Presser Bullets: Ryan Day Provides Updates On Ohio State's Offseason, Explains Parker Fleming Hire

By Colin Hass-Hill on February 3, 2021 at 9:44 am

Ohio State doesn't have a lot going on this year for National Signing Day.

Even still, head coach Ryan Day joined the media on Wednesday morning to reflect on the 2021 recruiting class, discusses offseason workouts that began earlier this week and talk all things Buckeyes, including the program's decision to promote Matt Barnes and Parker Fleming. He spoke for about 35 minutes.

A bullet-point rundown of what Day said:

Ryan Day

  • Day says Matt Barnes is a "great young coach," so after talking with the rest of the defensive coaching staff, they made the decision to hire him as the secondary coach.
  • On his hiring philosophy: "Promoting from within is something I believe strongly in."
  • He says there was a point in the first six games that not having fans in Ohio Stadium "did have an affect on defense" since there wasn't the noise factor. Also, he saw the impact late in games that were essentially blowouts. On no fans: "I think it did have an affect on our players." ... "It was different. I thought our guys handled it well. Certainly we're looking forward to getting back to normal in the near future."
  • On first impressions of Fleming: "First off, he's very bright. He's really sharp. He'll step into our offensive meetings. He'll go into defense." He says people in the building view him as a "wealth of knowledge" when it comes to football." ... "Parker believes in what we do. He believes in our system."
  • On potentially hiring an analyst for the defensive side of the ball: "I think the big thing for us is it has to be the right fit culturally." He said he has “spent a lot of time thinking about” the possibility of hiring a consultant/analyst for the defensive coaching staff, but “the big thing for us is it has to be the right fit.”
  • How much Kerry Coombs still coaches the defensive backs: "He's still going to have as much influence as he did last year." There will be "a lot of back and forth" between Coombs and Barnes. "I think that's going to really help this year."
  • On holding a roster spot for a recruit who might not decide until April or May: "It's tricky, and it's tricky now because there's a lot of dynamics in play with the extra year of eligibility." ... "We'll always make sure we have something available for a great player."
  • On the national championship defensive issues and his response: "Do we overreact? No, I'm not going to do that. Not right now." Day says he likes Ohio State's coaching staff's ability to correct course.
  • If Fleming's hire was due to budgetary restrictions: "Every decision we make financially has to take the budget, COVID and the athletic department into account. It's been a strain on everybody. I don't think this decision was made with any of those constraints in mind, however."
  • He says Fleming was largely hired due to continuity and focus on improving the secondary.
  • Nobody will take over Greg Mattison's co-coordinator role, Day says. Kerry Coombs is now the sole defensive coordinator.
  • On the coaching hire and whether he thought about bringing in someone from the outside to bring new ideas: "There's plenty of ideas there. It's just a matter of, how do we implement it and how do we go about coaching it?" He says he would have made a move from the outside if he thought anybody had new that the guys in the building couldn't implement, but he doesn't believe that to be the case.
  • Day says he thought Ohio State needed more attention on the back end of the defense when it came to the new coaching hire.
  • On Barnes: "I think he's really good. I think he's really, really good."
  • He says the early enrollees had a "different experience coming on campus" because they had to quarantine for a week once they arrived.
  • On the 2021 class: "Really, really impressed with the quality of people in this class. First off, they are really tight." ... "The maturity of these guys is off the charts." ... "All the feedback we're getting from our people is these 15 guys have a chance to be special."
  • Which early enrollees impressed him with their physicality: "I will say I was very impressed with Marvin Harrison. He looked like a different person when he walked in the building." Said Harrison is about 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. He says he enjoyed watching Tyliek Williams move for the first time in person which showed his quickness at his size.
  • On the amount of defensive backs on the team: "I feel better going into this season than I did last season." The ideal number, he says, is to have 22 scholarship defensive backs on the team.
  • "The one guy I thought did step up was Lathan Ransom." ... "He has a chance to be a really good player." He says Ransom impressed him against Clemson.
  • On opportunities for the young players over the next few months: "Probably one of the biggest offseasons we've had in a while for these guys."
  • The quarterbacks: "It's going to be a good competition." He says generally at first, quarterbacks are adversarial with each other, and as time goes on, they become close.
  • What he wants to see from running backs in the spring: "You're looking for versatility, but you're looking for accountability. If you can't hold onto the football, you cannot play running back here at Ohio State." The other part, he says, is "hitting the home run." Also looking for vision and quick feet in the tailbacks, of course.
  • Day says Ohio State's hoping not to be broken up into small groups during the spring.
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