Presser Bullets: Ryan Day Discusses C.J. Stroud Taking Lead in Quarterback Competition, Quinn Ewers’ Arrival at Ohio State

By Dan Hope on August 16, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Ohio State's first scrimmage is in the books, its third week of preseason camp is underway and Quinn Ewers is now officially a Buckeye.

Following the Buckeyes' 11th practice of preseason camp on Monday, Ryan Day met with the media for his third press conference of August to discuss the latest developments with the Buckeyes, including his takeaways from Saturday's scrimmage, how C.J. Stroud has emerged as the frontrunner to start at quarterback, the latest on Palaie Gaoteote and his first public comments on Quinn Ewers, who officially joined the team over the weekend and practiced for the first time on Monday after reclassifying into the class of 2021.

Some of the most important things that Day had to say:

  • Ryan Day says C.J. Stroud has started to separate from the pack at quarterback, though Ohio State is not officially naming him the starter yet.
  • On Quinn Ewers: “We're very, very excited to have him here.” Day said it's too early to say whether Ewers will see playing time this season.
  • Day said he likes what he's seen from Kyle McCord and Jack Miller's development, too, so they're also still competing for playing time.
  • On Palaie Gaoteote: “We're very optimistic that the NCAA will grant his waiver to allow him to play this season.” Ohio State is still waiting for an actual answer from the NCAA, but Day said Gaoteote was dealing with a difficult family situation with COVID-19 and has done everything Ohio State has asked him to do.
  • Day thinks Ohio State has done a really good job communicating with the quarterbacks about where they stand in the competition, but that they understand no final decisions have been made yet.
  • He said 15-20 players graded out as champions after Saturday's scrimmage.
  • Day said he has not yet had any Holy Kombucha, the beverage endorsed by Ewers.
  • Day said Stroud is starting to take a little bit more of the first-team reps at quarterback, but that the Buckeyes are still going to spread the reps around this week.
  • Ohio State still wants to rotate at receiver even with Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, Day said. If other receivers are game-ready, they'll play.
  • On Dawand Jones: “I think when Dawand's played right tackle, he's done really well.“ Said Nicholas Petit-Frere has continued to take some reps at right tackle as well as left tackle, and he's handling that well.
  • Day said Stroud was “a little bit of a late bloomer” in the recruiting process, but he's “come in and done everything we've asked him to do.”
  • On name, image and likeness: “We're figuring this new thing out and trying to adapt quickly, because there's a lot of change ... but I'm happy for our guys. This is a wonderful opportunity to them ... The fact that these opportunities exist, it's a great thing for them and their families.” Day said Ohio State is educating the players and parents to make sure that they make smart decisions and utilize their NIL wisely.
  • Day gave a shoutout to the North Manchester Little League baseball team, which is going to the Little League World Series and which he and his wife Nina both played for when they were kids. Asked if Nina was a better Little League player than him, Ryan said “It was close ... I'm not giving her that, though.”
  • Day did not specify what the quarterback pecking order would look like behind Stroud right now.
  • Dallas Gant has started to get into a rhythm in preseason camp after missing the spring with an injury, Day said.
  • Day said Sevyn Banks is back at practice. Kerry Coombs said he told Day it's the first time he's had all the cornerbacks healthy since the start of camp.
  • Asked whether Ohio State will add a quarterback in the recruiting class of 2022 with Ewers' reclassification, Day said “We'll see how that plays out.”
  • Day said he's counting on long snapper Bradley Robinson to be the leader of the specialist group since Ohio State will have a new kicker and punter.
  • Freshman punter Jesse Mirco “has shown that he has a strong leg.” Day said Mirco also has “a little edge to him” after playing Australian Rules football.
  • Day said Jake Seibert and Noah Ruggles are still competing at kicker, and that the competition will ultimately come down to who's most consistent.

Ohio State special teams coordinator Parker Fleming also met with the media following Day's press conference, and here's a sampling of some of what he had to say:

  • Fleming said that ball security is the primary consideration when selecting a kickoff returner, but he's not worried about having a home-run hitter who can't take care of the ball. He said Ohio State is looking for a home-run hitter at the position. He didn't specify who's leading that competition, but did mention Demario McCall's experience in the role and said he's been impressed by what he's seen from TreVeyon Henderson so far, though he said not to read too much into Henderson taking first-team reps during the practice that was open to the media last week, as they rotate a bunch of returners in practice. “We have a very good competition going on right now.”
  • He said Chris Olave is one of the best gunners in the country. He also expects Josh Proctor and Jaxon Smith-Njigba to see snaps at gunner.
  • Fleming said Ruggles “kicks a very nice ball” and he was impressed by Ruggles’ consistency when evaluating him in the transfer portal.
  • Fleming said Mirco, who lost his black stripe last week, has “been very consistent since he got here.” Said Mirco's body is more developed and he's a little more mature than the typical freshman because he's older.
  • “We need all our guys to be game-ready.”
  • On being a full-time coach at Ohio State for the first time: “It's something I enjoy every time.”
  • Why Olave is so good as a gunner: “It's the mindset of not being denied.” He says there are a number of players on the team that have that mindset.
  • Fleming said Ohio State needs to have multiple players ready to play in every special teams role.
  • Both Fleming and Day indicated they're looking for their kicker to be consistent on short- and mid-range field goals; they're not necessarily looking to kick long-range field goals.
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