Ryan Day Talks Wisconsin's Success Stopping the Buckeye Offense, The Relief He Felt Beating Michigan and the Fan Support on the Road

By Kevin Harrish on December 5, 2019 at 12:58 pm
Ryan Day

The Buckeyes are playing for a Big Ten Championship this weekend a week after earning their eighth-straight win over Michigan.

Ryan Day took to his weekly radio show on 97.1 The Fan on Thursday to preview the title game and reflect on his first win against Michigan. He was also joined by co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley.

Here's a recap of what they had to say.

Ryan Day

On being named coach of the year
  • "If we're doing well and playing well in November, a lot of people will be recognized."
  • Day called the coach of the year award "a team award."
On players making plays in The Game
  • "The rivalry game is a game for players... It's a game for players, not plays."
  • J.K. Dobbins ran with an "edge to him."
  • Justin Fields played a "gritty game."
  • Day said some of the plays of the game were the defensive stops early, forcing Michigan into punts, field goals and turnovers on downs.
On focusing after a big win
  • "We've been talking about this game knowing it was one of our goals, which was to win a Big Ten Championship."
  • Day said they knew before the season that to win a Big Ten title, they would have to win "three emotional games."
  • "The guys have been ready."
On last time against Wisconsin
  • "I thought they played really well against us, especially in the first half."
  • Day praised their defense, saying they really couldn't pull away until the second half.
  • "Of all the teams we've played, they did the best job stopping us."
  • "They definitely have our guys' attention."
On Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson
  • "There's a culture there and a legacy left behind of guys who've been there before."
  • "We're going to need those guys in this game."
  • Day notes there will be a lot of one-on-one battles against Wisconsin.
On how long he enjoyed the Michigan win
  • Day said it was "not very long" before he turned the page after beating Michigan.
  • Day said when they crossed the border into Ohio, it was on to the next game.
  • "You gotta win the game. There's no options. You're not allowed to lose that game."
On the interior offensive line – Jonah Jackson, Josh Myers and Wyatt Davis
  • "The physicality they're playing with – the knockdowns are unbelievable."
  • "They take 300-pound human beings and tossing them all over the field."
  • "They've brought an edge to us, a toughness to us, and they've been the tip of the spear on offense."
On Justin Fields
  • "I didn't have many expectations for him."
  • "To see him play in that game in that moment after taking a shot, and playing the way he did, it was pretty exceptional."
  • "It all makes sense to him. Some guys it takes a while, but the game makes sense to him."
  • "I think he kind of always saw himself in this moment, at a place like Ohio State."
  • "You talk about legends being made in Ohio State history, this is a great opportunity."
On Jonathon Cooper playing against Michigan
  • Day said they started having conversations about his redshirt in the middle of the season.
  • "We decided we would see when he was 100 percent available."
  • Day said they wanted to "maximize his senior year."
  • "We felt the time was right for the rivalry game. The most important game of the year."
  • Day notes it's going to be great to return a captain next year.
  • Day said the first thing Cooper did this week was ask to go to the scout team to help out.
On Michigan's success against Chase Young
  • "They did a good job."
  • Day said Michigan had some of the best tackles they've played so far and also schemed Chase Young on top of that.
  • "Teams have been trying to do that, and they'll continue to do that."
  • Day said when they focus so much on one player, that opens things up for other players.
On Amir Riep
  • "Those are big-time plays in the biggest game of the year."
  • Day said it's hard to wait behind a guy like Shaun Wade, but notes that these guys have played plenty of reps this season and should be ready.
  • Day said they were hoping that their depth would start to pay dividends, and it did against Michigan.
On leading by 12 at the half
  • Day said he was very pleased to be up 12 points at the half.
  • "That's a very skilled offense."
  • "I had a feeling they were going to move the ball early on."
  • Day said he was especially pleased with the first-half stops.
On the Michigan win
  • "I won't ever forget that."
  • "There are probably four, five or six snapshots from that game that I won't ever forget."
  • "I had giant shoes to fill, but I tried not to worry about that."
  • "To go in and win the way we did in that moment... That was a special moment.
On if there is concern about overconfidence given how last game went
  • "I don't think the score really represented what that game was."
  • Day notes that the score was 10-7 in the third quarter and said the offense struggled to get things going against Wisconsin.
  • "I'll be disappointed if we're overconfident this week."
On if he's happy to be playing inside
  • "Oh yeah. ... It's going to be good to play inside. For a lot of reasons."
  • Day said the players are happy to be playing inside as well.
  • Day said he doesn't believe it's going to give Ohio State more of an advantage than Wisconsin.
On recruiting after this week
  • Day notes that most teams are out recruiting this week while they're preparing for a game.
  • Day said Ohio State will hit the recruiting trail next week right after the game.
  • "Every hour's got to be maximized next week. We've got a lot to do and not a lot of time."
On fan support on the road
  • "It's huge."
  • "Any time we've gone on the road and played since I've been here, it's been tremendous."
  • "The Buckeyes just take over Indianapolis. You feel it when you're there."
  • "When you go on the road, you feel that presence."
On if he had a Heisman vote
  • "I don't know if I can," he said with a laugh
  • "I do think that all three of those guys deserve to go."
  • "Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts have had unbelievable years, and they deserve to go."

Jeff Hafley

On beating Michigan
  • "It's kind of hard to describe."
  • Hafley said it felt normal during the game, but was emotional before and after.
  • "It was a really cool experience. One that I've never had before."
On playing in The Big House
  • Hafley said he was impressed with the size of Michigan Stadium.
  • "I still think ours is louder though. There's no doubt."
  • Hafley said he made sure to take a photo of the scoreboard after the game.
On being a Broyles Award finalist
  • Hafley praised his team for the success this season.
  • "I feel like I'm there because of the staff and because of the players, and I appreciate that."
On the Wisconsin offense
  • Hafley praised the Wisconsin offense, saying it's improved.
  • Hafley praised Jack Coan, Jonathan Taylor, the tight ends and the wide receivers.
  • "I think 87 (Quintez Cephus) might be the best wide receiver in the conference – minus our guys."
On Justin Fields' touchdown to Garrett Wilson
  • "I've seen it in practice firsthand," Hafley said.
  • Hafley said he didn't even know Justin Fields was back in, and he looked up and he was throwing a touchdown.
  • "Him and Garrett do that in practice all the time, and it frustrates me there too."
  • "I'm glad I'm on their side."
On Jordan Fuller
  • Hafley praised Fuller, saying he's going to be very successful.
  • Hafley said whichever team drafts him will be "very lucky."
  • "I think he's going to make a defensive backs coach very happy in the NFL."
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