Ryan Day Radio Show: Ohio State’s Head Coach Sees Room for Improvement, Wants Buckeyes to Bring It This Weekend Against Toledo

By Chase Brown and Griffin Strom on September 15, 2022 at 1:12 pm

After Ohio State's 45-12 win over Arkansas State in Week 2, head coach Ryan Day took to the airwaves to discuss the Buckeyes' performance and preview his team's matchup with Toledo on Saturday.

Here are some of the highlights from The Ryan Day Radio Show on 97.1 The Fan:

Ryan Day

On his team's competitive stamina in Week 2

  • "There are still a lot of things we can get better at."
  • "We have to bring it every week. We certainly have to bring again this week."
  • Day said his team respects Toledo and what they bring to the table.

On the transfer portal

  • "We probably still don't have a great grasp of the landscape and how it will affect college football."
  • Day said he is happy for Dallas Gant and his ability to earn playing time at Toledo after transferring from Ohio State. "That's the positive side of (the portal)."

On Arkansas State receiver Champ Flemmings and his performance

  • "Those guys like that who are really good in short areas are hard to get down."
  • "Once he gets out in space, it's hard to take him down."
  • "He's got really good speed and can change direction. It was good for our guys to take him down."

On Marvin Harrison Jr. and his three-touchdowns against Arkansas State

  • "I thought the game slowed down for Marvin."
  • "In that first game, it was all moving fast, but he played within himself and had an opportunity for four touchdowns (against Arkansas State)."
  • Day said the final touchdown for Harrison was well-executed. “Usually fade balls, you put a bunch of air on it, he had to turn it over because he knew it was a tight window there with the corner and safety, and then Marvin went up and made a really contested catch. ...That was well done, and that was good to have in the bank."

On halftime adjustments against Arkansas State

  • "Coming out in the second half of the last two games, we have been really solid."
  • "When you score, get a three-and-out and score again, then you get a chance to score 14 points really fast."
  • Day said continuing to be strong in the first drives after halftime could be the difference in Ohio State winning or losing games this season.

On Emeka Egbuka, Xavier Johnson and the wide receiver room

  • Day said Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming's injuries have opened up opportunities for other players to make an impact. "We certainly miss those guys. We are not the same offense without them, but it's been good for other guys to step up."
  • Day said he looks forward to having Smith-Njigba and Fleming back in the lineup as soon as this weekend.

On fixing penalties, improving clean play

  • "We have to play with emotion. We can't let emotions play with us."
  • Day said Ohio State's coaching staff is doing everything it can to fix its penalties. "We gotta get it fixed."
  • Day said the Buckeyes need to be more disciplined and can't continue to hurt themselves with penalties.

On the Ohio State defense keeping teams from scoring touchdowns

  • "We see that with our defense now."
  • "Anytime we keep a team out of the end zone, it's a good day."
  • Day said his defense has been good and believes that they will continue to improve, not only keeping teams out of the end zone but also keeping them from field goals and scoring any points.
  • Day said Jim Knowles has wanted more "goon-on-good" reps in the practices leading up to the Toledo game.

On Steele Chambers, Tommy Eichenberg

  • "Very productive."
  • "Tommy's leadership has really helped Steele and Cody."
  • "There's good intelligence in that room and relationships being built there."

On Mike Hall, the defensive line.

  • "Our TFLs have been up for sure. Our sacks have been up for sure."
  • Day said the entire defensive line had played a big part in making opposing offenses take negative plays. He added that Knowles believes the front seven is the most important part of the defense and puts a lot of trust in those players to cause disruption.

On the special teams

  • "We spent a ton of time working on the gunners and jammers this week."
  • "We've done a decent job on the pooch and playing the field position game."
  • Day said Palaie Gaoteote, Steele Chambers and Chip Trayanum have done a good job of putting stress on the opposing team and their returners.

On Chip Trayanum possibly returning kicks and punts

  • "We're hoping to get the ball in his hands."
  • Day said he looks forward to having Trayanum as a part of the kick return and punt return teams. He said Trayanum can reach and exceed 21 miles per hour when he hits a straight-away run.

On having gadget plays, two-point conversion plays in his playbook

  • Day said he has a few gadget plays in his back pocket each week. He also has a few goal-line plays that he can use in two-point conversion situations.
  • "We usually have four or five different plays that we will use in the goal line to the 10-yard area."

On the tight ends steeping up against Arkansas State

  • "It was good to see."
  • "We are trying to get those guys more involved."
  • "Anytime you can have those guys as a part of the passing game it's good."

On the offensive line

  • "Sometimes you don't know if you're making progress."
  • "I think we're seeing it. We'll have to keep building on it and go from there."
  • Day said Justin Frye has been doing a lot of work to improve the unit and keeping them focused on getting better each practice.

On Toledo

  • "This is a team with a really good defense."
  • "We know Dallas (Gant) is a very good player, so he's a part of it at linebacker."
  • Day said the Ohio State defense will have to keep its eyes on quarterback Dequan Finn and his ability to throw and run the football.
  • Day said the Rockets' offense is talented with Finn at the helm. He also pointed out that their play calling will challenge the Buckeyes. "Jason Candle, their head coach, is very involved with the offense. He is a very good coach."

On if he takes into account his teams rankings in the polls

  • "Doesn't mean anything. Later in the year, I get it, but right now, it doesn't mean anything."
  • "Focus on winning. If you keep winning, good things will happen."
  • "You have to make sure that you are continually grinding to get better."
  • Day said his team knows that it needs to improve and understands "what we're up against" each week of the season. He wants his players to be ready for any challenges that lie ahead.

On C.J. Stroud

  • "Very good play. He has a good grasp of the offense."
  • "We all have things we need to improve on. He's not any different, but he's had very good play so far."
  • Day said Stroud has continued to impress him as a leader and worked to bring his teammates along with him when Ohio State faces adversity.
  • Day said Stroud has extended plays well so far this season and showed athleticism in several ways.

On TreVeyon Henderson, Miyan Williams

  • "It started in the first game by the way that they ran."
  • Day said Henderson and Williams run the ball hard and are tough to bring down once they get the football in their hands. He added that Ohio State has to "be able to run the ball" whenever it needs to.
  • Day said it's important for the running backs and the offensive line to be in harmony. When they are, good things happen. When they aren't, the opposite occurs.

On the potential for having walk-on tryouts in the future

  • "Right now, we keep our roster to 121... We have a few guys who are on call if we need some other guys on the team."
  • "You never know, maybe we will do (a walkon tryout) again."
  • Day said there are 110 players in practice each day. There are 85 scholarship players and the other 25 are walk-on players who help the team at different positions and in various capacities.
  • Day said Chris Booker was "unbelievable" for Ohio State during his years in the program and said the team might have found him in the last walk-on tryout the Buckeyes held.

Justin Frye

On the offensive line's performance through two weeks

  • “We’ve played really well up front.”
  • Frye said the offensive lineman have been physical. He understands it’s a cliche but thinks that’s the best word to describe the Buckeyes who play in that room.
  • “We talk about good-on-good… it gets us ready for the game.”

On engaging with his players in practice

  • Frye said he loves everything about practicing with his players. He wants to continue challenging them to remain engaged during their reps.
  • Frye said his offensive line has been growing in toughness and the desire to win matchups regardless of whether or not the defense knows what is coming.
  • “At the end of the day, they know you’re gonna run it, and you know you’re gonna run it. You have to explode off the ball.”

On the need for Ohio State to improve this weekend

  • “We gotta get better every week… it doesn’t matter who you’re playing.”
  • Frye said he’s preached that his players need to win every rep. If they don’t win every rep in practice, then they will also lose reps in the game.

On playing backups against Arkansas State

  • Frye said he relished the opportunity to put backups in the game against Arkansas State. “It was fun to see the look on their faces.”
  • Frye said the film session after the matchup with the Red Wolves was fun because he could offer some feedback from in-game reps.
  • "It keeps them hungry."

Ryan Day’s Thursday Press Conference

  • On Trayanum returning kicks: “He has running back experience, so he’s carried the ball in college games. When you look at his numbers on the GPS, he’s really fast. And also he’s got some strength to him.” Day says “we really think he has an opportunity to be a good returner for us.”
  • Day says he assesses games based on where the Buckeyes are improving and where they need to get better, rather than thinking about turning in a “complete game.”
  • On whether or not Trayanum will be the Buckeyes’ primary kick returner for the remainder of the season: “We’ll see how it goes. … The guys believe in him.”
  • Day says “this will be the third game against a quarterback that can beat you with his arm and his feet, so you have to be aware of that.” Day says “if you’re a defensive back and the quarterback’s gonna extend plays longer, you’re gonna have to cover long. … Those are the kind of things you have to be locked in on when playing a mobile quarterback.”
  • On Donovan Jackson, Day says “he’s closed the gap real fast and become a starter, and now become a significant part of the offense.”
  • Day says Arkansas State “did a really good job of challenging us at the line of scrimmage.” Day says its defense was very similar to Ohio State’s previous defense under Urban Meyer.
  • Day says Jack Sawyer has “graded out well” so far playing the Jack position, and that “the more you see these guys on the field, the more productive they’ll be.”
  • On limiting penalties: “There are gonna be some things that are hard to work through, but there’s also other ones that we can certainly control. And those are the ones we want to clean up.”
  • On putting a linebacker back to return kicks: “When you have those bigger, stronger guys that can give you some value in the kickoff return game, then we’ll do that. Hopefully this pays off for us.”
  • Day says to even think about how much time backups will get against Toledo would be a mistake. “Just look what happened around the country last week.”
  • On Fleming, Smith-Njigba and Kamryn Babb: “We’re hoping all those guys will be on the field in pregame warmups and will be available for the weekend.”
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