Presser Bullets: Ryan Day Addresses C.J. Stroud's Shoulder Injury and Issues With Turf, Larry Johnson Discusses Lack of Pass Rush

By Griffin Strom on September 21, 2021 at 1:02 pm

Fresh off of Saturday's 41-20 win over Tulsa, Ryan Day addressed the media Tuesday for his weekly press conference appearance at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

The Buckeye head coach reviewed his team's performance from the weekend and looked ahead to the next week of preparation before the upcoming meeting with Akron.

After Day took the podium, defensive line coach Larry Johnson appeared to answer questions about the struggling Ohio State defense.

Here's a rundown of everything the two Buckeye coaches discussed on Tuesday.

Ryan Day

  • Day says having interactions with the players and making sideline adjustments were two reasons Matt Barnes was moved down to the field. 
  • On the field turf: "We looked at our cleats to make sure we have the right footwear. We have had some guys go down."
  • On TreVeyon Henderson: "He certainly is gonna have a bigger role," but Day does not guarantee he will be the starter moving forward.
  • "We'll look to see if we can possibly get that done this week," Day on getting backups into the game against Akron, although he doesn't feel pressure to do so.
  • Day says a lot of experience walked out of the building last year. "Those four linebackers that left, they all played almost every snap last year." Day says several guys that are stepping into big roles this season didn't play last season.
  • On Ronnie Hickman: "It's exciting to start hearing those names ... you're starting to see Ronnie make some plays." Day talks about the impact of Denzel Burke, Cam Martinez and Tyleik Williams. Day says "now they know that they can do it." 
  • On two safety looks: "I thought we did a better job" of mixing things up.
  • Day says Bryson Shaw played better this week because he's gaining some experience.
  • Could Kyle McCord or Jack Miller get into the game? "I don't know about all that." Day says he won't "arbitrarily" put a different quarterback in the game.
  • On C.J. Stroud's shoulder injury, Day says "there's something there, for sure," and that there have been a lot of conversations about it.
  • Day on pass coverage: "I think we did cover pretty decent the other day."
  • On Kerry Coombs: "He's a professional, he's an Ohio guy, he has an incredible record." Day says Coombs has done "an incredible job of just pushing forward" and is still a big part of the defense.
  • Day says he had no expectations about what the team could be coming into this season. Day hopes to see "a lot of growth" when he looks back in a few weeks.
  • On the running back rotation: "Having depth at that position is critical," but Day says the team hasn't found the right balance yet.
  • Day says Martinez "wasn't sure about making that move" to DB, and that the team worked him out at wide receiver at first.
  • Day says the plan is for Stroud to practice right now, despite his shoulder. "If it works out, we'll do it," Day says about the chance to get other quarterbacks into the game.
  • "I think there's a lot of great football ahead for C.J. Stroud, I just do."
  • Day on the defense: "I think the scheme has been good at times, but could be better. And then same with the coaching."
  • Day says the team can't have fake confidence, it needs to have "real confidence" going into conference play.
  • Day says "maybe once" the Buckeyes have lost a game when they were "just beat" by an opponent and says other times it has been more about Ohio State itself.
  • Day says if you want to play in the NFL at the QB position, dealing with criticism is something that comes with the territory.
  • Day is going to "trust the experts" on the turf issue, and says it's something that he hasn't thought about much until just now.
  • On Quinn Ewers: "I think he would tell you it's been hard for him ... there's a lot of catching up to do there." Day says he's not getting enough reps to be able to play.

Larry Johnson

  • On the pass rush: "We have to win one-on-ones."
  • On Tyleik Williams: "He's been a work in progress. He came in really heavy." Johnson says he had to lose a lot of weight.
  • On his responsibilities changing since last week, Johnson says he "puts the game plan together" for the defense now.
  • Johnson says Zach Harrison is doing well after missing the Tulsa game, and J.T. Tuimoloau is being brought along slow because he's a freshman.
  • On why J.T. has played more than Sawyer: "J.T.'s a bigger guys, he's 270." Johnson says J.T. possesses power, while Sawyer is more of a "finesse player." Johnson says he's careful to put young players in the game in a situation where they could make a mistake that could "haunt them for a while."
  • On not many players grading out as champions, Johnson says a lot of guys were close, but he "wanted to see more."
  • Johnson says Tyleik Williams stands out as a player that's going to see more time moving forward. Johnson says Ty Hamilton is coming on strong as well.
  • On getting more pressure: "We've gotta get it done and it starts with me."
  • Larry Johnson says his linemen can't just try to bull rush a guy for the entire game and have success rushing the passer.
  • On Haskell Garrett and Taron Vincent playing at the same time: "When you do that, you really kind of change the flavor up front."
  • Johnson says the depth of his group is what is allowing several freshmen to get on the field and make plays despite there being a lot of veterans in the bunch as well.
  • Johnson says Tyleik Williams was 270-280 pounds in high school, but blew up to over 300 pounds due to the pandemic.
  • Johnson says the same level of top-end talent is still present in his group, but that it will take more time to develop.
  • On Tyreke Smith, Johnson says he plays really hard and runs sideline-to-sideline "pretty much every play," and that he is working on figuring out why he isn't getting home for sacks right now.
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