After a top-five matchup with Notre Dame in its season opener, Ohio State will host Arkansas State of the Sun Belt conference this weekend. Ryan Day took to the radio waves to preview his team's game with the Red Wolves.
Here are some of the highlights from The Ryan Day Radio Show on 97.1 The Fan:
On the environment for the Notre Dame game
- "It was fun."
- "An hour before the game, it looked like there weren't a lot of empty seats."
- Day said he was happy with how Buckeye fans responded to his call to make Ohio Stadium loud for the season opener.
On how his staff studied Arkansas State while preparing for Notre Dame
- "It comes at you fast after the preseason. We have to keep building."
- Day said he and his staff studied Arkansas State in the offseason and have worked ahead on scouting them. He said the Buckeyes were heavily focused on Notre Dame but still have a good understanding of the Red Wolves. "We had a lot of people work ahead."
On what his team did and didn't do well against Notre Dame
- "We had to run the football. I thought we did that and came out in the second half and played some good football."
- Day said he wasn't expecting to lose Jaxon Smith-Njigba but was proud of how the other receivers stepped up in his absence.
- "We would have liked to have scored at the end of the half but didn't execute. We also missed the field goal which was disappointing. We would have liked to have scored there."
On the 14-play, 95-yard drive ending in a Miyan Williams touchdown
- "We knew that if we got a couple of first downs there we could run out the clock."
- "You could see it in their eyes that they wanted to win the game."
- "You could see how excited they were... really proud of how they ended it there."
- Day said Ohio State controlled the fourth quarter of the Notre Dame game and that's what sealed the Buckeyes' 11-point win over the Irish.
On needing depth at wide receiver against Notre Dame
- "We needed those guys to step up and to see Xavier step up like that was awesome."
- "He practices, and that's why he was ready for that moment."
- Day said Emeka Egubka and Marvin Harrison Jr. also stepped up and played well. "They played a lot and that was good. Good to see some other guys step up." He mentioned Jayden Ballard and tight end Cade Stover as players who impressed him.
On Miyan Williams, TreVeyon Henderson, the offensive line
- "We finished blocks and played with good pad level."
- "I thought Miyan and Tre both ran hard, were physical and finished off runs."
- Day said the running backs "play downhill" on short-yardage situations and said he saw that on Saturday.
On C.J. Stroud
- "He played his best in the second half."
- Day said he was impressed with how Stroud adjusted to several different looks that Notre Dame's defense gave him.
- Day said Stroud understands that the running game is important to his opportunities at quarterback. "A good defense and a good running game open up the passing game."
On the Ohio State defense
- "I thought we looked well-coached out there. It's a start."
- Day said it could have been easy to say "here we go again" when Notre Dame busted out a huge gain on its first offensive play, but he said, "nobody panicked."
- "Last year, they would have panicked a little bit. This time it did not happen."
On the offense taking pride in executing
- "You have to execute at a high level and take pride in the execution."
- Day said creating offense comes with proper execution and believes his team has bought into that mentality so far this season.
On how his team can improve moving foward
- "A lot of people say that the biggest improvement comes from Week 1 to Week 2."
- Day said there are "certainly a lot of things" that Ohio State can do better in their second game. "We were far from perfect."
- Day said his team needs to evolve from week to week like the iPhone evolves each year. "Each week we have to upgrade... We gotta keep growing each week, and we have to do that this Saturday."
On the Arkansas State coaching staff, its players
- "They have very good coaches. Butch Jones is someone I really respect."
- "They are very capable."
- Day said they have around 27 new players on their roster via the transfer portal.
On who the fastest players are in Ohio State's program
- Day said there are few players on his roster that reach 22 mph to 23 mph on the offense. "Marvin and Emeka get up there. Jaxon. I think TreVeyon can get up there."
- On defense, Day said the defensive backs are the quickest. He said Denzel Burke, JK Johnson and Cam Brown are among the fastest.
On Mike Hall
- "He's shown he can do it. Now he has to do it week in and week out."
- "If you came to practice then you wouldn't be surprised about Mike."
- Day said he looks forward to seeing Hall continue to build off of his Week 1 performance against Notre Dame.
On the linebackers
- Day said the linebackers are well-coached and Knowles has done an excellent job with the linebackers.
- "They are building depth right now and have done an excellent job."
- Day said he's been pleased with Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers and the way they've prepared themselves for this season.
On Reid Carrico
- "Reid, like a lot of those guys, is working hard."
- "If he keeps working, he'll be on the field soon."
- Day said Carrico has been earning his reps in practice and wants to find ways to get him on the field.
On the receivers and getting them the ball in the passing game
- "Our one-on-ones we should win on the outside against most of the guys we are gonna play."
- "We got Cade involved a little bit, and we'd love to get him involved more."
- Day said he wants to keep involving Williams and Henderson in the passing game because they can win against one-on-one coverage.
- Day said Williams made a "huge play" for Ohio State when he caught Stroud's role-out pass on 3rd-and-3 in the Buckeyes' fourth-quarter drive.
On the penalties Ohio State received in Week 1
- "All three of those (penalties) came with tempo."
- "We have talent – great – but we want to be known for being disciplined."
- “We don’t want to be known as a talented team. We want to be known as a skilled team, a disciplined team and a tough team.”
- "It's the pre-snap stuff and the stuff that we can control that we need to better at."
On Lathan Ranson
- "To see him play the way that he did in this preseason, the things he did out there, that was a good start for him."
- "He's got good range, he's smart and he's physical, so he can be a really good safety."
- Day said Ransom will continue being an impact player for the Buckeyes along with Josh Proctor, Ronnie Hickman and Tanner McCalister.
On Jayden Fielding, Jesse Mirco
- When asked if he was thankful to have a kicker who could kick the ball out of the end zone, Day said, "Thank God."
- Day said Fielding did everything he and Parker Fleming asked by putting the special teams in a position to give the defense a good field position.
- Day complimented Mirco for his efforts on Saturday and said it was a significant advantage to have a good field position from Mirco's punts. "We have to win the field position game."
On the defense against Notre Dame
- “I thought they played fast.”
- “They didn’t worry about making mistakes.”
- “If they get something wrong, that’s on me. I think that helps them play fast.”
- “They never flinched, and I thought that was great.”
On how his defense is able to play at a high level
- “I think the strength of our defense is up front.”
- “The safeties give people problems.”
- “We have some multiplicity in the defense.”
On Arkansas State quarterback James Blackman
- “He’s a guy that has some big-time experience in some great environments. We’re gonna have to pressure him and make sure he feels that pressure.”
- “You don’t want to give him any easy throws or easy looks. You have to make them earn everything they get.”
On the environment in Ohio Stadium against Notre Dame
- “Having a defense that everyone can rely on in that kind of environment makes it hard in that environment.”
- “The players don’t flinch, the crowd doesn’t flinch… you can build it on that.”
On coaching from the box
- “That’s a great view. That’s very high, and I can see everything.”
- Knowles said that he looked forward to being the box for the Notre Dame game. “We have such a quality group of coaches that I trust to be down there. I can be up there and see everything.”
Ryan Day’s Thursday Press Conference
- On Emeka Egbuka returning punts: “I thought Emeka did fine.” Day says the punter from Notre Dame “mishit a couple” so the Buckeyes moved Egbuka up, and that his positioning was more on the coaching staff than on him. Day says Cam Martinez could get a shot to return punts if JSN is out.
- On the impact of a healthy Cam Brown: “He has had some injuries along the way and I know he wants to be healthy this year. … It makes a big difference to our defense, for sure.”
- Day says “we know in the offseason, we gotta play good defense we gotta stop the run. That’s something we spent a lot of time on.” Day says teams will put two high safeties in the defensive backfield and drop eight players in order to shut down their passing game. “The focus has to be winning games.”
- Day says “there’s a good relationship between all those guys” in the quarterback room, and that everybody is getting reps. “You’re one snap away, sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. … I know they’re working hard to prepare for that moment.”
- Day says more Buckeyes will have an opportunity to play the longer the season goes, “certainly on special teams.” Day says “guys deserve to play.”
- Day says guys like Xavier Johnson, Jerron Cage and Matt Jones have had a chance to shine because they weren’t quick to leave the program when they could have. “There’s so many advantages to being part of this program.” Day says “hats off to those guys for sticking it out.”
- On the Mike Hall-Aaron Donald comparison: “One thing we can’t do is listen to the noise. … He’s got very high-end potential, and when he’s hungry, he can be a very, very good player.”
- “What I don’t want to do is get in the way” of Jim Knowles and the Buckeye defense. Day says “when you’re in games like that, you gotta be smart” on defense. Day says Knowles was “calculated” on Saturday.
- On false start penalties: “We can’t have that on offense.” Day says there were some “tough” penalties called on OSU as well.
- Day says Luke Wypler has had a “good week” and “we’ll continue to evaluate him.” On Matt Jones playing with a 102-degree fever, Day says “to see someone gut it out like that means a lot.”
- On if he’s involved with who starts on defense, Day says “at the end of the day when it comes to personnel, I have the final decision.”
- Day says the plan is for Lathan Ransom to start at bandit safety but for Josh Proctor to play as well. Proctor started last week but played just five snaps.