Ohio State is looking for a bounceback performance this week after suffering a 35-38 loss to Oregon last week as the Buckeyes host Tulsa on Saturday afternoon.
Head coach Ryan Day took to his final weekly media availabilities on Thursday afternoon, joining his weekly radio show on 97.1 The Fan and briefly meeting with the media to offer some final updates.
Day was joined by Brian Hartline for the final segment of the radio show.
Here are some of the highlights.
Ryan Day Radio Show
- "You have to identify what the issue is."
- "It's either the personnel, the coaching or the scheme – sometimes it's a combination of all three."
- "Everyone is tired of hearing about how young they are."
- Day notes the inexperience did play into the struggles.
On the two defensive stops at the end
- "Disappointed on offense that we weren't able to punch those two drives in."
- "It was good to get those two stops there late."
On the running game
- "We always look for balance and it wasn't balanced."
- Day would like to establish the run game more.
- "It never felt like we were quite in control of the game," Day said, even though they had a lot yards.
- Day said when you go conference to conference with different crews, it's hard to have continuity on the calls.
- Day said he feels there is officiating consistency within the conference.
- "It is inconsistent at times, and I think they would admit that."
- "Over the last few years, we've felt the good and the bad."
- "What they're trying to do is the right thing."
On leadership on the team
- "I've said it before, one of the things about losing the game is that you find out about people."
- Day called the loss "a great opportunity" for players to grow.
- "In life, things don't always go as planned."
On losing Josh Proctor
- "He was really poised to have a great year."
- "It's a tough game."
- Day notes that Proctor made a great play and someone just rolled up on him.
- "It's going to be a long road to get back."
On the second team needing to be ready to play
- "That's why we have depth."
- "It's part of this thing and that's why depth is so important."
- Day notes that players getting mental reps is so important even if it's not game reps or full-speed reps.
On what needs to be fixed
- "You gotta take a long look and a hard dive when you give up that many points."
- Day said they've looked at personnel, coaching and scheme.
- Day said they've been "asking the hard questions."
On Denzel Burke
- "He's a true freshman playing out there against a top-10 team."
- "Along the way, there are going to be some mistakes made but if he can keep building and keep competing, we're gonna have a guy there for a while."
- But Day notes that he's only going to get better.
On Jaxon Smith-Njigba
- "He flashed."
- "That's what he can do."
- "He showed up when he needed to."
- Day said when you have that much talent, you can't cover everybody.
On C.J. Stroud
- "I think we put too much on him in that game, for sure."
- "We came up short in that game, couldn't finish those last two drives."
- "There's a lot of things to grow upon."
- "Still has a long way to go in his development, but a good start."
- Day mentioned several times that they felt they
- "They had a bunch of guys out from the first game," Day notes.
- "They didn't really have their full strength in their first game."
- Day notes that they "had the game won" against Oklahoma State.
- "This is a good football team."
- Day said Ohio State needs to "get back to the fundamentals."
On the Tulsa defense
- "They're a little different in terms of their alignment and what they do."
- Day said the defense looks like a 3-3-5 with a lot of hybrid defensive backs.
- "They change up their looks a little bit."
On the quarterback run
- Day notes that C.J. Stroud will sometimes have to be tough and use his legs, and praised him for putting his shoulder down and getting a first down late in the game
- "We really haven't had a lot of designed quarterback runs."
- "It still has to be a part of the game."
- "Those yards add up, and they put the defense in conflict."
- "He can do it, he's athletic," Day notes about C.J. Stroud's long run last year.
On the two running backs
- "I thought they ran good, I don't know if it was great."
- Day notes that it's hard to find rhythm early in the year especially when all of their reps up to this point have come against the same defensive front and look.
- "Still trying to find the rhythm with those guys."
- Day thought Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson were “excellent” in pass protection against Oregon.
On Tulsa's offense
- "They have tempo, they switch it up."
- "They'll run the football."
- Day notes that the quarterback can run the ball, too.
- "Good athletes. In that conference, it's typical. There are a lot of good athletes in that conference.
On Jesse Mirko
- "So far, he's stepped in and had a good job."
- "The more experience he has, the more comfortable he'll be."
- "He does a great job. You can tell he's been doing this all his life."
- "He's almost more accurate kicking the ball than he is throwing the ball."
On preparing a team to play against an opponent you're heavily favored against
- "It's about the process, not the scoreboard."
- "We'll look up, we'll figure out the scoreboard."
- Day said it's more about individual technique than it is the game.
- Day said after the loss "we have their attention."
- "Focus on the play at hand."
- "Football is the ultimate 'win the moment' game."
What is your preferred start time?
- "I think they all have different plusses and minus to them."
- Day said he prefers the noon games because they get to wake up and play, then go to bed early.
- Day said the team likes to get ready at the Woody Hayes instead of the stadium.
On coaching the room
- "It's a blast."
- Brian Hartline said that the room as a whole is very fun to coach.
- Hartline said they all push each other.
- Hartline recalls a running drill where Emeka Egbuka and Garrett Wilson pushed each other in practice: "If it wasn't for each other, they never would have ran as fast in that workout."
- "Iron sharpens iron is present in our room.
On Chris Olave
- "Don't take for granted what Chris does now."
- Hartline praised his leadership.
On helping C.J. Stroud
- "I would like to think clear conversations, getting on his page and making sure we make his life easier."
- "Proving consistent looks in practice and a game.
- "Any time you can be clean, you're helping the quarterback."
On Kamryn Babb
- "It's incredible."
- "He's an amazing young man."
- "He makes a huge impact on our team without even stepping on the field."
Ryan Day's Thursday Press Conference
- On who will call the defensive plays: “Still gonna kind of see how practice goes today and make a decision here tonight.”
- “It’s not gonna be something that just gets fixed overnight.” Day says there was a lot of energy and juice the past couple days of practice on defense. “I think there’s been a little bit of edge, guys are grinding on each other a little bit.”
- “We can’t worry about feelings, we can’t worry about anything other than giving our guys the best chance to be successful.” Day on defensive signal-calling.
- “When you get into the red zone, you have to be able to run the ball.” Day says the Buckeyes will run the ball “by any means necessary,” including running the QB.
- Day says there “most likely will be changes” in terms of defensive coaches being in the box or on the sideline.
- Bryson Shaw, Marcus Hooker, Ryan Watts, Kourt Williams are all being considered at the free safety position, Day says.
- “I thought we did get lined up, I did see a little bit of hesitancy at times and just not getting the job done.” Day on the Buckeye defense against Oregon. “There was a lot of things we looked at this week, for sure.”
- Day on potentially moving Kerry Coombs up to the box: “Figuring that out as we head into Saturday is what we’ve been focusing on all week.”
- “There are going to be growing pains along the way … some of these guys are getting valuable experience, but along the way we can’t be losing games.” Day on the young talent on the field this season.