Presser Bullets: Ryan Day Says Cade Stover Has "High Ceiling" At Tight End, Jim Knowles Says Buckeyes Have Started Implementing Jack Position

By Griffin Strom on March 29, 2022 at 11:09 am

Tuesday marked the sixth practice of the spring for Ohio State, with eight more to go before the Buckeyes' spring game on April 16.

Ryan Day updated the progress of his 2022 roster at a press conference at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center following the conclusion of practice, with defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson following the Buckeye head coach at the podium.

For a full rundown of everything the Ohio State coaches said Tuesday, check out the bullet points below.

Ryan Day

  • On Cade Stover moving back to tight end, Day says he "always saw himself as a linebacker," but "moving forward he's got a huge ceiling at tight end."
  • Day says the Buckeye defense is "playing with confidence" and looks improved physically so far during spring. Day says the group will do some tackling this spring.
  • On the offensive line, Day says "we're asking each guy to figure out their strengths and weaknesses." 
  • On the tight end position, Day says they're "getting better" and that it's the same group minus Jeremy Ruckert. "We're not there right now in terms of packages."
  • On Tanner McCalister losing his black stripe, Day says "he's almost like a coach out there. His experience really shows up on the field. His feels comfortable in this style of defense."
  • Day says Paris Johnson is "better suited for tackle," but that Thayer Munford may end up playing both tackle and guard in the NFL. Day says "in a perfect world you'd like to have more squared away, thicker guards" than the Buckeyes might have had last season.
  • On whether or not Stover's move to tight end is permanent, Day says "never say never."
  • On Josh Proctor, Day says "I wish he could do more. He's kind of just getting started with individual drills. ... He's kind of inching his way back."
  • Day says Donovan Jackson was probably the seventh or eighth man on the offensive line last season, and that the Buckeyes didn't want to "overwhelm" him with too much as a true freshman.
  • Day says Dawand Jones "wanted to come back and be a first- or second-rounder" in the NFL draft.
  • Day says Mitchell Melton's pass-rushing ability has shown itself here in the first several practices.
  • On Melton and Stover moving away from the LB position: "There is a little bit of a logjam at linebacker, especially in a 4-2-5. ... Guys are trying to find their role on the team."
  • On Taron Vincent, Day says "he flashed at times and he has a lot of ability." Day says he has "some leadership skills about him."
  • On the new helmet C.J. Stroud has been wearing, Day says they will get some feedback on whether or not it has been beneficial.
  • Day says TreVeyon Henderson has "the potential to be as good as anybody in the country."
  • On Proctor, Day says he's "rangy," "extremely physical" and will "absolutely get after you." Day says "he also has really good ball skills," and that when he plays at his best, "he's all over the place."
  • On his time spent with Stroud, Day says "you try not to change just because it's year two."
  • On Stover's move, he says there have been "constant conversations" about it since the Rose Bowl, and that they will "continue to talk about it."
  • Day doesn't expect Proctor to partake in team drills this spring.

Jim Knowles

  • Knowles says Tommy Eichenberg has been "mastering the defense" and is "quiet but fierce" at linebacker.
  • Knowles has seen "nothing but good things out of Chip (Trayanum)."
  • Knowles says the Buckeyes started working on implementing the Jack position on Tuesday, and that Jack Sawyer has stood out to him at that spot. Mitchell Melton is another player that has stood out to Knowles in the position, and says Javontae Jean-Baptiste, Caden Curry and Palaie Gaoteote have all gotten a look there as well.
  • Sonny Styles will begin his career at the safety position, Knowles says.
  • "Linebacker is a feel kind of game, like a running back. The best will play a bunch, but you want more guys competing, you want guys tugging on your shirt saying, 'Why am I not in there?'"
  • Knowles says he was prepared to face a lot of 12 personnel at Oklahoma State, but that "12 didn't play like 12" in the Big 12. Knowles expects to play Ohio State's Sam linebacker package more than Oklahoma State ever had to this season.
  • Every day the Buckeyes have a practice in pads, there is a staff vote on who the "Silver Bullet of the Day" is.
  • On Reid Carrico, Knowles says "Reid has a chance. Quiet guy, but he's definitely determined. I see him making progress every day."
  • Knowles says the Jack position started as a "run game disruptor," but that it developed into having multiple other uses from there.
  • Knowles says the Buckeyes are calling the lineup with the Jack position "the Jet package."
  • Knowles on Proctor: "We need him, we want him, he's a guy that can really change the game."
  • Knowles says "up front, it's been very impressive to me. Changing the line of scrimmage at the rate at which we rush the passer, that part of it has been very impressive."
  • On adjusting to a new city, Knowles says "I love Columbus" and is more of a "city guy." Calls being in Stillwater "life on the plains."
  • Knowles says "I love Ronnie (Hickman). ... I think he's a great piece in the middle there to run the show." Knowles says Kourt Williams is a great leader, but needs to work on his ability to match up with opposing wide receivers.
  • Knowles says Lejond Cavazos has been working at the nickel safety position.
  • Knowles says he would eventually consider J.T. Tuimoloau, but not right now necessarily.
  • On if Joey and Nick Bosa would have been good candidates to play the Jack, Knowles says some players are so good at what they do that you wouldn't want to mess with their natural position too much.

Kevin Wilson

  • On Stover, Wilson says "I probably have more respect for him after he went to defense because he truly became one of the premier leaders on this team." Wilson says neither him nor Day asked Stover to come back to tight end, but that he wanted to give it a shot. Wilson says Stover "looked OK" at tight end Tuesday.
  • On if this year's offense is the "most stacked" he's had: "I don't know, we've had some good ones." Wilson says what ends up unfolding at tight end will go a long way in determining that.
  • On C.J. Stroud's improvement at seeing what he needs to see on the field, Wilson says "one of the best ways you know what a guy sees is you just ask him what he sees. ... The more you trust what the quarterback sees, the more aggressive you can be as a play caller."
  • Wilson says Knowles has "done it long enough that he's got things he believes in" on defense, and that the defense has done a great job of having multiple looks and making the offense think before the snap. "The more the quarterback has to work, the harder the game." Wilson says Knowles has a "dry sense of humor, it appears," and that "he's a great coach."
  • Wilson says C.J. Stroud is a "very adequate runner," but "he's not an elite running threat."
  • Wilson says to be the offense Ohio State needs to be, the offensive line and tight ends must be a big part of things up front.
  • "It's gonna be hard to keep everybody happy at every position. It's a challenge. ... They gotta embrace the grind, they gotta embrace the muck and the dirty."
  • On Dawand Jones, Wilson says he must continue to improve his ability to be dominant handling opposing pass-rushers one-on-one. "Dawand and Paris both have to be guys that are great one-on-one."
  • Wilson says Matt Jones "has been awesome. ... He's a starter and he's actually been playing really good. ... He has a chance to have a really good year."
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