A month before the Buckeyes kick off their football season, Ryan Day is getting his team ready, now with an opponent in mind.
During his weekly radio show on 97.1 The Fan, Day spoke about Ohio State's preparation for the upcoming season and how it differs from previous years, addressed some ongoing position battles, and gave an early look at the season-opening matchup with Nebraska.
Day was also joined by offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson for the final portion of the show.
Here are some of the highlights of what the had to say.
On watching college football last weekend
- Day said it was much easier to watch other teams play this weekend knowing his season is back
- "It was nice to know that we're actually playing again, but I actually watched less."
- Day said he actually watched less because he was watching film instead.
- "It was a much better weekend."
On preparation for the season
- "We're only going to have three weeks in pads."
- Day notes that since the players are in school, they don't have all day with them, you can't have walkthroughs.
- "It's just very, very different."
- "Until next Wednesday, we still can't put the pads on."
- "It's been a challenge to play football when we only have helmets on."
- Day notes it's good to have veterans on both sides of the ball in this case.
On position battles
- Day mentions the secondary is fun to watch with young guys who will challenge the veterans.
- "I think it's really important for our team that our defensive line is strong this season," noting that there are some new guys who could step up.
- Day mentions there is more depth at the running back room this year.
- On the young receivers: "We'll see when the pads get on, but there's a lot of talent there."
On Wyatt Davis and Shaun Wade's leadership
- "They're both captains, both been on the field, and both a lot of respect."
- "It really helps to have that leadership."
- Day said the leadership on this team is "some of the best leadership I've ever been around."
- "I think that's going to pay dividends for us because it's such a unique season for us."
On replacing Chase Young
- "It's different when you're the guy," Day said of the other defensive tackles
- "Everyone knew where Chase was on the field, but he still got after it."
- Day said a lot of these guys have started and played, but they haven't been the guy the offense keys on.
On the offensive line
- Day mentions that Nicholas Petit-Frere has the most experience, and says he had trouble gaining weight last season but is now at the weight he needs to be.
- "Dawand (Jones), I think he's had a great offseason."
- "Paris, for a young guy, is very mature and very serious about his work."
- "Different guys are going to paly, and it's certainly a great competition."
On running back depth
- "We run enough plays on offense with the no-huddle that we're going to get in the 75 range, sometimes north of 80."
- Day said there isn't a running back in the country that doesn't want depth in the room with him to share the load.
- "Shoot, we might have two running backs in the game at once if it's the best thing for our team."
On Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez
- Day notes that he recruited him here at Ohio State.
- "Great respect for Adrian as a person and as a player."
- "He runs the offense incredibly well."
- Day notes that he's one of the most veteran players in the conference. "When you have somebody who's played as many snaps as he had in this conference..."
- Day calls him "One of the better quarterbacks in the conference."
On the H-back position
- "The H can do a lot of different things."
- Day said it can b a second tight end, second running back, a third wide receiver, or a hybrid.
- "If you have certain personnel, you want to utilize those guys."
- Day said they use that position to give teams unexpected looks.
On running tempo on offense
- Day said they like to go tempo, but it's not always ideal all the time.
- "When we go fast, we're not changing the play. The risk of that is you're not changing the looks."
- Day said if you run into a bad look, you can set the drive back.
On defending tempo, like Nebraska
- "You have to get lined up. That's one of the things you count on as a tempo team is that they're not going to be lined up properly."
- Day said the good news is that Ohio State's defense plays against tempo every day in practice.
- "You can't go tempo if you go 3-and-out."
- Day said that first first-down is critical to stopping a tempo team.
On Haskell Garrett's recovery
- "He's doing well, all things considered."
- Day said it was a tough and scary moment for everybody.
- "We're happy to say he's doing well and he's on the road to recovery."
On the defensive tackles
- Day mentions Antwuan Jackson and Tommy Togiai have to step up, as veterans.
- They're going to have to step up.
- Day is not ruling out Haskell Garrett returning "We think we're going to get him back, too. So that will be huge."
On having no crowd for games
- Day said they're going to do some practices in the 'Shoe with no crowd to get a feel for it.
- "We're just going to try to make that our new norm."
- Day said it's not that much different than practice, but it will feel very different for a game day.
On the special teams
- "That's a group, you don't think about them too much until things go south."
- "We've got some good veteran guys there."
- Day said there's a competition at long snapper between Bradley Robinson and Roen McCullough.
- "We'll miss Liam (McCullough). Liam was solid for us and took his job very, very seriously."
Where do you find improvement when the offense was so good?
- It's one thing to improve and look at the stat numbers, but you really have to go back and restart.
- Wilson said they have to come back and now play as a group.
- "We have a chance to be maybe as individually talented as we've been."
- Wilson said now they have to learn to play well as a group, as "collective talent."
On offseason practices
- "We've probably run more plays than we ever would have run preseason."
- Wilson said that really helped the young players because they got to play more reps than they ever would have gotten to play in any other circumstance.
- "Even though we lost some things, we got 'player practices.'"
- "We've probably got more offense in this offseason than we've ever had."
On Chris Olave
- "He has a tremendous knack for tracking deep balls."
- Wilson said he's seen him flash as a great player, but now he has a chance to finish it as a great Ohio State career.
- "It's exciting when you see your best players become your best practice players."
On Justin Fields
- "As good as he was, as good as his stats were," Ohio State leaned on the run early last season. He said now, Fields will be the focal point from day one.
- "He's the most athletic quarterback I've ever seen."