Presser Bullets: Ryan Day Expects "Big Challenge" in Wisconsin Matchup, Jim Knowles Critiques Defensive Performance Against Toledo

By Griffin Strom on September 20, 2022 at 12:38 pm

Ohio State begins its run through a nine-game Big Ten gauntlet in just four days.

With Wisconsin waiting in the wings, Ryan Day discussed the forthcoming matchup with the Badgers at his Tuesday press conference at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. The Buckeye head coach also discussed the fallout from Saturday's 77-21 win over Toledo and issued injury updates regarding several banged-up Buckeyes.

After Day, Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and Buckeye quarterback C.J. Stroud answered questions at the podium as well.

Check out a bullet-point breakdown of everything Day, Knowles and Stroud said at Tuesday's press conference below.

Ryan Day

  • "Any time you're in conference play, it ramps up a little bit, it means a little bit more." Day says Wisconsin has "very good players" and that Graham Mertz is an excellent quarterback. "This is gonna be a big challenge."
  • Day says "whatever happened the week before doesn't really matter" and the Buckeyes need a good week of practice. "There are certainly things to grow on."
  • On Wisconsin's playing style: "They have an identity, for sure. ... They're not going to deviate from their plan. And they've been very successful, so why would they?" Day says "they're a lot more multiple than you think," however.
  • Day says "it's kind of the epitome of the Big Ten" to play against Wisconsin, due to their style of play.
  • On Dallan Hayden: "The number one thing is he took care of the ball, and he has to do that going forward. ... He hit some holes and created some explosive plays for us."
  • On cornerback play: "We gotta do a better job of making plays. ... You gotta do your job and make sure the other guy doesn't catch the football."
  • On Harry Miller discussing mental health at an event tonight: "The courage of a young man that's had an impact on so many people. We knew Harry was special, we knew he would impact people, but we never would've imagined something like this."
  • Day says Cade Stover's "heart was on defense" but realized his "ceiling is at tight end."
  • Day says TreVeyon Henderson's injury is a "short-term thing."
  • On offensive play calling: "Kevin and I make the final decisions, but Brian Hartline has great ideas and Justin Frye has great ideas and Tony (Alford)." Day says "the best idea wins."
  • "I have a lot of respect for (Wisconsin defensive coordinator) Jim Leonhard, always have. His defenses are always some of the best in the country."
  • Day says "the players responded" to a physical week of practice ahead of the Toledo matchup. Day says he gets more worked up on Tuesday and Wednesday than he does on Saturdays.
  • On Jordan Hancock: "It's been a while now since he's practiced for us. He's close, but he's not where he needs to be right now to get on the field."
  • Day says Gee Scott Jr. didn't think his career would go like this when he came to Ohio State, but that he has "a chance to be a really good football player because he just keep putting one foot in front of the other." Days says "he's gonna be an asset for us on offense this year and moving forward."
  • Day says "there's been a lot of improvement" among the tight end unit over the last several months.
  • "Any team can beat you, and you can beat any team. ... We know about Wisconsin, we know about style of play. This is a really good team that plays really hard."
  • On the potential to use some three-linebacker looks against Wisconsin: "They do certainly have some things they like to get into that are different than what we do on offense."
  • Day says Stover, Scott and Mitch Rossi all graded out as champions against Toledo.
  • On having three night games in four games to open the season: "It's been great for recruiting. ... I do like when noon games are over at about 4:30 and you can go home and enjoy the rest of the day." Day says the atmosphere in a night game is unmatched, though.
  • "The challenge is the competitive stamina and can we do it week in and week out. ... It'll be the best quarterback we've seen, it'll be the best running back we've seen."
  • On Luke Wypler: "He's typical of a center. He's type A. I see him in here doing extra work, watching extra film. ... He and Justin (Frye) have built a really good relationship."
  • On the pre-conference schedule: "In those three games, there's been some boxes we can at least check. ... Not that we have all the answers right now."

Jim Knowles

  • Knowles says Lathan Ransom's physicality and versatility will be an asset for the Buckeyes against a team like Wisconsin.
  • "You never feel totally comfortable. That's life as a defensive coordinator in big-time college football, because it's not like the NFL. It changes week to week in what you face."
  • On Denzel Burke: "Denzel's serious about his craft. ... Life on an island is difficult, particularly at Ohio State." Knowles says "we have 100% confidence in him."
  • Knowles says the "silver bullet caliber" against Toledo's Finn at quarterback "wasn't there." Knowles says it was "near impossible" to simulate a scrambling quarterback. "We didn't execute very well."
  • On the Buckeyes' run defense: "It's been good. It can get a lot better. I think that last week could've been better. I'm still looking for us to dominate in all aspects at the point of attack. We're not there yet."
  • On if Mike Hall will play on Saturday: "That's what they tell me. That's above my paygrade."
  • On giving up big plays in the passing game: "Every single explosive play is concerning. It's not the end of the world."
  • On stopping the run in a 4-2-5: "I only concern myself with production. I don't care about three-down or four-down or how it looks in my head." Knowles says "if you can create indecision with the offensive line ... you give your guys an advantage. In essence, you're playing offense on defense."
  • Knowles says "if you get (Wisconsin) behind the sticks, you give yourself a better chance."
  • Knowles says the Buckeyes didn't use a non-quarterback to simulate Finn's scrambling ability in practice.
  • On Cam Martinez filling in for Tanner McCalister: "I felt like he was game-ready going into the season. If I feel like guys are game-ready, I'm completely comfortable with them and confident. He did a great job."
  • Knowles says the Buckeye safeties are "understanding the system" and now OSU can "plug and play guys" at some of those positions."
  • On success from the DT position: "If we're putting up good numbers in the run, then our tackles are doing the grunt work and doing a lot of good things."
  • Knowles says "it'll be a battle" against Wisconsin.
  • Knowles says "shots are gonna be fired" and "you have to have thick skin" if you're a CB or member of the Buckeye secondary.
  • On C.J. Stroud: "We're fortunate to go against him and our receiving corps." Knowles says "it makes us better."
  • On forcing two takeaways against Toledo: "Scheming to get turnovers is dangerous. One or two things, maybe, but they have to come in the natural order of the game."
  • On Braelon Allen: "He's different. Big, strong back. In the big back category, he's as good as any I have seen. We need to make sure we have good form when we tackle him."

C.J. Stroud

  • Stroud says you can find tendencies in old defenses in order to have a better understanding of why certain plays may or may not work against a team like Wisconsin.
  • Stroud says Stover has always been good at running man-to-man routes, but got a lot better at zone routes over the offseason. Stroud says Stover and Rossi come run routes with him during special teams, which helps their chemistry on the field.
  • On Luke Wypler: "We didn't really want to switch anything" from last year. Stroud says "we're leaders on the offense, I definitely feel like me and him will continue to do great things." Stroud says he's "really outgoing" and somebody "people actually talk to in the Woody."
  • On scrambling more as of late: "Whatever you are on film is who you are, at least in the football world."
  • Stroud says he tries to cherish moments with his teammates because he knows a college career will be over before he knows it.
  • "I put it where only Marvin and Emeka can get it, I guess."
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