Ohio State got an unexpected week off after last week's game against Maryland was canceled due to COVID-19, but now the Buckeyes are set to battle No. 9 Indiana for Big Ten East supremacy.
Just two days ahead of the top-10 showdown, Day took to his final weekly media availabilities on Thursday afternoon, joining his weekly radio show on 97.1 The Fan and briefly meeting with the media to offer some final updates.
Day was also joined by quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis for the final portion of his radio show.
Here are some of the highlights.
Ryan Day Radio Show
On the game-week routine
- Day said they took Sunday off and practiced Monday.
- "It's been a good week of work and our guys are looking forward to playing this game."
On the backups getting extra practice reps this week
- Day said they tried to get younger guys reps after practice this week
- "Those guys need to learn from playing"
On the week off
- "I think that was one of the more positive things, we're fresh."
- Day said it's been a short season so there weren't too many injuries.
- "When you play three games, your guys do get banged up a little bit."
On the parents now being unable to attend the home games
- "There's certainly been a lot of disappointment over the last few months, and this is another one."
- Day mentioned it's hard on the families and the players.
- "We've got to be strong and help support these guys. Make sure we're strong for them."
- "It's been the most strange year in our country's history."
- Day mentions the health of the players is the No. 1 concern, but that does include mental health.
On the kickers
- Day says they want a "pair and a spare" at every position, and that's what they have at kicker.
- Day said it's good to have three guys "performing at a high level."
- "At any point, something could happen and you could find yourself on the field."
- Day calls Michael Penix "fearless," throwing it to receivers that are covered, but putting the ball where only they can get it.
- Day praised Indiana's receivers for being able to make catches in traffic.
- Day said on defense they create "a lot of confusion" that has led to turnovers.
- Day called that combination of offense and defense "complimentary" and makes Indiana dangerous.
On the Indiana offensive line
- "I think they've done a good job of protecting him and he gets it out of his hand quickly."
- "They do a good job of that, and we've got to do a good job of winning the line of scrimmage."
On Master Teague
- "He runs hard."
- Day notes they would like him to hit some bigger runs, but he's getting tough yards on each down.
- Day mentions that Teague is a bigger back who gets tough yards and turns "4 yards into 6."
On the defensive back depth
- "I think our young guys have had a good week of practice."
- Day specifically mentions Ryan Watts and Lejond Cavazos as younger players who've been looking better in practice.
On the recruiting dead period
- "We've done the best that we can to try to build relationships through virtual means."
- Day mentions that he thinks it's harder on the recruits and their families than it is on the coaches.
- Day notes that some players don't even get to play this year.
- "There's going to be players who fall through the cracks, there's going to be players that are overhyped."
- Day said they're going to try to find the players that fit their team and culture.
On the early signing period vs. the regular signing period
- "We're not able to go out to see them, so it doesn't really affect anything. Nothing's really going to change from the early signing period to the second signing period."
- "I would assume that almost all the recruits will sign early."
On Justin Fields
- "It's just kind of unbelievable the way he just goes out and attacks every single day."
- "How can you maximize the day and how can you go out and get better?"
- Dennis said there is a focus every single day.
On different defensive looks
- Dennis praises the "extremely veteran" offensive line's ability to recognize a defense
- Dennis said Justin Fields is experienced enough to be able to do that as well.
On developing chemistry between quarterbacks and receivers
- "The more reps you get with somebody, the more comfortable you will get with somebody."
- Day said the more opportunities to play together the better that chemistry will be.
On coaching with Ryan Day
- "Coach Day is the best quarterback coach in the country."
- Dennis mentions that Justin Fields, Dwayne Haskins, J.T. Barrett and Joe Burrow have all praised Day.
- "Early in my career, I just tried to be a sponge," Dennis said of learning from Day.
On the backup quarterbacks
- "It's definitely a challenge."
- "Throughout the week, the Ones take the majority of the reps."
- "Those guys just have to do a great job staying locked in during meetings."
- Dennis said the backups need to take mental reps during practice as well.
Thursday Press Conference
- On no longer having family in the stands: “It’s just one more thing that they’re just going to have to handle. It hasn’t been easy. There’s a lot of these things that have gone on the past few months – disappointment.” He says they’ll “have to bring their own energy.”
- Fewer fans than usual: “The stadium will be the same for both teams, but we’ve got to handle it better.”
- Day says the work ethic that Mickey Marotti starts in the offseason is important for this culture. They harp on competition and bringing in great people.
- He says the coaches have a “pretty good feel” about how Indiana attacks defenses. Gives Kerry Coombs his opinion on things but doesn’t do any mandates.
- Says having so many practices with so few games has been a challenge: “That’s real. We’re not going to hide from it.” Says, however, there have been many chances to get better. “You only have so many opportunities. That’s why you have to make them count.”
- On the adversity this year: “I think it’s going to really help them down the road.” Says there have been so many life lessons to pull from. “I believe that’s life.” Says it hasn’t been easy on the players’ mental health but believes they’ll be stronger coming out of it.
- Lejond Cavazos getting healthier. “It’ll just kind of be, how much can he help?”
- How good is Justin Fields as a runner? “I think he’s very good. I think he’s strong, he’s powerful.”
- Says Fields’ ability to move in the pocket has improved.
- On Nicholas Petit-Frere: “Nick’s been playing very well.” Says he’s “got to keep it going now. It’s only been three games.”
- Says he’s not sure if Blake Haubeil will be ready on Saturday. If not, Jake Seibert would be the kicker.
- If he thinks the lack of a crowd has led to a decreased home-field advantage: “I think it’s a real thing, if you believe the crowd has any effect on a game.”
- On when players get COVID-19 tested on game day: “I go for a run or a walk during that time.”