Teleconference Bullets: Ryan Day Discusses Coaching Ohio State From Afar, Workouts From Home, Communication With Players

By Colin Hass-Hill on March 25, 2020 at 1:57 pm
Ryan Day
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Ohio State's spring camp lasted all of three practices.

Concerns about COVID-19 shuttered spring practice. And though it's only been officially postponed until April 6 as of now, it would be a surprise if the remaining spring practices aren't canceled. For the first time since the day spring camp opened, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day took time to speak with reporters on a conference call on Wednesday afternoon.

Here's a bullet-point rundown of Day's comments.

  • He calls it a "very strange and unique time." Says he offers thoughts and prayers to everybody affected by this situation. He also says Mike DeWine and Ohio State's administrators have done a great job staying as far ahead of the situation as possible.
  • All organized team activities have been "shut down," Day says, so everything is happening away from the football facility.
  • He says the players have generally done a good job staying in communication with the staff.
  • "We're kind of taking it one day at a time. We don't know what the future brings."
  • He says he tells the staff the most important thing is to stay healthy.
  • "I think recruiting is sped up." 
  • Day said he is not allowed to comment on Trey Sermon because at this point, he's still a recruit and the NCAA has stopped players from even signing financial aid agreements at this time.
  • "This week obviously the first concern was academics." He says some are using an application called Zoom and other classes are online. 
  • Day says workouts are on an "individual basis" because players are spread across the country. "A lot of times, those guys are really at their house" completing workouts.
  • On the impact on C.J. Stroud and Jack Miller not having spring practices: "For them, it's unfortunate because spring practice is so important for young quarterbacks." He says they have access to the film, and Corey Dennis will "give everything they need" to stay ahead as far as possible.
  • He says he's hopeful there are some pre-preseason camp workouts at some point this summer.
  • On the biggest issues: "I think it's hard to project what some of the major issues are going to be until we know how long we're in this."
  • He says accountability is "at an all-time high" in terms of players doing what they need to do. Says this is the ultimate test of character.
  • Day says the athletic training staff has set up arrangements to rehab back at their respective home. Those still in Columbus will rehab at the Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute.
  • He says there are still limits to the time coaches can spend with players. 
  • Mental health resources are still available to both players and staff, Day said.
  • Day says since players are each in a "unique situation," players are working out with the equipment they have.
  • He says he has already talked to Big Ten coaches about their thoughts on potentially having some sort of workouts before preseason camp begins. He also says it's a bit of an unfair advantage for some programs having completed more spring practices than others.
  • On the possibility of having pre-preseason camp workouts: "It's hard to come up with a model until we know exactly what we're dealing with."
  • Ohio State has two conference calls per week, and they go through academics, workouts and football about each player. Day says he sends out messages to the "leadership committee," which includes more than 20 players.
  • In the morning, Day watches film (spring cut-ups, upcoming opponent, NFL film) then gets into recruiting. He says he also evaluates film, saying this is a prime chance for the coaches to dive into. He communicates with his coaches and administrators throughout the day. He estimated he talks with Mickey Marotti at least twice a day.
  • A few players, some due to injury, remain living in the dorms after filing waivers. Sports information director Jerry Emig says that's a university policy.
  • He says it's "disappointing" the 14 early enrollees couldn't go through spring camp together.
  • On working from home: "It helps when the sun's out." He says they're "trying to make a positive out of a negative" as a staff.
  • On the possibility of the football season getting delayed or canceled: "I don't know. I really don't. For me to comment on it, I would just be ignorant to what's real and what isn't." He says it's "kind of wasting energy" to get that far ahead.
  • Day says Master Teague is staying in Columbus to rehab, and Tony Alford is staying in contact with him. "He's going to do the best he can to get back as fast as possible." He calls him a "genetic freak." 
  • He says no one in the football program has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Day says he had never used his office at his house before now.
  • Everybody in Day's family works out together around noon. "But you're always on call." He says he can't count how many times he sits down to do something as a family then has to get pulled away.
  • He again harps on the importance of accountability. Says that if players say they're going to do something the don't do it, "then we have an awful team." 
  • Day says he hopes everybody comes back close to the shape they were in when they left. "The smaller that gap is, the better we're going to be."
  • He says what's expected of players is different for each of them.
  • On his players: "They're doing well." He says they're more used to online classes.
  • "This generation more than ever has gotten more feedback and is used to that feedback." Says it's important to have constant communication with players.
  • Day says he's gotten into using his crock pot. "I kind of like working the crock pot."
  • Ohio State is able to send food to certain players, and those in the dorms are able to have a stipend to buy food who can no longer eat at on-campus dining.
  • On whether he thinks about the possibility of not having a football season: "Not really. Just because I've done that in my past and it's a lot of waster stress that maybe isn't going to happen." 
  • He says the character of the players Ohio State is recruiting has to help 
  • Day says he binged Tiger King on Netflix with his wife in the last week: "That was very entertaining, to say the least."
  • He says the receiver position is probably the most inexperienced on the team. 
  • Day says he's working on cooking chili in the crock pot: "One was a good one. The other was a complete failure."
  • Not that long ago, Day says, players reported to preseason camp and got going. 
  • On Jack Miller and CJ Stroud: "I was very impressed with the way both of them came in and worked." He says those two and the freshman wideouts will be hurt most by not having spring camp.
  • On how many games a season would need to have at a minimum: I have not given that any thought, so I don't know."
  • Day says he doesn't think the recruiting calendar needs drastic changes, but there should be a few adjustments. 
  • "Most of the guys we've recruited have actually been on campus. They've seen it." He says FaceTiming and sending videos to recruits can help.
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