After completing a 12-0 regular season with a 56-27 win over Michigan on Saturday, Ohio State's focus has now shifted to winning a conference championship.
The Buckeyes are set for a rematch with Wisconsin next weekend in Indianapolis. To kick off Big Ten Championship Game week, both teams' coaches are appearing on a teleconference on Sunday afternoon to look ahead to Saturday's clash at Lucas Oil Stadium (8 p.m., Fox) and answer questions from the media.
Ryan Day was the first coach to speak on Sunday's teleconference, and you can read a bullet-point recap of what the Ohio State coach had to say below. Updates from Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst will follow after his appearance on the teleconference concludes.
- On Wisconsin, who Ohio State beat 38-7 earlier this year: “Really good team. They played us real hard in the first game. Very, very well-coached.”
- Day, who was an NFL assistant coach for two years before he came to Ohio State, compared playing in a rematch against Wisconsin this week to playing a divisional opponent for the second time in an NFL season. Said the Buckeyes will still watch the same amount of film as they always would, and that it doesn't give them an advantage that they've already played Wisconsin because both teams are in the same boat. Said the Buckeyes need to be efficient with their film study this week.
- Day said the Buckeyes have to be able to rebound from an emotional win over Michigan this week, but they had to do that this past week after being Penn State, too. Believes Wisconsin will be in the same position after its win over Minnesota.
- On Shaun Wade's absence Saturday: “I think certainly, his absence was felt,” but he thought Amir Riep “stepped up and played really, really well.” He said Wade was “close” to being ready to play on Saturday after going through warmups; the Buckeyes ultimately decided to hold him out, but Day thinks Wade “should be ready to roll for this week.”
- Day said Austin Mack “graded out really, really well” for his play on Saturday against Michigan. Said he thought Mack was finally able to play up to his ability after battling injuries this season.
- Day said he doesn't think the Buckeyes will “be lacking any inspiration” for this week's game with a chance to win a Big Ten title and lock up a spot in the College Football Playoff.
- Day said he believes both teams are different now than they were when they played in October and expects Wisconsin to bring some different wrinkles to the table this week.
- On Saturday's defensive performance against Michigan: “I thought our pass defense in the second half, overall, was excellent.”
- Asked whether Damon Arnette will be ready to play this week after leaving yesterday's game due to injury, Ryan Day said "we'll see as the week goes on."
- Day said the Buckeyes will continue to work with Garrett Wilson after he muffed two punts in the last three weeks, but expressed that Wilson will continue to play in that capacity. Day said it's an "investment" in Wilson that's worth making because of how talented he is.
- “I'm happy that we're playing indoors” after some bad-weather games.
- Day said Ohio State's players make it easier for the Buckeyes to make adjustments because of how talented, versatile and mature they are.
- “There's a part of me that thinks our guys don't get enough credit for how much they've done this year ... I think these kids deserve credit for what they've done.”
- On potentially winning the Big Ten title: “That's been our goal from the get-go, and to do that in our first year together as a staff, would be incredible.” He said it would be a “huge deal” to win the conference championship and finish the year 13-0.
- Day said Justin Fields' status for the Michigan game was never in doubt even with his sprained MCL. “He's going to get it rehabbed this week and he's going to be fine.”
- Day said he believes the interior offensive line on Jonah Jackson, Josh Myers and Wyatt Davis is the best in the country.
- Chryst said this week's game is a “big challenge, but a great opportunity.”
- Ohio State is “a really, really good football team.”
- On the first game against Ohio State: “What stands out to me is that they made plays when it mattered most ... What stands out to me in that game is that they beat us.”
- On Chase Young, who had four sacks in the first game against Wisconsin: “We knew going into the game he’s a heck of a football player, and would say the same things coming out of it.” To have a chance to slow him down, “you have to execute against him, and he's obviously so talented, that's easier said than done.”
- Chryst also noted that Ohio State has a lot of really good defensive players around Young, and that he thinks Ohio State's defensive coaches have done a great job with them.
- Chryst said there's a “fine line” between trying to do new things in a game like this and continuing to do the things that have worked well to get to this point.
- Chryst said it's hard to say exactly how Wisconsin has improved since it played Ohio State in October because you don't play the same team every week. Chryst said the Badgers have had more players contributing over the past four games than they had going into the Ohio State game, which helps.
- On how Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor compares to Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins: “They're both really, really good, talented football players.”
- What do you have to do to have a chance to beat a team as good as Ohio State? “You have to play good, winning football ... the game is made up of a lot of individual battles, and you got to win your share of them.”
- Chryst said he doesn't know whether playing indoors gives Ohio State or Wisconsin the advantage.