Presser Bullets: Ryan Day, Kerry Coombs, Buckeyes Evaluate Minnesota Win, Look Ahead to Matchup With Oregon

By Griffin Strom on September 7, 2021 at 12:37 pm

Fresh off of Thursday's season-opening win, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day recapped the Minnesota game and previewed Saturday's Oregon matchup at a press conference Tuesday.

Day took the podium first at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, with defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs, senior wideout Chris Olave and sophomore linebacker Cody Simon following following shortly after.

Here's a bullet-point recap of everything Day and the Buckeyes talked about on Tuesday.

Ryan Day

  • "Recruits have been talking about this game since they saw it on the schedule." Day says he hopes the gameday experience is "the best it's been in a long, long time around here." Day is "really hoping the crowd is excellent."
  • Day says all the game planning, decisions that are made at this point in the week because emotions come into play during the game itself.
  • On Proctor and other Buckeyes dealing with injury issues, Day says he won't comment on any injuries.
  • "I think Thayer's really gonna increase his value" by playing two different positions. Day said with Dawand Jones on the field, the Buckeyes have their best five players starting on the offensive line.
  • On the running back rotation, Day says he thinks it will be shortened this week. "Moving into this game, that's probably the goal." Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson "did what they were supposed to do," but Day says they only had a few plays to showcase their skills.
  • "We need Buckeye Nation in this game, and we need them to be loud." Ryan Day on there being 10,000 tickets still available for Saturday's game. "If we can force them into a silent count, that's an advantage for us."
  • On Jeremy Ruckert: "I thought he played well, graded a champion." Day says with the Buckeyes only having 48 plays on Thursday, there weren't many touches to go around. Day says there were more plays drawn up for Ruckert that Ohio State didn't get to use.
  • Day on Mohamed Ibrahim's season-ending injury: "College football could really use him right now, and I think that's a big setback for that team."
  • On Chip Kelly, Day says he's very close with him, still shares thoughts and ideas with him. "He's obviously been a huge mentor for me and a very close friend." Day says he talked to Kelly about going to Oregon several times and thought "long and hard about it," but didn't want to move his family across the country at the time. "He's one of the best football coaches in the country."
  • Day says for C.J. Stroud, going through the first-game adversity "opens your eyes to a lot of things."
  • Day says Mario Cristobal has a background in line play, calls it a "major challenge" to take on the Ducks. "They have power, they have strength, they have toughness, but they also have speed and athleticism."
  • On Stroud: "He had never even thrown a pass." Day says everything was new for Stroud, but once that's behind him, he can use it all as a reference point. Day says it will be another new experience for Stroud on Saturday given that he will be playing at Ohio Stadium.
  • On Master Teague not getting carries in the second half: "I kind of leave those decisions to Tony (Alford)."
  • Day says there were mistakes on defense and missed tackles on Thursday, but thought the team competed. "Overall, there were some really good things. ...We have to play really well in all three phases to win this game."
  • Day said the Buckeyes emphasized matching personnel on defense, which is what led to some of the deep rotations and mass substitutions at times. Day said some of that is "unique to that game."
  • Day says the linebackers had a "solid performance," but believes there is room for improvement from the group. "I think the tackling overall was OK."
  • Day on memories of 9-11: "I was a junior in college and getting ready for a Tuesday practice." Day said he remembers calling home and not feeling safe. One player on his team lost a family member. "This year brings up a lot of memories."
  • On readjusting to communicating with a packed crowd: "The electricity of a big play on their side, just handling your emotions." Day said he thought the team did a good job of staying disciplined in those moments.
  • Day says he tries not to be numb the abilities of Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. "I thought their attitudes and their work ethic has been excellent this preseason."
  • "For a guy getting thrown into the fire, it was a hell of a start." Day on Luke Wypler, who started at center with Harry Miller out for the season opener.
  • On Kayvon Thibodeaux: "It's a big challenge for our guys. ...probably one of the best players in the country."
  • Ryan Day on play selection on offense: "C.J. can run the ball, and he will."
  • On Denzel Burke: "He practices really, really hard. He deserved to start. He did." Day says Burke will make mistakes, but he "has a chance to be a really good player down the road."
  • What is Chip Kelly's legacy in college football? "He's obviously meant a lot more to me than anybody else, just in terms of my career." Day says Kelly was at the forefront of the modern spread offense, called him one of the "pioneers" of the modern no huddle offense in college football.
  • Day says Thibodeaux could play on either side of the line, and that the Buckeye tackles could get beat from time to time.

Kerry Coombs

  • On freshman cornerback play: "I thought they handled the pressure and the environment well." Coombs expects Denzel Burke, Ryan Watts and Lejond Cavazos to improve as the season goes on.
  • Coombs says the defense has a "laundry list of things" to do better and improve on.
  • Coombs says the defensive staff was tasked with responding to formations they had never seen before during Thursday's game.
  • The team needs to tackle better and will continue to work on it, Coombs says.
  • On when to call a blitz, Coombs says pressure was limited due to Minnesota's run heavy approach on Thursday.
  • Coombs says "of course" he agrees with Day on the fact that the team needs to have more continuity on the defense. Coombs says he is still figuring out who the best players on the defense are. "We have to put the best players on the field to help us win the game."
  • Coombs never expected to start a true freshman at cornerback, but says Burke had a great spring and offseason. On whether or not Sevyn Banks and Cameron Brown returning could lessen Burke's reps, Coombs says whoever deserves to play will play.
  • On if the defense is "tough enough," Coombs said: "I think you have to be physical here because practice is very physical. ...I think these kids have come through some incredible situations over the past two years that speak volumes about their mental toughness."
  • Coombs says he looks forward to having Kourt Williams on the field "in the near future." Said Thursday's environment wasn't preferable for a player to get his first snaps.
  • Coombs says he was glad to hear from Burke that he was nervous, because "if he said he wasn't, he'd be lying." Coombs says opposing coaches always know who the freshmen are on defense and will go after them.
  • On Cavazos' coverage on the Minnesota touchdown, Coombs says he thought the redshirt corner "played well."
  • "I thought it took some time to get adjusted to and get the right guys on the field for the jobs they had at hand." Coombs on Minnesota's offensive approach.
  • On Taron Vincent starting over Haskell Garrett: "I think the length of training camp and amount of snaps guys were able to take made a difference."
  • On Tommy Eichenberg getting a start at linebacker: "He was the right guy for that ballgame." Coombs said Eichenberg took "a ton" of snaps in the offseason.
  • Was there a play in the preseason where Burke really stood out? Coombs said it was when he lined up against Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson and was "reasonably unflappable," even when beat. Coombs says he got his hands on a lot of balls in the team's first scrimmage, and showed no fear. Coombs said he expected Burke to play well, and would have been disappointed if he hadn't.

WR Chris Olave

  • On Burke: "I'm a huge fan of Denzel. West coast guy from Arizona. I've seen his growth since he got here in January." Olave says Burke is always getting extra word. "I'm not surprised to see him out there. I think he's one of the top guys we have."
  • Olave said the offense only got "a few plays out there" against Minnesota, but says that was all that was required for it to get a rhythm moving forward.
  • On Stroud: "I just feel like he had to get comfortable. Once he got his feet under him, he was good." Olave says Stroud was shaky until the second half, when he "got his head on shoulders." Says the players were there to comfort Stroud, but he got through the issues on his own.
  • "It's a childhood dream to play in a game like this." Chris Olave says he grew up an Oregon fan and always wanted to play for the Ducks.
  • Why was Olave an Oregon fan instead of UCLA or USC? "Oregon was really like a powerhouse growing up. ...We were all Oregon fans, me and my brother." Olave referenced Chip Kelly and "all the different jerseys" as reasons why he liked Oregon.
  • Olave said he's been working on his run after the catch ability in practice, and said it paid off in Thursday's game. Olave said that's one of the big reasons why he came back to Ohio State.
  • On Burke: "He's a pro to me. In camp he's running with the first team, he's battling me and Garrett, talking mess, playing with his swag. Just not getting too big-headed, just staying down, trying to keep working." Olave says "he's gonna be great, so I can't wait to see that."
  • After Stroud's interception, Olave said "we just lifted each other up," and understood that there will be mistakes made.
  • Olave laughed when asked if he was cheering for Oregon in the national championship game between Ohio State and the Ducks in 2015. Said he was "definitely an Oregon fan" at the time.
  • Olave said Day has gotten a lot of concepts and tempo from Chip Kelly.
  • Oregon did contact Olave late in his recruitment process, but Olave said his mind was already set on Ohio State by then. Still, Olave called Oregon his "dream school."

LB Cody Simon

  • On playing in front of a home crowd: "I haven't even seen a full Horseshoe yet. This week is gonna be a really good one, and I'm really excited for it."
  • "Almost every day we're reminded that we're playing for those that came before us." Simon says he feels like he can't let the former Buckeyes down.
  • Simon says sack opportunities like the one he had against Minnesota don't always open up in Ohio State practices, but said he was happy to make the play.
  • On Tommy Eichenberg: "Tommy's an ultimate leader, I can't say enough about him. He's one of my main guys on the team." Simon says the defense wouldn't be as good as it is without him on the field.
  • Simon says it's "probably the greatest feeling" to finally be able to hit another color besides scarlet and gray.
  • Simon says Al Washington upholds a high standard in the linebacker room, but says he "couldn't be prouder" of the players in the Buckeye linebacker room.
  • How much different is the Oregon front? "They're gonna give us different schemes." Simon says every team looks pretty physical, it's just about how the Buckeyes approach it.


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