Ryan Day Owns Up to Coaching Mistakes in Last Season's Michigan Loss, Plans to Keep Aggressive Mindset in 2023

By Chase Brown on June 1, 2023 at 3:22 pm
Ryan Day

When Ohio State faced Georgia in the Peach Bowl last season, many noticed a different version of Ryan Day.

That's because the head coach learned a lesson 35 days earlier on Nov. 26, the day the Buckeyes suffered their second consecutive loss to Michigan – this time in front of 107,000 Ohio State fans packed into the Horseshoe. That lesson was to not focus too much on a desired result but instead on the steps he and his team must take to achieve it.

Day reflected on that teaching moment and his coaching performance in the 2022 edition of The Game on the first episode of More Than Coach Speak, a podcast created by Ohio State men's basketball head coach Chris Holtmann and director of professional development Terence Dials, a former standout for the program under Thad Matta. 

“I think back on this year and our rivalry game,” Day said. “You want the game so bad that the focus can just be on winning the game, but what does winning the game actually mean? You can’t just win the game. You have to win each play. You have to win each situation. I think the mistake I’ve probably made is, 'We’re going to win this game. Let’s get after them. Let’s get physical. Let’s beat them up.' When you’re playing a team or a player that’s equal to you, you have to focus on winning every single possession, every single play. And how do you do that? Great technique, great focus. Eventually, you will win the game."

"You can’t just win the game. You have to win each play. You have to win each situation."– Ryan Day on coaching against top teams

Day, his staff and his players adopted the win-every-possession, win-every-play mentality as soon as Ohio State learned it had earned a spot as the No. 4 seed in the College Football Playoff. With its "new lease on life," as Day called it in December, the Buckeyes played loose and free in their matchup with the top-seeded Bulldogs in Atlanta.

"I think we did a better job in the Peach Bowl of letting it all out, playing aggressively and looking to play the next play and win the next play," Day said. "We didn't look at the scoreboard and say, 'What if we win? What if we lose?' We really focused on winning each situation and each play."

Despite the Buckeyes' new approach and mindset, Ohio State eventually fell to Georgia, 42-41, in the CFP semifinal. Still, Day believes those changes and improvements can put his team in a position to beat the best teams in the country, as it did against the eventual national champion Georgia in the Peach Bowl.

"That is something I will certainly take from this past season and take into 2023," Day said.

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