Presser Bullets: Ryan Day Has "No Comment" on Michigan Sign-Stealing Scandal, Run Game Fixes Are Still Ongoing

By Andy Anders on October 24, 2023 at 12:38 pm

With a top-10 conference win in the rearview mirror, it's on to the next destination for Ohio State.

As the Buckeyes prepare for a road trip to Madison to take on Wisconsin, Ryan Day addressed the media on the team's continued running game struggles and said that Tristan Gebbia and Lincoln Kienholz will both compete to be Kyle McCord's backup this week.

Day was also asked about Michigan's sign-stealing scandal but had no comment.

Jim Knowles took to the lectern next to discuss Ohio State's dominant defensive performance against Penn State and give his evaluations of Tyleik Williams, Jermaine Mathews Jr., Josh Proctor and a few other players.

Ryan Day

  • Day said he won't discuss the Michigan sign-stealing situation. "Anything regarding that, I'm not going to comment on right now."
  • Ohio State is still evaluating whether it will use Dallan Hayden at running back going forward. "We're going to push it to see if he can get in a game this week."
  • Lincoln Kienholz could be an option to take Devin Brown's running quarterback role: "He's very athletic. He's younger, but he is athletic. So we're going to look to see if we can possibly get him in that role, see how it goes."
  • Carnell Tate's development as a freshman is on a "similar" trajectory to Ohio State's other star receivers of late, Day said.
  • Ohio State hasn't decided on a backup quarterback between Tristan Gebbia and Kienholz. "We'll go through the week and give those guys reps and see how that goes. ... One's a more experienced guy, one's a younger guy who we think has a bright future here. ... We'll see how the week goes, and who knows, maybe they both will have an opportunity."
  • On issues in the run game: "I wish I could point to one thing ... it wasn't good enough. ... We've got to execute it better. We've got to coach it better. That's on us as coaches (to fix it)."
  • On avoiding a setback at Wisconsin: "It's the competitive stamina. ... We talked about it on Sunday as a team, that we've got to bring it this week. They're playing well, they're a really good football team. ... Championship teams bring it every week. They don't have ups and downs and letdowns."
  • Day is still confident the team can get better at running the football. "We keep pushing, we believe we can do it. I know we can. ... We want to be playing our best football at the end of the season. We've got to roll."
  • On TreVeyon Henderson, Denzel Burke and Emeka Egbuka's health: "We expect to have those guys on Saturday. I know I said that last week ... but we're expecting great weeks of practice from those guys and to have them available."
  • On the impact Henderson's return can bring to the run game: "We know that he can hit home runs. He did that in the Notre Dame game. ... That doesn't just happen, there's a lot that comes with that."
  • On Carson Hinzman: "Carson coming in had not started a game before ... we know that he's talented and he's got a bright future ahead of him. ... There are still things he's growing on just like everybody, the goal is to have his best football here be the home stretch. ... He's building. It's not an easy job."
  • Day agreed that in-helmet communication like the NFL has would help prevent sign-stealing. "I do think we should definitely consider that because it would help."
  • On Josh Simmons: "You're seeing finish, you're seeing pad level, you're seeing really high-end play. ... He knows that. ... That's why when someone asked, 'Is it fixable?' I think it is."
  • On Jordan Hancock's versatility playing both cornerback and nickel: "We felt like when we were recruiting him, this is what he could be. ... Very competitive, very instinctual. ... Worked hard this offseason and now you're starting to see his best football."
  • Despite reiterating that he doesn't mind winning with defense, Day added that there's still a push to score as much as possible. "I feel like we're still trying to score every time we touch the ball. ... But that's my job, to make sure we're winning."
  • Ohio State can "take pressure" off Marvin Harrison Jr. by moving him around formations so that he's harder to key on, Day said. "It takes a lot of work by Marv to make sure that we're trying to maximize him as a player and giving him opportunities to win man-to-man. ... We have to constantly be creative and find ways to do that."
  • On how he evaluates Kyle McCord seven starts in: "There were really good plays and certainly plays where you'd like to execute better. I don't think that's unique to Kyle ... he's in a much better place than he was earlier this season. ... There's still a lot of room for growth, so that's exciting. ... I know that he's still got a lot of great football ahead of him."
  • On Ohio State's fumbled punt return that bounced off Lorenzo Styles Jr.'s leg: "We've got to be better. We can't let that stuff (happen) because that was a huge swing."

Jim Knowles

  • On Tyleik Williams: "Healthy, reps, attitude. Tyleik has it all. It just keeps showing up."
  • On what Ryan Day does to insulate against upset losses like Ohio State experienced in the past: "Coach Day preaches consistency. He breaks down the week for our players ... he's got a great intensity to him."
  • Knowles also didn't have anything to say about Michigan's sign stealing. "I've been instructed by the higher-ups not to comment on that."
  • Jermaine Mathews Jr. impressed Knowles even more in his film review. "He doesn't flinch at the point of competitive excellence. There was a shot (play) right into press coverage, he got his head to the ball and finished through the ball on a huge stage."
  • Ohio State's ability to adjust quickly is based in an advanced understanding of the defensive system, Knowles said.
  • On whether Steele Chambers bounced back from a "funk" against Penn State: "He's just always learning and growing. But he did have a really good week of practice, I told him that. ... It showed up in the game. But he's still always learning and growing."
  • On Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen: "He breaks a lot of tackles, he really does, in different ways."
  • The plays to tight ends that have hurt the Buckeyes' defense at times are based on a need to react quicker, per Knowles. "When you're covering guys and you're close to the line of scrimmage, things happen fast. ... I think that's how tight ends get loose."
  • On Wisconsin quarterback Braedyn Locke, who is playing in place of the injured Tanner Mordecai: "He's very similar. Maybe he doesn't have as much experience, but similar guy. Same offense."
  • On Josh Proctor: "Josh has been through a lot of ups and downs, just in life in general. I think that's why I coach college, why I'll continue to coach college ... eventually the lightbulb comes on and everything goes right. ... He's starting to hit on all cylinders."
  • Knowles feels that the "safety-driven defense" moniker is coming to fruition. "You're starting to see that. You're starting to see safeties show up in different places and making plays at different times."
  • On what it says about Ohio State's defense that it can succeed without Denzel Burke: "That just tells me they're buying in, they're seeing what Denzel's doing and they're getting in-line and ready to play. The coaching's been great ... the competition. ... They're all hungry to play, they want their shot."
  • Hancock showed Knowles a lot in being able to rotate so freely between nickel and corner. "I think he had his best game and you saw him show up in different places at different times. ... He's just developing confidence. He's got size, he's got speed, athletic ability. He's a willing tackler, and that makes a difference."
  • The Buckeyes can't afford to be satisfied with where they are defensively, Knowles said: "It's my job to get the players to understand that, when you play well, the expectations become higher. We can't go backward. ... My players are young men, so it's my job to keep yelling at them, I guess I can say."
  • On where the defense can get better: "We had some issues with some motion adjustments. ... They can do a better job of making a play when I make a bad call. ... That controlled chaos, when something happens that wasn't planned, how are we reacting to that, how we are handling that."
  • On what's different about Wisconsin on film: "They challenge you from sideline to sideline. All their runs have passes off of them. It makes them two-dimensional, where in the past maybe they were one-dimensional."
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