Ryan Day Radio Show: Ryan Day Believes MSU Will Be the “Most Skilled Team We've Played to Date” Will Provide a Significant Road Test for the Buckeyes

By Chase Brown and Griffin Strom on October 6, 2022 at 1:12 pm

After a five-game homestand to start the season, Ohio State will hit the road to face Michigan State in East Lansing. Ryan Day took to the radio waves to preview his team's matchup with the Spartans.

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

Ryan Day

On Miyan Williams

  • "It was one of those games where we saw them in two high, so we had to run the ball."
  • Day said Ohio State's red zone play has been a strength this season. The Buckeyes ran several plays within the Rutgers 20-yard line and capitalized each time.
  • "It was a physical game."

On his feelings about a game immediately after as opposed to later

  • "That's why coaches say they'll look at the film before saying anything."
  • Day said his emotions can cloud his judgment immediately after a game ends, so he tries to hold his tongue with comments before he has a chance to watch the film of the contest.

On C.J. Stroud

  • "It was a funny game... The numbers didn't look like they typically do for us."
  • Day said Ohio State's offense had a couple of strange possessions through the first three quarters that were unlike the first four games of the season. It took some time to adjust to Rutgers' scheme before they could really get rolling.
  • "The one interception he wants to have back, but he still played well... He graded out a Champion overall."

On the Ohio State defense

  • "They've been opportunistic."
  • Day specifically mentioned Zach Harrison as a player who has stepped up for the Ohio State defense as of late. He said Harrison's two forced turnovers against Rutgers were huge plays for the Buckeyes to generate some momentum last weekend.
  • "They're gonna start playing against tougher and tougher offenses, so it's good to see them play well now."

On playing backups against Rutgers

  • "The more times we can get out there the better."
  • Day said in-game reps will help a players experience more than in practice, despite his feelings toward "good-on-good" reps at the Woody.
  • "We are getting guys the reps they need."

On the importance of special teams, being aware in that unit

  • "Almost any team will try to steal a possession against us."
  • Day said Emeka Egbuka's muffed punt was negative for Ohio State. The primary goal of the special teams is to "get the ball back" for the offense so the Buckeye offense can go score to claim or extend the lead.

On playing the first road game

  • Day said Ohio State's weekly routine doesn't change much for road games. It only accelerates as the program incorporates travel times to a different city into the schedule.
  • "Once we get up there, we make the hotel our home for the night," Day said of his team's plan once they arrive in East Lansing.
  • "We will go through the same routine that we go through here at the Blackwell, and then we will go from there."

On TreVeyon Henderson

  • "We certainly hope he will be back this week... We're gonna need him."
  • Day said Henderson was a "late scratch" from last week's matchup against Rutgers, so the Buckeyes were expecting to have him play up until the kickoff of the game.
  • "Running the football is going to be critically important on Saturday."

On Tommy Eichenberg, Cody Simon

  • "He's fast, playing downhill... He's the leader of our defense."
  • Day said Cody Simon has been a part of Ohio State's run-heavy packages and has played well in the opportunities he's received so far this season. "Now you're starting to see what Cody can do... If he can really become a contributor for us, that adds plenty of depth for us."
  • Day said Tommy Eichenberg, Steele Chambers and Simon have been a solid three-man group in the linebacker room this year, and he expects them to continue playing at a high level in 2022.

On Jaxon Smith-Njigba

  • Day said Jaxon Smith-Njigba has been working hard through his rehab process and is getting better with each week. However, it's been a frustrating couple of weeks for the star receiver. “Nobody wants to get back more than Jaxon. It’s been frustrating I know for him.
  • "We’re just taking it on a week-to-week basis, and hopefully he can start making some progress and we can get him back on the field.”

On Michigan State

  • "They're probably the most skilled team we've played to date."
  • Day said everyone saw what Michigan State can be after its success last season in Mel Tucker's second season with the program. The Spartans went 11-2 with a bowl win.
  • "They're very talented." Day believes Michigan State will be "a good challenge" for the Buckeyes on Saturday and has stressed to his team that they need to be ready for a battle in East Lansing.

On calling the offense in the red zone, ensuring Ohio State scores points

  • Day said Ohio State's running backs need to run "north and south" in the red zone as opposed to "dancing around" before they hit the holes created by the offensive linemen.
  • When passing the ball in the red zone, Day said everything "gets harder with the shorter field." He added that "nobody is open" if Stroud drops back to pass, so he needs to be creative with the football.
  • Day said the I formation has given Ohio State "a little extra" in the red zone. 

On Ohio State's mentality heading into this game

  • "We're trying to do something that's not normal. We're trying to be the best team in college football."
  • Day said Ohio State's coaches and players need to be "exhausted at night." The Buckeyes "can't leave anything on the table" this season because the goal is to win every game.

On how the roster changes with a road game

  • Day said Ohio State will bring 74 players to Michigan State this weekend.
  • "You gotta make sure you have a pair and spare at each position."
  • Day said the coaching staff and medical staff need to communicate frequently so there is an understanding on who will and won't play. Ohio State doesn't want to bring a player that won't be able to play in the contest if there is a healthier option available.
  • Day said Ohio State "got a waiver for one of the captains to come with us" on the trip to East Lansing.

On the Spartans' defense, the need for ball security this weekend

  • Day said Michigan State's defense is talented at forcing fumbles and creating turnovers for opposing offenses. He said Ohio State's offense will need to focus on ball security to ensure they take care of the football.
  • "When on the road, the turnover battle is huge."

On his experience with COVID during the 2020 Michigan State game

  • "When you watch your team play on TV in real-time, it's surreal... I hadn't seen my family in seven weeks."
  • Day said he tested positive for COVID on the Thursday before the game and had to isolate himself for 10 days after that. "I stopped by the store (on the way home), bought a case of beer and two pizzas, got back and said, 'Daddy's home.'"
  • Day said he yelled at the TV a time or two while watching the game in his basement.

On recruiting during the first five weeks of the 2022 season

  • Day said the first five weeks at Ohio State were fantastic opportunities for recruiting. He said "every game is different," but Buckeye Nation provided an environment in Ohio Stadium through five games that must have impressed recruits on visits.
  • Day said he and his coaches always ask recruits if "they can imagine running out of the tunnel" and seeing all of the Ohio State fans who have gathered in the stadium to watch them play in a game.
  • Day said Ohio State's coaches have a big recruiting week after the bye where they will go out and see some high school football practices and games of the players they are recruiting.

On senior advisor to head coach Keenan Bailey

  • "He's one of the most intelligent people in the building."
  • Day said Bailey is huge for the Ohio State program and has been a right-hand man to him this season as he's coached the Buckeyes. “It’s kind of hard to put into words what he means ... He’s one of the hardest workers in the building."
  • Day mentioned that Bailey is fantastic at "building real relationships with the players," which goes a long way for the development of the program. "He’s a really big asset to our program.”

Tim Walton

On JK Johnson, Jyaire Brown

  • "There's nothing like experience... The nerves, the crowd, the intensity of it are all different."
  • Walton said Johnson and Brown will "grow in confidence" as they continue to receive opportunities in the Ohio State defense.

On being back at Ohio State, coaching the cornerbacks this season

  • "It's been a blessing."
  • Walton said he's felt right at home with Ohio State since he returned to the program in the offseason. Walton was a defensive back for John Cooper and the Buckeyes in the 90s.
  • "I have just as much fun on gameday as the player do."

On Michigan State

  • "The quarterback is talented."
  • Walton said Payton Thorne and the Michigan State receiver room will challenge the Ohio State secondary in several ways. "They will take shots."
  • "We have to make sure we do a good job of being technique sound."
  • Walton said Ohio State's defense will need to make the Spartans' offense uncomfortable by playing downhill and getting into the backfield often.

Ryan Day’s Thursday Press Conference

  • Day on offensive tackles: “Challenges are gonna get bigger and bigger. … Overall you can see improvements in some different areas.”
  • On Stroud grading out as champion against Rutgers: “Everybody has a different grading system, and at the end of the day, the system has to grade out at over 80%. … We ask him to do a lot in all areas. When you’re scoring seven touchdowns in nine possessions and you’re the quarterback, you’re doing something right.”
  • “I think our guys have played in hostile environments before, but it’s been awhile.” Day says the Buckeyes will lean on veteran leadership against MSU.
  • On watching the 2020 game at home due to COVID-19: “Lot of yelling at the TV, lot of pacing around. As the game got to the way it did there in the second half, I got to enjoy watching it.”
  • “Any time Ohio State goes on the road, they are the villain. When we go on the road here, it’s not gonna be any different.” Day says the Buckeyes must maintain their focus on Saturday and have embraced the villain role.
  • On bringing in legacy players as walk-ons, Day says everyone entering the program must be “perpetuating the culture.” Day says “a lot of guys must embrace their role” and “a lot of guys have done that.”
  • Day says Dawand Jones’ body weight is “allowing him to do things that maybe he couldn’t do last year.” Day says he’s been impressed with Jones’ energy, and says sometimes Jones “smacks me on the shoulder” at practice to get his energy up.
  • Day says “I’d rather not get into any injury updates right now,” but says Cam Martinez and Tanner McCalister had “a good week of practice.”
  • “We’re gonna half to play depth” at running back, but Day says the Buckeyes are “hoping to have” TreVeyon Henderson back this week.
  • On the Buckeye LB play, Day says improvement has been “50/50” due to Jim Knowles and the experience gained by Chambers and Eichenberg.
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