Ryan Day Says Pat Fitzgerald and Tom Allen Both Worthy of Big Ten Coach of the Year, Talks Northwestern on Buckeye Roundtable

By Dan Hope on December 14, 2020 at 7:04 pm
Ryan Day and Pat Fitzgerald
David Banks – USA TODAY Sports

After Pat Fitzgerald said Sunday night that Ryan Day got his vote for Big Ten Coach of the Year while praising Day for his work both on the field this season and in fighting to save the Big Ten's football season, Day offered his own praise of Fitzgerald on Monday night.

During his appearance on the Ohio State IMG Sports Network's final Buckeye Roundtable show of the season, Day said he was humbled by Fitzgerald's comments and that he thinks either Fitzgerald or Indiana coach Tom Allen would be worthy of this year's Big Ten Coach of the Year award, which is set to be announced Thursday.

“I can't say enough about Pat Fitzgerald, just the class that he brings,” Day said. “He's somebody, really, that I think the Big Ten can really be proud of. And for him to say that, that's pretty humbling. I've watched and had a lot of respect for him for a long, long time, so yeah, that means a lot.

“I would say Fitz should certainly get recognition for Coach of the Year. What he's done this year is pretty tremendous. I think Tom Allen also deserves some credit, recognition for what he's done this season. I think both of those guys have done an excellent job this year in a tough spot.”

Day also talked about how the Buckeyes’ preparation for this week's game against Northwestern is going so far and how he and the team handled having a game canceled for the third time this season when Michigan decided not to make the trip to Columbus this past weekend.

While Monday night wasn't Day's first time commenting on the upcoming matchup with Northwestern, as he also held a press conference on Sunday, here's a quick roundup of what else he had to say:

  • Day said it's a good thing that the Buckeyes are fresh and healthy, but it's hard that they've missed out on hundreds of game reps that they would have typically had at this time of the year. He's trying not to dwell on that, though, recognizing that everyone has had to deal with unusual challenges this season.
  • Day described Ohio State's seniors as “a special group.” He said it was great to hear their stories during the team's Senior Tackle last week. “That was the best hour-and-a-half, two hours that I've had in a long time, listening to these guys during Senior Tackle.” They have a chance to win their fourth straight Big Ten championship this week.
  • Day said Northwestern's defense is “pretty consistent in their looks, but they have different changeups that they have.” He said they've watched Northwestern film from both of the last two seasons since there were less games to watch from this year.
  • Day said he thinks the Buckeyes think they “have a pretty good feel” for who Northwestern quarterback Peyton Ramsey is as a player, having also played against him when he was at Indiana. “We know how good of a quarterback he is. Really talented player. Manages the game really, really well. Gives that side of the ball a lot of confidence, and he's a good leader.”
  • Day said it helped the Buckeyes move forward from the Michigan game being canceled that they quickly knew they would be playing Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game and could turn their attention toward their next target. He said he would have been worried about how the team would handle that situation a couple months ago, but he thinks they're used to dealing with the disappointments now.
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