Zoom Press Conference Bullets: Ryan Day Discusses the Team’s First Official Practice, His Approach to Players Potentially Opting Out, Players Who Have Stood Out As Leaders

By Zack Carpenter on August 6, 2020 at 2:42 pm

For the first time since April, Ryan Day met with the media, doing so Thursday via a Zoom conference.

Day discussed Ohio State re-starting camp, his approach to players potentially opting out and much more.

Here is a rundown of what Day discussed throughout the press conference:

  • Day discussed his emotions of being out with his players and fellow coaches for the first time. He loved the energy of the staff and the players. “It was great to see our guys with so much energy getting to do what they love and forgetting about everything for an hour and a half. ... Great start but a long road ahead of us.”
  • On talking about the potential of not having a season with the team, Day said he and the team have had a ton of discussions about it. He said “we're not focused” on what news tomorrow might bring regarding the potential postponement or cancellation of the season: “We're really challenging each other to focus on the day and maximize the day.”
  • Day says that he talked to the team about players potentially opting out on Wednesday. If at the end of the day, if they or their family doesn't feel comfortable, that doesn't mean they won't be a part of the program.
  • “Guys on the team have shared their concerns and thoughts with me, but our hats are off” to the medical staff for working “around the clock” and are “doing a wonderful job” to put together the safest possible environment together for the team. He says that with everything changing on a daily basis, there is a need to constantly adapt.
  • Day says he is not aware of any Ohio State players who are involved in the Big Ten's “unity proposal,” but I believe they all should have a voice. “If you have any concerns, please bring them to me and to your position coach. ... I want to advocate for these guys because they deserve it.”
  • Day says he believes his players know that he “will go to bat for them” in regards to them using their voice.
  • He says he has no concerns that the quality of play might diminish this season under the circumstances.
  • Day says he's comfortable with Ohio State starting training camp, though he's "not yet" comfortable enough to begin playing games. Says there are details that need to be addressed.
  • Day said the first day of preseason camp was split-squad practices. He said there will be full-squad practices, though. Said the team will not be staying in the hotel for camp this year. Players are staying in their apartments.
  • Day says he has been constantly on the phone with the parents of his players, handling their questions and even took feedback from them on how to better handle communication between the coaching staff and the players' families during quarantine.
  • On why Justin Fields was named a captain heading into this third season: “He quickly made an impact on his teammates. ... There's a natural leadership, and he has his own way of leading.” 
  • Days says Fields showed a lot of “mental and physical toughness” down the stretch of the season to earn respect from his teammates.
  • Fields is “very determined” heading into the 2020 season and “you can just see the look in his eye.”
  • Day says the testing protocol is “the No. 1 thing” that will ensure a good practice. Says they are limiting the amount of contact they have, but that “it is a contact sport so at the end of the day there will be blocking and tackling.” 
  • Days says that they are consistently sanitizing pads and workout materials during practice.
  • Day: “We feel great about our training camp, where we're at with our testing and our protocols.” Said there's still a lot of answers they need before they play games, but the Big Ten is working really hard to figure out solutions.
  • Day says they got the schedule when everyone else did on Wednesday. He says both Ohio State and Illinois started practicing today and that it was a quick turnaround.
  • On the right tackle spot, Day says Nicholas Petit-Frere had a great offseason, and he said that he's also been impressed by what Paris Johnson Jr. has shown in a short amount of time.
  • Day said it's hard to evaluate offensive linemen until pads come on. Notes that Petit-Frere "really looks like a different person." He was listed at 310 pounds on the newly released roster.
  • Because there's been so much downtime, Day says the coaching staff has done a great job in coming up with creative ideas for plays and schemes to run.
  • Day says that once players put a helmet on, the coaching staff is not requiring them to wear a mask because of how difficult it can be to breathe while wearing one. Said some players have reported that it's hard for them to breathe when they're wearing masks. Day said Ohio State has been exploring the possibility of face shields on helmets.
  • Day on Ohio State's team leadership: “We probably could have had 11 or 12 captains.”
  • Day on Ohio State ranked No. 2 in the Coaches Poll: “It's an honor to be recognized by your peers, to have a great team, but at the end of the day, that doesn't really mean much.”
  • Day says Master Teague has done "an unbelievable job of rehabbing. He's been focused on it. He's been disciplined." Says he has amazed him every day to get where he's at right now.
  • Day says Trey Sermon has “really, really impressed” him and that his teammates have already embraced him. He says that Sermon is the same type of guy as Jonah Jackson who can fit right in after transferring. 
  • He says Steele Chambers had an "unbelievable offseason" and Miyan Williams has shown he can "learn quickly." Says Trey Sermon is "extremely talented." Day says the running back room "should be an asset" for Ohio State because of the depth.
  • Along with Shaun Wade, Day said Sevyn Banks and Marcus Williamson are among the defensive backs who have stepped up as leaders in Ohio State's secondary.
  • Day on Wade's leadership: “When Shaun talks, people listen.”
  • Day said “I don't have much of an opinion” on the fact that the Michigan-Ohio State game being moved to October because of the unprecedented nature of this season. 
  • Asked about the reported interaction between him and Jim Harbaugh: “I appreciate the question, but I'd rather not answer that right now.”
  • In regards to recruiting during the dead period, Day says that they've been fortunate that most of the players they are targeting have already been on campus. “I'm proud of our recruits and proud of our coaches” for how they've handled the situation.
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