Presser Bullets: Ryan Day Expects A "Dog Fight" Against Penn State And Says Marcus Crowley Has A Long-Term Injury

By Griffin Strom on October 26, 2021 at 12:38 pm

Three days removed from another blowout Big Ten victory, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day took the podium at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center to review Saturday's win and look ahead to Penn State.

Following Day, Buckeye veterans Jeremy Ruckert, Haskell Garrett, Tyreke Smith and Nicholas Petit-Frere all stepped up to the mic to speak with members of the media as well.

Ryan Day

  • "There's a lot of things we need to continually improve on, for sure." Day says he wasn't thrilled with the Buckeyes taking a sack in the first series of the second half against Indiana. "The issues are always there, it's the coaches' job to get out in front of them."
  • Day says Penn State has one of the best defenses in the country.
  • Day says it was the first time he's ever seen anything like the nine overtime game between Penn State and Illinois, says he doesn't know what to think about it. Day says it made him think he needs to implement more two-point plays.
  • Day says "guys are less and less open" when they start to play better competition.
  • Day: "Marcus (Crowley) is gonna be out for a long time." Crowley suffered an injury during the bye week.
  • Day says Tony Alford has done a really good job of adapting with his running back room amidst injuries.
  • "We want to have great energy, we want to have great execution." Day says "execution fuels emotion."
  • On the Penn State defense: "I think the defense has really played well ... it's a really good defense." Day says the front is "very active" and that the Nittany Lion secondary is "veteran now," and says it's one of the better defenses in the country.
  • "Every week is a new challenge. Every week is like a whole season. You just don't know how the game is gonna play out." Day says he tries not to go into each game with specific expectations.
  • Day says "that's why you come to Ohio State is to play games like this," and says it's a big recruiting weekend. Day says peer recruiting has picked up steam over the past few years.
  • Day says this game will be "a little bit different" for C.J. Stroud due to the electric atmosphere and the caliber of defense he will be facing.
  • Day says the Ohio State defensive line is "coming around" and that it's getting some of its older guys back.
  • "Our standard is not gonna change, but we also know what's in store." Day says "no stone's unturned" in preparation for the Penn State game.
  • "When you look at the games we've had with them in the past, it's always been a dog fight." Day says he's expecting another one on Saturday.
  • Day says the Buckeye defense changed what it's doing with the boundary to better challenge opposing offenses.
  • Day mentions Tariq Castro-Fields, Joey Porter and Jaquan Brisker among Penn State defensive backs that have caught his eye in preparation for the matchup with Penn State.
  • "I think Dotson's one of the better wide receivers in the country." Day says the Buckeyes have to know "exactly where he's gonna be" on the field.
  • Day says he expects Julian Fleming to have a full week of work after not being playing against Indiana.
  • Day says "it starts on special teams" for wideouts like Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka.
  • Day says he spoke to the team after the Oregon game about how they need to take ownership of their responsibilities and "make this thing work."
  • On Harrison Jr. "He understands what working is. He had a high football IQ coming in ... I've been very impressed with how he's come about every day in practice." Day's "really excited about his future."
  • Day says "you can't make assumptions, you can't take anything for granted." Day says "you don't know what to expect on a daily basis." Day says the team is taking a "white belt mentality."
  • Day says he's asking "different things" of Stroud than he was Justin Fields or Dwayne Haskins at this stage in their Buckeye careers. 
  • On Cincinnati: "Luke Fickell does an unbelievable job ... they've got some Ohio State guys down there, so we pull for them."
  • Day says Ohio State is "scarred, calloused" from Oregon loss.
  • Day there's been a couple times recently (Akron, Indiana) when opposing teams have scored on their opening drive against the Buckeye defense, but that he likes the way the group has adjusted after those drives to have success thereafter.
  • Day says he's happy that Ohio State has been able to give opportunities to its younger players during the second halves of recent games. Day says his staff was coaching the backups "like it was an even score" late in recent games.
  • On the difference in the locker room between this year and the last two years: "I don't know, because you don't know what's coming next." Day says the team has already seen "the good, the bad and the ugly" so far this season.
  • Day says if the staff thinks it can gain something from huddling up, it will do it.

TE Jeremy Ruckert

  • In regards to run blocking for TreVeyon Henderson, Ruckert says "you don't have to overthink it" because of the true freshman's natural ability.
  • On Penn State: "You can see it on tape, they're really physical. They always play us tight every year, so we respect them."
  • "I only have a few opportunities left to play in the Shoe." Ruckert says he wants to make "every moment count" down the stretch of his senior season.
  • Ruckert says "the game is slowing down" for C.J. Stroud. Says he's "not forcing much and just being himself."
  • Ruckert says Penn State is probably going to change some things up defensively to give the Buckeyes some different looks on Saturday.
  • Ruckert says Ohio State has a mindset that the only thing that can stop it is itself.
  • On Stroud's impressive pass to Jaxon Smith-Njigba during the first half against Indiana: "I definitely had a great view of it, it was a great throw." 
  • On Henderson: "He's extremely special at what he does." Ruckert says "the whole world is starting to see what he can do."
  • Ruckert says "I try my best to just keep everybody's heads on straight, especially C.J." Ruckert says any time he can, he goes up to Stroud to give him words of encouragement during games.
  • Ruckert says he's seen leadership from Buckeyes like Jonathon Cooper and Tuf Borland in the past, and that he's learned from how they have done things.
  • On Stroud: "Whenever he throws the ball, he's very decisive with it." Ruckert says it's a sign of a confident quarterback and a competent offense.

DT Haskell Garrett

  • "We're working really hard on our craft and gaining that confidence that I talked about early in the year."
  • Garrett says the high number of tackles for loss was more important for him than the sacks on Saturday, because it shows that Ohio State is stopping the run.
  • Garrett says Tyreke Smith has been "a student of the game" this season.
  • Garrett says Day has been preaching that the home stretch is a "second season" and that it's a single-elimination situation.
  • Tony Alford asks Garrett why people call him "Blink," and Garrett responds by asking "don't you got some film to watch, man?"
  • Garrett says Penn State's losses have been "close, tough losses." Garrett says Penn State has a "lethal" offense.
  • Garrett says what the Ohio State offense is able to do starts in practice on "Bloody Tuesdays."
  • "It's been special to watch how we've evolved as a defense."
  • On Zach Harrison: "He was locked in the whole week. We were racing off the ball, having little challenges. Just that look in his eye."
  • "A lot of guys are stepping up, not only with their voice but their game play." Garrett says it hasn't just been two or three guys making an impact as of late.
  • On Sean Clifford being questionable: "I wouldn't say it changes anything about how I prepare." Garrett says last week the Buckeyes didn't know who Indiana's quarterback would be until late in the week.

DE Tyreke Smith

  • On injuries: "It sucked, but health is the most important (thing)." Smith said he "didn't want to put out bad film" while he wasn't 100 percent.
  • Smith said getting a sack meant a lot for him on Saturday, but that there were plenty of other rushers that he felt like he could've done better on.
  • Smith says Ohio State has instilled in him to push through hard times.
  • "My mindset is just doing what I can for the team to take one step forward with a (win)." Smith says "no one's gonna get in their feelings about constructive criticism." Smith says losing to Alabama last year is still on the team's mind a bit as well.
  • Smith says the Buckeyes knew they weren't playing up to the standard of the program after the Oregon game, and that it was a "humbling experience" that forced Ohio State to look in the mirror.
  • Smith says the high caliber of play from the defensive tackles has only benefitted the edge rushers, and that he hasn't paid attention to the discrepancy in sacks between the two units.
  • Smith says he always thinks "there's another level I can tap into" in terms of his level of play. "As long as we're getting wins and the team's doing good and the defense is going good, then I'm fine with it. I'm cool with it."
  • On getting sacks, Smith says it's about the finer details, and says pass rushing in general "is an art." Smith says "the sacks do mean something." Smith says the biggest thing the defensive line is focusing on is how to turn their pressures into sacks.
  • Smith says "I'm gonna give everything I've got for the team," and says there's no drop-off now that's he's back in the mix healthy.
  • On Stroud: "I've got a lot of respect for him. His leadership is going through the roof, you can see it from the way he talks to people." Smith says his locker is near Stroud's, and that they often have interactions about different things.
  • Smith (wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers hoodie) says he used to play basketball with Evan Mobley of the Cavs, because they grew up in the same area back in the day. "I'm a Cavs fan 'til I die."
  • Smith says a lot of guys still have "that high school flavor to them" when they enter the program, but that a lot of young guys have quickly developed and matured in the program.

LT Nicholas Petit-Frere

  • On the attention (or lack thereof) that he's getting: "It doesn't really matter. All that matters is that I'm playing for this university and that I'm playing for Ohio State." Petit-Frere says all he thinks or cares about is helping the team win.
  • Petit-Frere says he's glad he has gotten to show the versatility of playing both right and left tackle at Ohio State.
  • "If no one's talking about you, that means you're doing something right." Petit-Frere says the success of the offense is an indicator of his level of play.
  • Petit-Frere says playing at night makes Saturday's game a "premiere, marquee event." Petit-Frere says the negative is that the crowd can get very loud at night games in Ohio Stadium.
  • Petit-Frere says there was an adjustment period for him when he moved from right to left tackle, but that he felt like it was a quick adjustment. Petit-Frere says it was hard at first.
  • "I press to make sure the person behind me is protected."
  • Petit-Frere says it was harder putting on weight in his first couple years than it was switching from RT to LT, but that the switch was "pretty close."
  • Petit-Frere said having success against Shaka Toney and Odafe Oweh at Penn State last season was a confidence booster and "good tape" to have moving forward.
  • Petit-Frere says he's "not necessarily viewing it as my last year," but isn't thinking about that decision at the moment.
  • Petit-Frere says he's trying to live up to the standard of play that Thayer Munford brought to the table at left tackle. Petit-Frere says Munford has made it look easy moving from left tackle to left guard.
  • On watching film of the next opponent, Petit-Frere says that process begins on Sunday after a Saturday game. Petit-Frere says the Buckeyes watch two or three more sessions of film when they're playing a night game.
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