Presser Bullets: Ohio State Coach Ryan Day Meets the Media for First Time Since Fiesta Bowl

By Dan Hope on January 15, 2020 at 1:44 pm

For the first time since Ohio State's Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson and the first time in 2020, Ryan Day met with the media on Wednesday.

In a press conference at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Wednesday, Day discussed how the Buckeyes have moved forward from their College Football Playoff semifinal defeat as they begin their preparations for 2020 and fielded questions about the developments surrounding the team over the last few weeks, including the hiring of Corey Dennis as quarterbacks coach, the secondary coach vacancy that remains open and more.

Here's a quick bullet-point recap of what Day had to say:

  • Day started out by thanking the media and the professionalism that the media has shown to him this year.
  • Day said the Buckeyes can use two-high safety looks on defense and will "diversify a little bit more this year," but single-high safety will still be the base formation.
  • On the hiring of Dennis as quarterbacks coach, Ryan Day said he thought it was important to keep continuity in the room. Said that Dennis had an opportunity at Colorado State and was out there at one point, but Dennis is very invested in Ohio State and wanted to be with the Buckeyes.
  • Day said Ohio State will be smart with Justin Fields as they get into running this offseason as he recovers from his knee injury, but they're hoping he'll be full-go for the spring.
  • Day said both he and Urban Meyer called Joe Burrow to congratulate him for winning the national championship.
  • Day on the quarterback decisions Ohio State had to make: "Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins and Justin Fields – wow, what a good problem to have."
  • On his team's mentality coming off the Fiesta Bowl loss: “They're hungry.”
  • “When you go 13-1 and you win your conference championship, that's a hell of a season. I don't care where you are.” But Day acknowledged the Buckeyes didn't reach all of their goals. “That keeps us wanting more.”
  • On replacing the starters from last season who left: “The good news is a lot of our guys played” because of how many lopsided wins they had in which they were able to put their backups in the game.
  • Day said he has “moved on from the anger part of it” after saying he was angry after the Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson.
  • On the mistakes the Buckeyes made that cost them the game: “When you're playing in a big game, the margin of error's tiny, and that's what happens.”
  • Day on whether signing another running back in the 2020 recruiting class is a goal: "The numbers are pretty tight right now so probably not, but we'll see how things go."
  • On what he's looking for this spring: "We want to find out who our new leaders are gonna be. We lost some big leaders to the draft and graduation."
  • Day said it is important to have a quarterbacks coach who can be in that room all the time even though he also works with the quarterbacks himself.
  • Day said he has had conversations with offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson about sharing play-calling duties next season. "We're going to continue those conversations as we go through the spring." Day said Wilson and I have worked together since they both arrived at Ohio State in 2017, and he trusts Wilson, but they have to figure out what the flow between them is going to be.
  • Day said he spent less time working with the quarterbacks during the year last season than he thought he would. During games, he worked with them closely, but Mike Yurcich handled most of the meetings.
  • Day on the importance of maintaining continuity in the quarterbacks room by promoting Corey Dennis: “I think when you're dealing with a quarterback, for me, it has to be done the way we've done it here.”
  • Day said there were some conversations at the AFCA Convention this week about making adjustments to the targeting rule. Specifically, Day said he doesn't think it's right that players who are ejected from the game have to make the “walk of shame” back to the locker room.
  • Ohio State is going to move Shaun Wade to outside cornerback this year, and Day believes Wade can be a Jim Thorpe Award finalist just like Jeff Okudah was this past season.
  • On the loss to Clemson: “We're not going to just flush this ... it's going to stay fresh in our minds.” How much does he still think about the loss? "As opposed to every second, every other second."
  • On Mike Yurcich: “I thought Mike did a great job. If you look at the way Justin developed during the season, he did a really good job.” He said Yurcich was in line with his way of coaching quarterbacks and brought really good ideas to the table. “The frustrating thing is he was here for only one year.” Day wanted Yurcich to stay at Ohio State, but said Yurcich couldn't pass up the money he was offered by Texas.
  • Day said Ohio State brought CJ Stroud and Jack Miller in to compete for the backup quarterback job right away, so they'll have that opportunity. “That room will be stronger than it was last year.”
  • Day said he thinks it's cool that Cardale Jones, Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett are also still friends to this day, and he wants to have the same kind of chemistry in Ohio State's current quarterbacks room.
  • On Fields' knee injury: “It wasn't something that was catastrophic, but at the same time, he wasn't 100 percent.” He said there were times that Fields, but “he's tough, he competed through it, he played hard.” Day said Fields “didn't practice much at all” leading up to the Big Ten Championship Game. Day wouldn't answer whether Justin Fields had a procedure on his knee following the season, but said the Buckeyes don't expect any lingering issues going forward.
  • Day said he thought Fields played well against Clemson and he was proud of the way Fields played in that game. Now, the goal is to keep getting better. Day said it's exciting to have Fields back, referencing the fact that Fields is the first returning starting quarterback he has had in eight years as a head coach or quarterbacks coach.
  • On Chris Olave's route-running mistake in the Fiesta Bowl: “I'm not sure he ate solid food for three or four days after that game. He was crushed ... but nobody cares more than Chris. He's hungry, and I think he's gonna be a leader in that room.”
  • Day said they'll rank the top six wide receivers, and whoever those top six are will be in the rotation. They're willing to put certain players in the slot who have most often played on the outside, he says. “We're going to look at that here as we move into the spring.”
  • Day said Master Teague has the ability to be a feature running back; now, he's got to continue building confidence.
  • Would you promote a quality control coach to a full-time position other than quarterbacks? “Yes. If it was right.” Acknowledged he was more comfortable promoting Dennis because of his own expertise coaching quarterbacks.
  • Day said he doesn't think promoting Corey Dennis is a risk because he knows what Dennis is capable of, and he expects Dennis to be at Ohio State “for the long haul.” He said Dennis was the guy he wanted, so he didn't really look at other options.
  • Day wouldn't confirm whether Kerry Coombs will be Ohio State's next secondary coach. “We haven't hired anybody yet, and still going through it all.”
  • On watching Monday night's national championship game: “It was hard to watch. I'm not gonna lie.” Said he asked the entire team to watch the game because he wanted them to think about how badly they wanted to be there going into next season.
  • How would Ohio State would have fared against LSU? “It would have been fun,” but he didn't want to answer directly. “That's why you play the games.”
  • On replacing three starters in the secondary: “That's going to be hard. That's a huge position right there, where we're gonna have to get guys ready to play.”
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