With four days to go until Ohio State's long-awaited season opener against Nebraska, Ryan Day held his first game-week press conference of the season on Tuesday.
Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa also joined the press conference to discuss how his unit is stacking up entering the season.
A bullet-point recap of what each of them had to say:
- Day said he believes Ohio Stadium will actually be louder between plays because the crowd noise audio will be constant, whereas typically the crowd quiets down between plays.
- On the running backs: “We probably have more depth there than we've ever had, which is great because we're going to need it more than ever.”
- Day said he got to know Nebraska coach Scott Frost when Frost coached for Chip Kelly at Oregon. “I've always had a lot of respect for Scott.” Said they had “a lot of conversations” over the summer when both of their schools were fighting for a fall season.
- Day said the Buckeyes have another padded practice today, which will be Ohio State's 39th preseason practice.
- Day said Ohio State was always expecting Master Teague to recover quickly enough from his Achilles injury to play this season. Day says they expected Master Teague to sit out the opener versus Bowling Green and debut against Oregon in Week 2. Instead, given the adjusted schedule, he'll be ready for the first game Saturday. “Really excited for him that he's going to be able to play a strong season ... He's a huge part of our offense right now.”
- Day said he believes the Buckeyes have been able to build up their defensive tackle depth during the preseason.
- It “would be premature” to say Ohio State in dealing with COVID-19 so far because an outbreak can happen at any time. Says the Buckeyes talk about it every single day because it's so important that they remain vigilant. He knows the players might get tired of hearing about it, but it only takes them slipping up one time to put themselves and their team at risk.
- Nebraska quarterbacks Adrian Martinez and Luke McCaffrey are “both really good football players,” said Day, who recruited both of them.
- On Nebraska's efforts to save the fall football season: “I think we shared a lot of the same views on things, and a lot of it was how do we find a way to safely have a season.”
- On preparing for a Big Ten game without any film from this year: “It's one of those things where you have to adapt in-game, and that's why you practice so much, so you have contingency plans.”
- Day said any player who is found to have myocarditis will be out for six weeks. Players also have to start being tested again for COVID-19 90 days after a positive test, so “Who's to say they won't get it again?” So Day doesn't think there's any benefit to players having already had COVID-19 before the season.
- One of the most exciting parts about playing this week is finally getting to see where they're at as a team against real competition, but “we've seen some great things over the last couple weeks that we're excited about.”
- Day on Ohio State's defense: “I like the physicality, the seriousness, the leadership on that side of the ball.” He mentions that younger guys have to step up to replace some of the outgoing NFL players.
- Day on Ohio State's linebackers: "I would say right now that's probably the strength of the defense."
- Day said there's “no conversation” about competing for a national championship right now. Buckeyes need to focus on beating Nebraska and getting to 1-0. If they start thinking too far ahead, they'll be vulnerable to getting upset.
- On getting to play this fall and have a chance to compete for a national title: “I can't tell you how excited the players were to get that opportunity ... That was very, very important in this whole process. Guys come here to play for championships. That was a big deal for us.”
- Day said the Buckeyes haven't decided yet who their No. 2 quarterback will be. They'll probably make that decision on Friday night.
- On the development of the secondary: “Very impressed the last couple weeks the way things have gone.”
- Everyone getting an extra year of eligibility and not having to make redshirt decisions this year is “one less thing to worry about,” Day said.
- Day said he feels “decent“ about Ohio State's depth as a team right now, but he'll have a better idea after the Buckeyes actually play a game on Saturday.
- Day said Nebraska has “one of the greatest traditions in college football.” Cornhuskers have had a lot of great players, and Scott Frost was one of them.
- Harry Miller's “done a really good right from the jump” both at center last year and now at left guard this year. “Everybody's still a work in progress, we're still getting there, but he's done a great job over the last year.”
- Day doesn't expect sloppy play to start the season. “My expectation is the level of play is strong. That's why we've been practicing.” Said the Buckeyes have emphasized playing clean football and not turning the ball over.
- Day said it's beneficial to spend more time at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center rather than at a hotel before the game because of all the resources the Buckeyes have there. “There's certain aspects that will actually be more efficient.”
- Nicholas Petit-Frere will be the starter at right tackle to begin the season, Day said, but Paris Johnson Jr. and Dawand Jones are also “going to play one way or another,” too.
- On Petit-Frere: “He's done a great job during this pandemic ... He has really changed his body. He's bigger, he's stronger, he's 315 pounds ... his offseason development has really pushed him to the top of that position.” Studrawa said Petit-Frere's mother played a big part in helping him gain weight by feeding him when he was back home during their months away from campus. He said she was “fired up” when the Buckeyes were finally allowed to return to campus because of how much money she was spending on groceries.
- Studrawa said Miller's numbers in the weight room after the Buckeyes came back from their time away from campus “blew the numbers away” from before the pandemic started. “His development during this time was just critical,” Studrawa said, in him winning the left guard job.
- Thayer Munford's leadership “has really developed tremendously” this offseason, and he's been providing leadership for the offensive line along with captains Josh Myers and Wyatt Davis.
- On Nebraska's defensive front seven: “They're big, strong guys ... It's going to be a test for us to be able to move them off the ball ... we've got to come off low pad level, be physical against a group like this.”
- Greg Studrawa said his second-team offensive line currently consists of Paris Johnson Jr. and Dawand Jones at tackle, Matthew Jones and Enokk Vimahi at guard and Luke Wypler at center. Because of COVID-19, Studrawa said he has tried to develop the backup offensive linemen as if they're starters, knowing they could be needed to play at any time.
- Studrawa said it's “been a real blessing” not to have to worry about the four-game limit for redshirts this season and to be able to get the freshman offensive linemen more playing time than they might get under normal circumstances.
- Studrawa said Ohio State got feedback on what NFL scouts thought were Wyatt Davis, Josh Myers and Thayer Munford's strengths and weaknesses, and he's worked with them specifically on improving those weaknesses this summer.
- Munford is currently 318 pounds and “in the best shape of his life,” Studrawa said. “There's nothing holding him back now. He's not worried about what's going to happen with his back or anything” after missing time with injuries last year.
- On Dawand Jones: “The physical tools he has are unbelievable.” Studrawa said they're still trying to get Jones' weight to where it needs to be, but he's done a great job practicing at guard when Ohio State has asked him to practice there.
- On his reaction when Wyatt Davis announced his return to Ohio State: “There might have been a hallelujah in there.”
- “I was so proud of the guys last year because I thought that was one of the best lines in the country. I think these guys can be better ... The potential for this group to be a great offensive line is right there. Now they gotta go out and do what last year's group did.”