Ryan Day Radio Show: Ryan Day Believes Rutgers is “Getting Better Every Year” and Will Keep The Buckeyes On Their Toes in Several Areas on Saturday

By Chase Brown and Griffin Strom on September 29, 2022 at 1:04 pm

After Ohio State's 52-21 win over Wisconsin in Week 4, Ryan Day took to the airwaves to discuss the Buckeyes' performance and preview his team's matchup with Rutgers on Saturday.

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

Ryan Day

On how Ohio State opened the game against Wisconsin

  • "It was good to get off to a fast start."
  • Day said he was happy to see Ohio State go up 14-0 after a solid opening drive with a Cade Stover touchdown, Tanner McCalister's interception and a Miyan Williams score.
  • Day and his coaching staff have conversations "all the time" about whether to take the opening kickoff or defer to the second half. He said there are plenty of pros and cons to both.

On the "Black Out" last weekend

  • "I thought the atmosphere was great. That's how all of our night games have been. They have been electric."
  • Day said the Ohio State players loved wearing the all-black uniforms and thought it was cool to see the fans in attendance take part in that. "The 'Black Out' gave a little extra flavor to it."
  • Day said it was fun to see fans stick around in Ohio Stadium deep into the second half and keep the environment exciting for the players.

On Cade Stover, the tight ends

  • "That battle was won by Cade and our tight ends."
  • "That's where we are a little bit different than we've been in the past. The tight ends are athletic enough in the pass game but are physical enough to block."
  • Day said the tight end's ability to block opens up their opportunities in the passing game, which has helped Stover emerge as a receiving threat.

On having players ready in the DB room

  • "Two first starts for JK and Jyaire Brown... Coach Walton did a good job getting them ready."
  • "It was great to have them get their first start out there."
  • Day said Jim Knowles, Walton and the rest of the defensive staff had many conversations to make sure Johnson and Brown would be ready for that much responsibility against a solid Big Ten team in Wisconsin.
  • "Those guys are ready to go. They're gonna see significant time."

On Braelon Allen's 75-yard touchdown

  • "Going into that series it was my decision to take out Tommy and a handful of guys... The first play goes 75 yards, so I guess that's on me."
  • Day said the consequences are higher in games than they are in practice, which is something the second-string and third-string players are learning each time they step onto the field late in games.
  • Day said there were plenty of teaching moments that came from Allen's touchdown run and added that Knowles, Walton, Larry Johnson and Perry Eliano all had things to say to their players about that play during practice this week.

On Tanner McCalister

  • "The two biggest points in the game were the interception that got us off to the fast start and the pass break-up at the end of the first half."
  • Day said McCalister's plays were the "plays of the game" in his mind. "Both were at major points in the game."
  • Day said McCalister has been getting more comfortable each week since transferring from Oklahoma State in the offseason, claiming McCalister is learning a lot about what it means to be a Buckeye.

On Tommy Eichenberg

  • "He's the leader. He's been strong in there."
  • Day said Eichenberg "doesn't say much," but his teammates build off Eichenberg's energy during the games, which has been great for him and Knowles to see. "The guys are feeding off of him."

On the safeties

  • "It's a safety-driven room... We need more depth there than ever."
  • Day said Ronnie Hickman, Josh Proctor and Tanner McCalister have been playing well for Ohio State's defense and mentioned Hickman as the leader of that unit who gets his teammates set during plays.
  • "He has a very bright future. His work ethic is off the charts, which has been great."

On the offensive line

  • Day offered praise for the unit but said there is still a lot of work to be done in the future. "We gotta make sure we stay hungry... the offensive line is the tip of the spear on offense."
  • Day complimented the offensive line's ability to pass block, saying C.J. Stroud benefits tremendously from the work up front. "The No. 1 thing in the passing game is protection."
  • "That is a position where you have to bring it every week... We are seeing things there we think we can grow upon."

On Greg Schiano

  • Day said Schiano is a phenomenal coach and has been improving the Rutgers program since he took over.
  • "He's very good at building programs, and he's off to a great start again."
  • Day said Ohio State and every other Big Ten program has to respect what the Scarlet Knights are becoming and what Schiano is building in New Jersey.

On the Rutgers offense

  • "They have speed."
  • "They are creative with what they do in their offense."
  • "They're getting better every year."

On the Rutgers defense

  • "This is (the best) defense by far in the three years we've played and that they've had and since Greg has been there."
  • Day said the Scarlet Knights defense played well against Iowa last week and has performed well through the first four weeks of the season. He expects them to play hard on Saturday when Rutgers visits Columbus.

On C.J. Stroud

  • "He has a good handle on what's gonna happen week in and week out."
  • "I think he's gotten into a good comfort level with those around him."
  • Day said Stroud has been good, but he has to "keep getting better and keep improving" each week that he plays.

On Emeka Egbuka

  • "He's a warrior. He plays that way for us."
  • "He's playing at a very high level."
  • Day said Egbuka has "probably the most production out of anyone in that room" and has been impressive in his first four games of the 2022 season.

On the running back room

  • "Two different styles. Tre is that home run hitter that at any point can take it all the way. Miyan is strong and physical... Both of those guys compliment each other really well."
  • Day said Henderson and Williams "pull for each other" and hope that the other can perform well with their carries. There is no animosity if one player has the hot hand and gets more carries or opportunities than the other.
  • Day said he's seen TC Caffey step up and has been impressed with Dallan Hayden in their first seasons as Buckeyes. He also mentioned that Chip Trayanum is still "in the bullpen" if Ohio State were to ever need him to take carries.

On special teams

  • "They do a great job of challenging you and coming up with creative ways – two years ago they did a couple of throwbacks – and find some ways to beat you on special teams."
  • "We try to be aggressive in those moments."
  • Day said his special teams unit "has to be very aware this week" of what the Scarlet Knights will bring to the table in those plays. "We know they will come after the punts... We gotta be on our game."
  • Day talked about the 2018 game against TCU when a player was lying in the end zone that the Buckeyes on the field couldn't see. That player ended up scoring a touchdown. However, there was a penalty on the play. " I looked back and saw the flag on the field. To this day, I think about how if that flag wasn't thrown I might not be here."

On Stroud's humility

  • "He's very grounded. He understands what is important."
  • "He's got a good head on his shoulders."
  • Day said Stroud is "classy" in how he handles every situation. He added that being the quarterback is "not easy," but Stroud handles it well. "He has a good foundation, he’s got very strong faith and he’s put himself in a situation to be successful this year.”

On adding kicker Parker Lewis into the special teams room

  • "We needed some depth in those areas."
  • Day said Ohio State struggled with kickoffs last season and said he wanted to see more consistency with the kicking in that unit this year. "Jayden has done a better job getting the kicks through the end zone for us."
  • Day said Ohio State is happy to add depth now that Parker Lewis is available to play, but he did not mention what role Lewis will play for the Buckeyes this season or in the future.

Tony Alford

On TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams

  • “They’re fun to coach, fun to be around.”
  • Alford said Henderson and Williams compliment each other well and “feed off one another” during games.
  • “Miyan is violent. He’s a violent runner. Maybe doesn’t have the home-run ability like Tre, but they compliment each other really well.”

On the offensive line

  • “Justin Frye has done a fabulous job. He’s done an outstanding job with the offensive line.”
  • “The running backs understand where guys are fitting and where the angles will be.”
  • “It’s been good so far.”

On Dallan Hayden

  • “As a young guy who got here in June, he’s really coming along.”
  • “He’s going to be an outstanding player. We knew that when we recruited him… He plays really, really hard.”
  • Alford said Hayden needs to keep working on the small details of using his eyes and growing more comfortable with changing directions and speeds.
  • “He’s gonna have a great future here.”

On Ohio Stadium

  • “Every time I walk in there I get goosebumps.”
  • Alford said even when Ohio Stadium is empty it's a special place. "You really can’t explain it.”
  • Alford said Ohio State has “the best fans in the world” and he is always happy to see Buckeye Nation pack into the Horseshoe for football games.

Ryan Day’s Thursday Press Conference

  • Day issues thoughts and prayers to those in Florida impacted by Hurricane Ian.
  • Day says Jim Knowles’ defense “makes you work,” and says he can change a look and still keep things “simple” for the Buckeye defenders. “We try to challenge ourselves every day in practice and find that balance.”
  • Day says the Buckeyes checked in with the families of players that are from Florida, and says both of Kye Stokes’ parents are first-responders in Florida.
  • Day says Jayden Fielding will still do kickoffs for the Buckeyes despite Parker Lewis receiving eligibility this week.
  • “That was the first time you saw the old Josh (Proctor) back.” Day says Proctor had a great week of preparation against Wisconsin. “He’s gotta bring it every single week like that.” Day says “that’s the Proc that we think can help us reach our goals this year.”
  • On Denzel Burke’s hand injury: “It was too close to when it happened” against Wisconsin, but says he’s “had a great week of practice. … He’s gonna be ready to roll this week.”
  • Day says he did not think Sonny Styles would have the impact he’s had this early on. “He’s special.” Day says he supported Styles decision to reclassify, but was cautious about it.
  • On JSN and Cam Brown’s health status: “Don’t have any updates right now, no.”
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