Presser Bullets: Ryan Day, Justin Fields Update Ohio State's Preparation for Season, Discuss Freshman Quarterbacks, Vegan Diet

By Colin Hass-Hill on October 2, 2020 at 12:44 pm

Preseason camp has just begun in Columbus, so Ohio State's head coach and star quarterback made some time to offer updates on their progress.

Ryan Day and Justin Fields spoke extensively on Friday about a wide-ranging list of topics, including Fields' vegan diet, the freshman quarterbacks, president Kristina Johnson, COVID-19 testing and more.

A bullet-point rundown of their comments, with video of Day above and Fields below:

Ryan Day

  • Day notes the importance of working on tackling and physicality now that pads are on. "It's not even a daily conversation. It's an hourly conversation that we're having with our staff." He says, "the only way to get ready to play football is to play football." They're looking for creative ways to prepare themselves.
  • How the running backs will be used: "We'll see. We have more depth there than we've had in a long time." He says they feel good about five running backs, and they plan to play depth. He mentions Steele Chambers, Demario McCall and Xavier Johnson.
  • Day says "things have come easy" for Justin Fields at times. Now, he sees Fields asking the right and hard questions while also holding people accountable. "His leadership's been excellent."
  • He says Dawand Jones has been getting moved around on the offensive line.
  • "You try to do everything you can to make sure Justin's ready to go. That's the main priority." Then the rest of the quarterbacks get their work in.
  • Day says he doesn't think they'll go live with freshman quarterbacks before the season starting, but he doesn't rule it out.
  • On Pete Werner moving to Will: "I think it's a great position for him." He says he thinks Werner can have "a better impact" as a Will than a Sam, though he notes things can change.
  • Day on the scholarship limit going forward with everybody getting extra years of eligibility: "I don't see us being over 85 even next fall."
  • On the defensive flexibility this season: "We're going to try to figure out what best fits the guys." He says the key to being a college coach is being able to adapt to fit your personnel.
  • "It's very, very difficult to make sacrifices. Some of us are not sleeping in our homes."
  • Day says it's been "very, very difficult" for the coaches to make sacrifices, especially for those who have young children. "Some of us are not sleeping in our homes."
  • He says the team that deals with playing during COVID-19 will do the best. He compares it to playing when it's raining considering both teams are dealing with similar obstacles. 
  • Day says they're talking daily about NFL and college teams that have and haven't had success.
  • On if he'll get in trouble for wearing a blue mask: "That's not an option."
  • Day on getting young players ready: “Once you put the pads on, it's no longer 7-on-7 or Rivals football camp.”
  • Day says both Josh Proctor and Marcus Hooker bring "an interesting skillset" and says they'll both be on the field together a fair bit. 
  • He says president Kristina Johnson has "been excellent," including with communication. He and Gene Smith, along with several other fall coaches, had a socially distant dinner with her last week at her house. He says they have alignment between the head coach, athletic director and president.
  • Day says having school-aged children going to school are an exposure risk, which the coaches have talked about. "It isn't easy." He says it's a "challenge for all of us" and everybody's doing things differently. "It's a major challenge."
  • Day says he wears a mask in his house to prevent testing positive for COVID-19.
  • He says they feel extremely safe in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center because everybody's testing daily. Day emphasizes that they "can't get tired of it" because if they do, they'll put themselves at risk of testing positive.
  • "All positions are up right now. I know you'll laugh at me and say, 'Justin Fields.'" 
  • Bringing your own energy has been a focus for this team, he says. They'll have a practice at Ohio Stadium on Saturday to help acclimate.
  • Day confirms they're practicing at Ohio Stadium more than they have at the past. He says he saw a Bill Belichick interview where he was asked if he had experienced games like these with no fans before, and the response was: "Yeah, practice." 

Justin Fields

  • Fields says he and Day worked through the "knowledge of the game" in the offseason. 
  • He says whether the Fiesta Bowl interception happened or not, they'd be working the same amount.
  • Fields on if he would like to get hit in practice before the season starts: "Not really. Last year, I didn't get hit before the season. So I think I'll be fine. I don't really plan to get hit that much."
  • Fields on freshman quarterbacks C.J. Stroud and Jack Miller: “I think those guys are really hard workers. They're smart. And they really just want to get better.” He says they're both fast learners who can sling the ball.
  • He says he doesn't eat meat, dairy or fish right now. It's a typical vegan diet. He started the diet as a "cleanse" with his dad for 28 days, but he "feels faster and stronger" after doing it for more than a month. 
  • The freshman wide receivers have developed most in their chemistry with Fields.
  • Fields says Mickey Marotti and the team's nutritionist was "skeptical" about the vegan diet, but he has proved he "can perform" even better than before, which changed their mind.
  • He says he doesn't have a lot more to learn about the freshman wideouts since they've been working together for a while now.
  • On why he's more vocal: "I think it comes from a year of experience." More so than last year, Fields is asking why a certain play is being called at a certain time in a game.
  • On Ohio State's nutritionists helping him with his diet: "I really don't know if I'd be able to stick with it if I didn't have them." He has breakfast and get s meal from them before practice then have vegan options for him to take home for dinner. 
  • Teradja Mitchell just started a vegan diet this week.
  • Since players' bodies work differently, he's not basing his diet on Cam Newton, Tom Brady or anyone else.
  • On his vegan diet: "I feel like I'll be doing this rest of my career because I feel good."
  • Fields says Ryan Day has constantly reminded players to stay socially distant and to take the virus seriously. "It's a small sacrifice for a big reward."
  • He says he had a private conversation with Day about not overthinking. Day has had players overthink in the past, and, Fields says, his "No. 1 thing is don't overthink" and to play your game.
  • Fields says Garrett Wilson "can do everything" and having him in the slot "opens up our offense more."
  • He says before games last year, he didn't get hyped since he's an even-keeled guy. He listened to slower-paced music since quarterback's more of a mind game.
  • Fields said he probably annoyed Wyatt Davis with his pitches to Davis to come back to Ohio State: “I think a quarterback is only as good as his O-line.”
  • Fields: “I haven't ever prepared for a season like I have this past offseason.”
  • "My personal motivation is just to win games." 
  • "Going into last year, I had no idea I was going to be a Heisman finalist."
  • Fields says he "most definitely" thinks he has the potential to be the best player in college football.
  • He says he doesn't crave steak or meat since he watched some movies about veganism.
  • Fields, who's doing a vegan diet now, says he mainly misses chicken tenders and mac-n-cheese. "I wasn't really a fancy guy."
  • Jameson Williams and Trey Sermon have stood out to Fields so far. He says Sermon has picked up the offense quickly.
  • Fields says he listens to Summer Walker, Bryson Tiller and Drake before games. "I'm more of a chill and laid-back guy in terms of what I listen to."
View 36 Comments