Presser Bullets: Ryan Day, C.J. Stroud, Miyan Williams, Other Buckeyes Discuss Thursday's Season-Opening Win at Minnesota

By Griffin Strom on September 3, 2021 at 12:28 am
Ryan Day
© Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Ohio State claimed a victory in its first game of the season Thursday, topping a game Minnesota team 45-31 on the road.

The performance was not without its flaws though, and Buckeye quarterback C.J. Stroud, head coach Ryan Day, running back Miyan Williams and defensive standouts Zach Harrison, Haskell Garrett and Lathan Ransom all joined the media after the game to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly after the contest in Minneapolis.

Here's a bullet-point breakdown of everything Stroud, Day and the rest of the Buckeyes talked about after Ohio State's season opener.

QB C.J. Stroud

  • Stroud said he had "first-game jitters" in the first half against Minnesota, and credits "the two best receivers" in the country in Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson.
  • "Everything doesn't go the way it's supposed to." Stroud said his mind wasn't right, and was all over the place but he prayed a lot and talked to teammates.
  • On the interception while targeting Olave, Stroud said he should've just handed the ball off and took blame for the error.
  • At halftime, Stroud said his teammates all encouraged him and showed that they believed in him.
  • "I have great teammates, but I think I'm a great player too. Maybe the first half didn't show that." Stroud said the game plan did not change after the first-half struggles.
  • Stroud said Ryan Day told him he believes in him no matter what he does, and that it's a "blessing" for that to be the case.
  • "I feel like my whole life has been perseverance." Stroud said he was able to "get his poise back" after struggling earlier.
  • "He's gonna be a hell of a player." Stroud on TreVeyon Henderson, who scored a 70-yard touchdown on one of his passes.
  • Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day were happy with how Stroud played, according to Stroud. "It's all about what you do when you get punched in the mouth."
  • "Mistakes happen, you can't stick on it, you gotta keep going. ...The past is the past, you can't do nothing about it."
  • On taking deep shots downfield, Stroud said that is a strong suit of his game. "Definitely have some work to do on some other throws."
  • "I haven't played football in like two years, gotten tackled in like two years." Stroud on how it felt to get hit on Thursday.

Ryan Day

  • "Really proud of the way our team played, we learned a lot from this experience." Day said he's not surprised about the outcome of the game given that Ohio State played a lot of young guys and a new quarterback on the road.
  • "It's hard when the time of possession goes the other way with Minnesota." Day credits P.J. Fleck's style of play and run-heavy approach.
  • Day on Stroud: "That was his first game ever. There's a lot going on there. ...It takes some time. You gotta give him a lot of credit." Day said we told Stroud "we're gonna keep swinging no matter what happens."
  • "When you look at the defensive score we got, that was huge." Day on the strip sack play from Zach Harrison and Haskell Garrett in the third quarter.
  • On rotating a lot of guys on defense today, Day says "we matched the personnel a little bit differently this game," but that the Buckeyes will reassess things after the game. Day said the Buckeyes do like playing a lot of depth, though.
  • Day says he wished the Buckeyes had those extra seven games last season for Stroud to have logged more snaps at quarterback before starting a game this season.
  • On Sevyn Banks, Day said he hopes he'll be available next week. Day said Banks was in an "emergency role" in Thursday's game. Cameron Brown may be available next week as well.
  • Day said the Buckeyes will look at it and see if they need more continuity on defense.
  • "I thought he did an excellent job." Day said he thought Luke Wypler handled himself very well in his first-ever start at center. Day said Harry Miller's situation is "day-to-day right now."
  • "I think that was probably the difference in the game, along with some of the big plays on offense." Day on the strip sack touchdown from Zach Harrison and Haskell Garrett.

DT Haskell Garrett and DE Zach Harrison

  • "Really it's just being at the right place at the right time." Garrett on his touchdown.
  • Harrison says Larry Johnson tells the defensive line "sacks are good, but strip sacks change the game. ...It was just second nature, it was muscle memory at that point."
  • "I don't like to compare myself to anyone, I'm Zach Harrison," Harrison says.
  • "It just shows that big guys can run. We got nimble feet nowadays." Garrett says he's a part of the evolution of the defensive tackle position.
  • Harrison said the strip sack definitely changed the energy on the sideline in the third quarter.
  • Harrison says the pass rush was good on Thursday, but has a lot of room to improve. "We have so much room to improve and get better."
  • "We were picked as captains for a reason. The way we lead, they will follow." Garrett on him and Harrison.
  • Harrison says the defense is excited to play better and continue to grow because a lot of Buckeyes that played Thursday didn't have a lot of reps or experience entering the matchup. "To know that this is the starting point is exciting for this defense."

SAF Lathan Ransom

  • On the potential targeting penalty: "I didn't think it was targeting."
  • Ransom said he was anxious about his first start, but that it was because he cared so much about the game. Credits the other young defensive backs for their play on Thursday as well.
  • Ransom said Sevyn Banks was giving Ransom, Denzel Burke and Ryan Watts advice throughout the entire game, despite the fact that he was sidelined.
  • "We rotate so much at practice." Ransom says the entire defense supports one another whether they are in or out of the game.
  • "Haskell's scoop and score, I think that definitely changed momentum." Ransom says he thinks the fumble he caused changed momentum at the end of the game as well."

RB Miyan Williams

  • "It felt like a dream at first. ...It felt amazing." Williams on his 70-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter.
  • On Stroud, Williams said he was trying to keep him in high spirits when he was struggling a bit early on. Williams said the team came together and rallied at halftime.
  • Williams said he was fine with his carry total tonight because the team got the win.
  • On Henderson's touchdown, Williams said the true freshman has had some even crazier highlight plays during preseason camp.
  • Williams said on the play he scored his touchdown on, he actually ran the opposite way of what the play called for in the Ohio State offense. Williams was supposed to go left, but ended up going right and scored.
  • Williams says he doesn't know what his 40 time is.
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