Teleconference Bullets: Ryan Day Talks Trey Sermon's Transfer, Possibly Playing Games Without Fans, NFL Draft Prospects

By Colin Hass-Hill on April 15, 2020 at 11:54 am
Ryan Day

In a normal year, we'd be reviewing Ohio State's spring practice and what just happened in the spring game right now.

But this isn't normal.

Instead, Ryan Day spent 45 minutes on a teleconference on Wednesday discussing how his team is preparing for the 2020 season while away from campus, having missed the vast majority of spring practice. 

Here's a bullet-point rundown of what Day said:

  • On what the NFL draft process relying on virtual communication means to Ohio State: "It's been a higher rate of calls for coach Mick, myself, the assistant coaches." 
  • Day on fielding calls from NFL teams about Joe Burrow: "Certainly when people ask about our guys, they bring up Joe." He says not all teams are asking about him, but a few are. He continues: "Obviously nothing but the highest praise for him, his work ethic, his ability to play."
  • Why Ohio State added Trey Sermon: "Master (Teague) getting hurt here in the spring put us behind the eight ball a little bit in terms of depth and Marcus (Crowley) coming off the ACL." He says Ohio State saw what Sermon could do when it played against him and Oklahoma in 2017. People the coaches have talked to, Day says, have said he's impressive off the field as well. "We have been very, very impressed with our conversations with him."
  • He says now more than ever "this transfer thing is kind of the way this transfer thing is going." 
  • Day says everything about Sermon came back "really positive," so they felt "really good" about adding him.
  • On how Justin Fields missing spring camp affects him: "I don't think that that spring practice is going to set Justin too far back." He says preseason camp will help, and starting last season was "most important."
  • He thinks the backup quarterbacks were more affected by not having spring camp: "I think that's really where we were looking to come out of the spring with a lot of reps under their belt.
  • Day says you think you're going to have free time "but it really isn't that free" because there are a lot of phone calls. It's also less efficient to work, he says, than if everybody was in the same building.
  • On coming up with plays: "Not having a spring is hard. It's one thing to come up with plays. It's another thing to have them learn them."
  • Day says he doesn't see any problem with an early signing date because the players have the choice of whether to sign in December or later. "I'm in favor of just keeping it the way it is."
  • On returning to play: "I think we'll come up with a great solution if we put our minds to it." Day said there are still too many unknowns and it's still too early to make any changes, but he thinks they need to have regular conversations about possible models if the schedule needs to be changed.
  • On Chase Young: "I think he and Jeff both are very, very high-end players who will play in the NFL for a long time." He says they're "both can't miss guys."
  • On working with the team right now: "It's a lot. It's a lot of calls. It's a lot of listening. I think it's going well. I think we're handling it well." He says the organizations that can adapt the best will come out of it the strongest.
  • The NCAA has not yet ruled on a sixth year for C.J. Saunders. "Certainly we would love to have him back."
  • Day says the increase of transfers has forced the staff to continue to communicate better. "I think you have to be really, really honest in recruiting." 
  • On coaches taking pay cuts: "In times like this we certainly have to think about others." He also mentions the donation that he, Gene Smith and Chris Holtmann made to the Foodbank, saying he'll continue to support in that way.
  • Asked about this COVID-19 situation leading to the CFP getting expanded sooner than later: "I think anything's worth considering. I just think until we know this season what we're dealing with, I think it's hard to make any decisions."
  • Day says the Big Ten asked the coaches to keep the majority of conversations to themselves. He says, though, that the six-week window of when a team returns to play is a starting point. With that, Day says, models can be created of when games can possibly begin.
  • He says some people think football teams need four weeks and other think eight weeks are needed to practice before games begin. Six weeks, he says, is "kind of the starting point."
  • On offensive linemen staying ready: "It's hard. The first thing they have to do is keep their weight up." He says some have to gain weight and some have to lose weight, so their eating habits are "critical." Lifting weights and keeping cardio up are also important aspects, though everybody's in different circumstances, he says.
  • On the injured players who are rehabbing: "We're monitoring them biweekly." He says those remaining on campus can use the Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute.
  • How Jeff Okudah became this level of NFL prospect: "I think a lot of guys make that leap in year two to three." He says he and Jeff Hafley also "hit it off."
  • On J.K. Dobbins: "I think his future will be really strong because he does a lot of things." He says he's hearing that Dobbins has a chance to be the first running back selected.
  • On possibly playing a shortened season. "Any football's better than no football." He says Ohio State will "do whatever we need to do." 
  • Day says he'll lean on the experts and doctors to "give us some guidelines" about when they can return to play. "We're ready for a new norm."
  • He says he thinks having to do everything virtually will lead to more reliance on teleconferences and phone calls in recruiting moving forward even when things get back to normal. He also says the team wants to get back together: "We just miss each other. Can’t wait to get back together."
  • Day says he thinks it's difficult to implement too much with the defense when everybody's away from each other. He says he believes it's difficult to learn too much without repping it in person.
  • On Sermon: "He can do a lot of things."
  • On playing games without fans in the stands: "My thought process is this is we need to look at all options." He says it's worth talking about and exploring.
  • On what it'd be like to play without any fans in attendance: "I think it would be eerie, for sure, just thinking about it and talking about it right now."
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