Before Ohio State opens its Big Ten schedule with Wisconsin on Saturday, Ryan Day took to the airwaves to discuss the Buckeyes' performance against Toledo and preview his team's matchup with the Badgers.
Here are some of the highlights from The Ryan Day Radio Show on 97.1 The Fan:
On his team's fast start against Toledo
- "We wanted to come out of the games strong. We felt like that was an emphasis for us coming out of last week... We had to get some momentum, which set the tone for us."
- Day said he and his staff talked about taking the opening kickoff if they won the coin toss and decided it was best to receive so they could score early.
- "We go back to work this week. We were pretty physical Tuesday and Wednesday."
On having Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming back in Week 3
- "It was good to get depth back a little bit in the receiver room."
- Day said Fleming was "itching to get back" to the field after missing the first two games. He was happy to see Fleming score twice in the game and wants to see more from him moving forward.
- "Jayden Ballard showed up at the end of the game... Overall, when you look at the numbers, it was evenly spread across the receiver room."
On Mitch Rossi's touchdown run from the I formation
- "We felt with Mitch that he gave us a different look there."
- Day said Ohio State's offense has been working on the I formation and other unique looks "for a while now," so he was thankful the Buckeyes capitalized on that opportunity with the new formation.
- "That's a different package that we can expand upon and work on."
On younger and inexperienced players earning reps against Toledo
- "This was great to see some of the guys get on the field and play. These are the games we missed a couple of years ago."
- "It allows them to get a body of work over time and have those snaps accumulate over time."
- Day said his team wasn't afforded the opportunities to play younger players during the COVID season in 2020, so he is thankful they have that chance now.
On Sonny Styles and the Ohio State freshmen
- “He’s got a chance to be special ... Usually guys find their way on special teams first before they play on offense or defense, and Sonny’s a good example of that.”
- Day added that Styles is very mature for his age and has been impressed with the maturity of the 2022 class as they have been around him longer. "There are some guys finding their way on defense and Sonny is one of them."
On how his coaching staff prepares inexperienced Buckeyes for action
- "Every week we gotta have guys ready to step up and be ready to play."
- "There's no waiver wire. We gotta develop players. That's why we go out and recruit them."
- Day said the coaching staff sets clear expectations for their players and doesn't ask them to do too much when they enter the game. They want the younger players to get experience and learn.
On TC Caffey's touchdown, Dallan Hayden's performance
- "It was good. Nobody expected that to happen."
- "I thought both of those younger running backs took care of the ball."
- "Dallan ran the ball really well."
On the schematics of Ohio State's scout team
- "When we prepare our scout teams, they watch the opponent's film."
- Day said it is really important for the scout team to be ready for anything they might face. He added that Kevin Wilson and Corey Dennis coach the scout team in practice.
- "There are diverse looks in practice."
On how the coaches balance scout team reps with 'good on good'
- "In the last couple of weeks, we've had nine to 12 'good-on-good' looks for our offense and defense."
- "In order to have physicality, you have to practice that way."
- "We have three days to get ourselves right."
- "The only way to get ready to take on those blocks and get through that front you have to feel it... You may know what to do but physically you have to do it."
On Toledo quarterback Dequan Finn, being disciplined defensively
- "Their quarterback last week was excellent."
- "We can build on those things."
- "We have to be aggressive, go downhill and understand how we fit into the scheme."
- Day said his team needs to be unselfish and disciplined to be successful defensively.
On C.J. Stroud
- "He's got a great personality, but he's very loyal. He doesn't let a lot of people in, and you can't when you're the quarterback at Ohio State, but he's very loyal."
- Day said Stroud is trying to help the other quarterbacks because they are learning "just like he was." He added that Stroud is quick to defend his teammates and make sure they know he has their back.
- "They have an identity. They run the ball, they control the clock, they are physical."
- Day said the Badgers can also throw the football and Ohio State can't underestimate Graham Mertz.
- Day said Wisconsin's defense is one of the best in the country and said the Buckeyes will see a lot of different looks offensively. "They are sound... lots of mix-ups and change-ups."
On Cade Stover and the tight ends
- "Cade and Mitch and those guys have established themselves as blockers."
- "Cade has done a good job getting open downfield... That's become a weapon for us."
- "When you throw the ball and establish the pass on the perimeter, the tight end opens up for us... Hopefully, moving forward we continue to build on it."
- Day said Gee Scott Jr. is carving a good role for himself in the tight end room. "He can do a lot of things... He has versatility."
- Day said Ohio State's tight end room had a tight end in Jeremy Ruckert, a linebacker in Stover, a fullback in Rossi and a wide receiver in Scott last season. He believes they have three fully-fledged tight ends in the room this year. "They had to put years in, and now we’re finally seeing the fruits of all their work."
On Wisconsin's linebackers, front seven
- "The linebackers are big, rugged, strong, powerful."
- Day said Wisconsin's defense is full of playmakers and will challenge Ohio State's offense on Saturday.
- Day added that the Buckeye offensive linemen "will have their hands full" against the Badgers' defensive line.
On the change of weather in Columbus, cold conditions for this weekend
- "The heat helps you work through the fatigue."
- "We have to work through different conditions and be ready to play."
- Day said Ohio State will be ready to go on Saturday when the weather is a little cooler for kickoff then it has been in recent weeks.
On playing games at night
- "When you play games at night, you're not home until probably after midnight. What happens there is you don't get to sleep well... After that, it takes a few days to get back into it."
- "The other thing is that you have to wait all day for the game. The atmosphere is going to be electric."
- Day said there is nothing quite like Ohio Stadium during a night game with 105,000 fans screaming in the stands.
On what makes the Big Ten schedule harder than non-conference
- "Everything is harder."
- "The margin for error is that much bigger. We have to be ready... Every team in the Big Ten is a quality team."
- "Every week you gotta be all in. The chips are all in. This week is certainly going to be one of those weeks."
On how he manages his mental health during football season
- Day said he tries to manage his mental health by going over to the Ty Tucker Tennis Center. He also drives in his car without any music or noise.
- "Sometimes it's hard to get away from all the noise."
- Day said he encourages his staff and coaches to take some time to themselves and try to remove any distractions that may come up during the week leading up to the game.
On collecting the first turnover of 2022
- Eliano said the coaches preached forcing a turnover all week in practice leading up to the Toledo game.
- “The cool thing about Ronnie’s interception is that we watched that particular clip of that play from the year before.”
- Eliano said it was “really cool” to see Hickman celebrated for recording the team’s first interception.
On Wisconsin’s running backs
- “They want to run downhill.”
- “We gotta do a phenomenal job on first down, get them behind the sticks and get them off track.”
- Eliano said Wisconsin has “great backs” and the safeties will need to be ready to make tackles in open space if the Badgers get to the second level and beyond.
On the safety room
- “I love my group. They work extremely hard.”
- “They want to continually work.”
- “We want them to play fast.”
On having eight safeties to play but only three spots on the field
- “There’s a huge standard we have to live up to, but our guys have embraced it.”
- “We have to come to practice every day and be locked in.”
- Eliano said if the safeties aren’t playing well, then Ohio State’s defense could be in trouble, so they understand the need to be on top of their games each time they step on the field.
On Sonny Styles, the younger safeties in his unit
- “The way he approaches the game. He is very, very humble. There is no entitlement. He doesn’t flinch.”
- “What he’s doing each week does not surprise me.”
- Eliano said Kye Stokes is “starting to come into his own” this week in practice and is slowing the game down.
Ryan Day’s Thursday Press Conference
- “Wisconsin epitomizes Big Ten football. They’re well-coached, they have good players, they have a great identity and have for a long time.” Day says Buckeye players grew up watching Wisconsin teams that closely resemble the 2022 version. “They have one of the better teams in the country year in and year out.”
- On injuries to JSN and Fleming: “I think it’s a great opportunity for other guys to step up and make an impact on offense.” Day says “guys who practice get better, and those guys get better.”
- On the physicality of OSU practices, Day says players have been practicing with “more of an edge and more of a physicality.” Day expects the Buckeyes to be well-rested and have “a ton of energy” for the Saturday night game. “It doesn’t guarantee a thing, either.”
- Day says C.J. Stroud’s improvement has been “steady over time” since his first start against Minnesota last season. “I don’t think he has any intention of slowing down.”
- On Ryan Turner losing his black stripe: “Ryan has practiced well over the past few weeks, made some plays. … He’s been getting reps with the first team, second team.”
- On the possibility that JSN and Fleming are “full go” this weekend: “I think so. … So far so good.”
- “Every week is a challenge and it’s our job to accept a challenge.” Day says he doesn’t think the Buckeyes have played a “complete game” so far this season. Day says OSU can’t “pat yourself on the back this time of year.”
- On Graham Mertz and Braelon Allen: “Both those guys are really talented.” Day says Mertz “has some experience and years under his belt” and Allen resembles the great Wisconsin running backs of the past.