lot to prove."
- On potentially tall grass at Northwestern: "We all have to play with it. So whatever the conditions are, they are."
- Day says he has heard about White Belt Mentality in recent years. He says it's the first step on the journey to the black belt, which he introduced to his team this week.
- Day says he didn't give himself a list of three positives and three areas to improve: "I certainly have a lot more than three things to work on."
- Any tendencies surprise you after self-scouting during the off week? "Oh, yeah. Yeah." He says it's important not to have opponents able to key in on what the Buckeyes are doing.
- He says Northwestern's defense "constantly" has extra players in the box, which is similar to what Michigan State did. "It's harder to score when you get in the red zone against them."
- Day notes that Northwestern allowed fewer than 300 yards to Wisconsin.
- He says Ohio State will have the proper footing for a grass field, but they don't talk about that much.
- On Master Teague: "I think that he's had a good first six games. He's kind of on the trajectory we hoped he'd be on at this point."