Presser Bullets: Ryan Day Updates Injury Status of Several Buckeyes, Kerry Coombs Says He Was "Embarrassed" To Get Game Ball

By Griffin Strom on October 12, 2021 at 12:38 pm
Ryan Day

Three days after the Buckeyes' 49-point win in Columbus, Ryan Day addressed the media at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Day reviewed Ohio State's 66-17 win over Maryland and looked ahead to the bye week before the Buckeyes return for an Oct. 23 matchup with Indiana.

Following Day, Buckeye defensive coordinator and senior wider receiver Chris Olave both took the podium as well.

For everything Day, Coombs and Olave said Tuesday at his weekly press conference, here's a complete rundown.

Ryan Day

  • On Miyan Williams, Day says he expects to have him back for the Indiana game.
  • Day says Harry Miller is "probably more of a swing guy now" in terms of position. Miller was thought to be the Buckeyes' starting center entering the season.
  • Day says the Buckeyes "have a pretty deep offensive line room" and stopped short of saying that Luke Wypler would be the starting center all season.
  • On leaving Garrett Wilson out on punt returns even during blowouts, Day says Wilson "is a reliable guy back there." Day says punt return is a lot different than kick returns, which he insinuates are more dangerous.
  • "We have very, very good players, that's the first thing. Those guys are doing a good job of executing." Day credits the offensive assistant coaches and the game plan for the offense being so good recently.
  • Day says he doesn't know if Cam Brown will practice this week, but said "once he gets back, he'll be a big part of our defense." Day says "I hope so" when asked if Brown will be back for Indiana.
  • On the Big Ten having five teams in the AP Top 10: "We have some great coaches in this league, and it's exciting ... it's great for the conference."
  • "I don't know how well I'm still sleeping, we've got a lot of football left, we haven't done anything yet." Day said he wasn't sleeping well earlier in the season. Day says "we still have a young team, that hasn't changed."
  • Day says the Buckeyes are keeping things as "game-like as we can" in practice during the bye week. Day says he wishes some of the regular game-week routines could be kept the same during the bye week.
  • Day says the Buckeyes are going to use the bye week to work on fundamentals and get some rest so the team can play at a "high, high level at Indiana."
  • How big is tackling to form an identity on defense? Day says "when you start going against better players, you really have to go back to those fundamentals."
  • On a recruiting strategy this week, Day says the Buckeyes were on the road Monday and will be back on the road Friday.
  • On C.J. Stroud: "I don't know if there's been any super surprises." Day credits his QB for not turning the ball over the past couple weeks.
  • On his mental health initiatives, Day says he's gotten "a lot of positive feedback." Day says the whole idea was to help one or two people, and that now the legacy of his father might help people.
  • Day says his backup quarterbacks are learning that "you don't get a second chance in a game."
  • On Nike making its biggest jersey for Dawand Jones: "I'm sure it is. If there's a bigger one out there, I'd like to see what he looks like. Shaquille O'Neal or something."
  • Day on the defensive changes: "I think the overall confidence and results are trending in the right direction."
  • On Coombs getting the game ball: "Any time you go through a loss like that, you kind of recalibrate some things, and it's tough." Day says because of how Coombs has handled the past month, the defensive coaches have really come together with one voice. Day says it's a "great lesson for all of our players."
  • Day says the team can't try to put in too many different looks on defense and be a "jack of all trades, master of none."
  • On the linebackers: "I think they're getting better every time they play, for sure." Day says "when you can play two guys at each position, that helps." 
  • Day says he doesn't think there's a run game, pass game coordinator split, but that all the defensive coaches are meeting together as a group and the players are benefitting from one voice.
  • On Matt Barnes calling plays: "Job responsibilities and how these guys are going about putting a game plan together, it just seems to be working right now."
  • "The jet sweep is really something that has come into our game the last three to four years." Day says it allows the team to attack the perimeter and force a defense to defend the entire field.
  • On collaboration with veteran wide receivers when it comes to play calling, Day says if a play looks good and guys like it, you usually keep it. If the team has to run if four or five times before it clicks, they'll probably throw it out of the playbook.
  • "We've played some young guys up front, and that's been a really good thing for our future." Day says he's looking forward to getting Tyreke Smith back, and hopes Haskell Garrett will be good by the Indiana game. Day says "we're better than we were, but we've still got a ways to go."
  • On the college football landscape this year: "It's been a strange year so far, and I think the teams that continue to get better are gonna be around in November." Day says it's been a "very unique year."
  • Day says it's good to have a team that's "got a couple scars on them" but that is trending up right now.
  • Day says there is such thing as having a player that has a knack for kick returns, and that Emeka Egbuka has that.
  • Day says as you look back at the last six weeks, pass protection has been "well done." Day says better pass rushers are coming in some of the upcoming Big Ten games.

Kerry Coombs

  • "This has been the hardest stretch of my professional career." Coombs says that's a sign that he's had a really good career, though.
  • Coombs said if he had been a miserable human being after the defensive changes, it would have made him a liar to all the players he's coached who he has told to battle and fight through hard times.
  • Coombs says "I'm blessed to work here." Coombs says it's easy to be "a brother" during a 66-17 win, but it's hard to be one during the hard times.
  • "I'm gonna be here for the remainder of this season to fight through" everything with his players.
  • Coombs says he had not been in the press box since his first year at Cincinnati, but says it's been "very valuable" for him in seeing and communicating the game. But Coombs said "I miss hugging people. I've got Kevin Wilson, but I gotta be honest with you, that's not the same."
  • Coombs says he has no lack of confidence in his ability to do the job.
  • On how he felt getting the game ball: "Undeserving would be the first word that comes to my mind ... I was shocked." Coombs says he was embarrassed to receive the game ball.
  • On Denzel Burke: "Lining up against our wide receivers day in and day out, you are either gonna sink or swim."
  • Coombs says Bradley Roby would challenge him a lot of fronts, but that Burke has not gotten to the point of doing that yet.
  • On the cover safety position: "Our personnel is going to be a continual work in progress." Coombs says there will be evolution at all 11 positions. Coombs says Cam Martinez was playing very well in man coverage, but that other looks might suit other plays, such as Marcus Williamson.
  • Coombs says the beauty of what is going on right now at Ohio State is that practice is real competition to see what the rotations will be like in games, and who will start.
  • Biggest difference in defense from Oregon to now: "Confidence, and I think confidence has come from experience." Coombs says "hesitance breeds lack of success."
  • Coombs says when Steele Chambers "sees it, he goes." Says Chambers is going to play more going forward if he continues doing that.
  • On what has changed about his role since the Oregon week: "It's very hard to describe. I think that we were working as a collaborative unit prior to changing who was going to have the final say on a call on the sideline." Coombs says he's focusing on different things in relation to the game plan now that he's in the box. Coombs says he "feels like anybody could make the call" on Saturdays.
  • On Matt Barnes: "I think he's a very good coach." Coombs says relationships should always go beyond job titles, "otherwise they're not relationships." Coombs says it's his responsibility to do a good job in all these areas.
  • "I get up on the edge of my bed and say, 'It's gonna be a great day.' Well, it still is." Coombs says he was sad on the first day after the changes were made on defense, but "that can't last. That's a 24-hour window."
  • Coombs says he was careful to not seem like he was "asking for sympathy."
  • "Do I have respect for Ryan Day? Absolutely. Do I have respect for how difficult that process was? Yeah, I do." Coombs says he didn't love how public everything was in regards to the defensive changes.
  • Coombs says he believes "with every fiber of my being" that he's capable of doing "that job and any other" in regards to being a defensive coordinator.

WR Chris Olave

  • "It's fun. All three guys, we all compete, try to get better every day." Day says all three of Ohio State's starters are happy to see each other get the ball.
  • Do Olave, Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba ever compete to have better stats? "Not at all." Olave says that's not a concern.
  • Olave says the Buckeyes have taken a couple days off so far this week.
  • Olave says Kerry Coombs has impacted "a lot of guys on this team, not just on defense."
  • On Smith-Njigba: "Just to see that development from him this summer, this spring ... that's cool to see."
  • Olave says Smith-Njigba is "setting the bar even higher" with some of the plays he's making.
  • Olave says Indiana QB Jack Tuttle is "one of my best friends from high school" and says they still talk to this day. Olave says he's "once of the best leaders I've seen" and that he hopes he'll be starting this week.
  • "Three of us are balling out, but we have so many guys in the receivers room that can do the same thing." Olave says the Ohio State WR room is "the place to be."
  • Olave says "that kickoff return team is gonna be dangerous."
  • On Jameson Williams: "That's my guy, that's my dog. We talk a lot. We got close over COVID last year." Olave says "he's been going crazy out there" for Alabama.
  • "This freshman class is special." Olave says he's proud of the young players on the Buckeye roster. He says guys like TreVeyon Henderson and Denzel Burke showed they could play at a high standard in the spring.
  • Olave says he feels like there's more depth at the cornerback position this year, and that the group has more of a chip on its shoulder this season.
  • Olave says C.J. Stroud is a "rare breed" and said his confidence in him was one of the reasons he decided to come back for a senior season at Ohio State.
  • "We all want to win our conference every year, that's our goal." Olave says "that's why you come here."
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