Thursday Bullet Points: Ryan Day Remembers Missing Last Year's Game, Talks Defending Kenneth Walker and Discusses Not Forcing Touches

By Kevin Harrish on November 18, 2021 at 1:03 pm
Ryan Day

Ohio State faces one of its stiffest tests of the season this weekend as the Buckeyes host No. 7 Michigan State with Big Ten title and national championship aspirations on the line.

It's a must-win game on Saturday, and Ohio State 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 also joined by special teams coordinator Parker Fleming for the final portion of the show.

Ryan Day Radio Show

Ryan Day

On last week's win
  • "Week after week you're playing against really good opponents."
  • Day said they enjoyed the win, but not for very long.
  • "Nothing really matters besides this game."
  • "It's a big run that we're going under.
  • Ryan Day Ohio State hasn’t been practicing in pads on Wednesday for the last couple of weeks as it looks to keep players healthy for the stretch run.
On players reaching offensive milestones
  • "It's more about the team," Day said.
  • Day notes there's so much that goes into individual numbers.
  • "As long as everyone's a part of this thing, everyone's going to get recognized in the end."
On Garrett Wilson's performance against Purdue
  • "He didn't like not playing, he loves to play."
  • "Certainly, it was unbelievable."
  • Day said he has a "different look in his eye" this week. "I know he likes to play in the big games.
On the young receivers buried on the depth chart
  • "I think they understand. They also want to play."
  • "I think they understand we've got a special group here."
  • "Their time's going to come."
On getting everyone the ball
  • "The goal is to win the game."
  • "Anytime you start to deviate from that in terms of touches, you get your offense out of whack."
  • "Just keep playing. The ball's going to find you."
On the young players playing experienced
  • "We're in a much different place than we were 10 games ago."
  • "At least we know what we have now."
  • "We have a really good handle of who we are and our personnel."
  • Day said the challenge now is sustaining this level of play.
  • "It's going to be good to see some guys who don't have a ton of experience play in the big games."
On the gameday atmosphere
  • "This week, we've talked about the distractions."
  • "This is what we work all summer, all offseason for these types of situations."
  • "It's not the best team that wins, it's the team that plays the best."
  • "We've just got to lock in and play well on Saturday."
On punt coverage
  • "I think maybe if they're not No. 1 in the country, they're top five," Day notes.
  • Day notes Michigan State has two punt return touchdowns this season.
  • "We've got to do a good job."
On Michigan State
  • "On offense, they've done a really good job of upgrading their offense this year."
  • Day called Kenneth Walker III "one of the best running backs in the country"
  • "They've got a lot of weapons."
  • "Across the board, they're a very, very good offense."
  • "One of the better-coached teams we've played."
  • "We're in for a battle here."
On defending a running back like Walker
  • "You've got to defeat blocks and you've got to win your one-on-ones."
  • Day said it's important to bring him down on first contact
  • "Certainly, we've got to tackle well, but if you miss a tackle you've got to have someone else there."
On missing last year's Michigan State game
  • "Certainly that was one of the worst weeks I've been through."
  • "I was screaming and yelling."
  • "It was not good to watch your team play and not be there."
  • "That was a very strange experience."
  • "Very, very difficult to watch your team on TV."
On familiarity with the staff at Michigan State
  • "A lot of respect for those guys."
  • Day said he respects both what Mel Tucker and Mark Dantonio before him did there.
  • "It's always difficult to play Michigan State and they have a great team again."
On the backup running backs this season
  • "We knew we were going to have to play a lot of running backs this year."
  • "Miyan and Master have been important."
  • Day notes they've both dealt with injuries this year.
  • "We're going to need those guys."
  • "In games like this, ball security is going to be critically important."
  • "It's good to see those guys get some snaps under their belt so we can count on them late in the season."
  • Asked about two-back sets, Day notes that it would mean taking a wide receiver off the field and "it's kind of hard to take those guys off the field."
On Senior Day
  • "It's not the last game of the season, though," Day notes.
  • "Playing the last game in the Horseshoe is emotional, though."
  • Day said he tries to get his players to feel the emotion throughout the season so it doesn't all bottle up on Senior Day.
  • "While I think it can be a distraction, it can also be a motivator."
  • "It'll be emotional for me just to see these guys who have been through so much."
  • Day notes this team has been there since he took over as head coach.
  • "These guys are going to go on to great careers."
What a player has to do to lose their black stripe
  • "I know it means a lot to the players. More than I even thought when I first got here."
  • "We try to make it real. We don't just hand that out."
  • "We celebrate that. It's a big deal."
On walk-on Chris Booker
  • "He's been special teams player of the week I think three or four times."
  • "I think even if he does want to come back for another year," Day said, "we would love to have him."
  • "He's a big part of what we do here. He's a tremendous Buckeye."
  • Day said there's a lot of "moving parts" on if he'd be able to get another year.

Parker Fleming

On Chris Booker
  • Fleming said he approaches his role “as a job.”
  • Fleming is really impressed with how professional he is every day.
On Jesse Mirco not punting
  • Fleming said it’s become a joke on third down that they never punt.
  • “They’re the No. 1 punt return team in the country,” Fleming notes of Michigan State.
  • “They’re dynamic back there.”
On kickoff coverage
  • “We have to prepare like they’re taking everyone out.”
  • “We don’t know if they’re going to return it or not.”
  • Fleming notes that sometimes chaos happens, like last week's fumble, and you have to be prepared.
On Noah Ruggles
  • "He’s a mature guy that takes every day like it’s *the* day"
  • "He approaches every kick like it’s a game-winner
  • Fleming jokes that they don't like to talk about his perfect streak on field goals like it's a pitcher pitching a perfect game in baseball.
  • "Good process leads to good products.”
On Special teams play translating to other areas of the game
  • Fleming notes that special teams play is still “all playing football”
  • "Some of the same techniques shoe up in every aspect."
  • Fleming notes that special teams play can translate to any other position. Every play is playing football.”

Ryan Day's Thursday Press Conference

  • Day says “it looks like” the Buckeyes will reinstate backup QB Jack Miller this afternoon after his OVI charge was dropped to a reckless op. 
  • Day says Senior Day “will be emotional for me” because the group was around when was a first-time head coach, and due to everything they went through with COVID-19 last season.
  • Day says recruiting in Ohio is the “foundation” of the Buckeyes’ strategy, and Day says it’s great to have players as talented as the ones that have been coming out of the state in recent years.
  • Day says he won’t spend much time talking about C.J. Stroud’s Heisman candidacy, but that if he continues to play as well as he has as of late, he should be a “very strong candidate” for the award.
  • Day says “when you come from the state up north, you have to embrace Ohio State and everything we stand for. Day says Bradley Robinson has done “a great job” bringing up the younger guys in the special teams room. “When you think of a longsnapper, you don’t necessarily think of a leader,” but that Robinson has fit that mold.
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