Ryan Day's first words of rivalry week have been spoken.
In the midst of preparations for No. 2 Ohio State's biggest game of the season against No. 3 Michigan, Day took to the airwaves for his regular spot on 97.1 The Fan's Buckeye Roundtable show to dive into the Buckeyes' upcoming matchup with the Wolverines.
Day said Ohio State will have to do a good job managing its emotions this week, that the Buckeyes have been fighting for the "inches" that will determine Saturday's game all year and that OSU expects to have "all the bullets in the chamber" in terms of player health against Michigan, likely save for Lathan Ransom, who is out long-term.
- On keeping the team's emotions under control during the week: "I think the first thing is, you have to talk to them about it ... just keep your emotions in check and not let distractions get in the way, just focus on your work."
- On the team's performance taking control in the third quarter against Minnesota: "Things were kind of clunky in the first half. ... Second half has been an emphasis point for us all offseason and continues to be."
- Day agreed with John Cooper that one play can and will swing the outcome of Saturday's contest. "One play, just don't know when that play is going to be. It's going to come down to one yard, one inch. ... We've been fighting for those inches all offseason, all year."
- On the secondary and the defense not allowing big plays: "It's all in preparation for this one. Now we've got to go put on the field, but we are going to play with a lot of confidence."
- Day has seen continued growth from Kyle McCord. "You just watch the body of work and you see good play. You see improvements in certain areas ... we're going to need him to take care of the football, make good decisions ... third down and the red zone."
- Penalties will be another factor against Michigan, Day said. "We had an opportunity to sit down as a team and identify the areas ... certainly one area was exactly that. Part of that is handling the environment ... all three phases have to handle that, and that's all about discipline."
- On Dallan Hayden: "He's got really good vision and great feet. Really good to get him back in the fold, he's going to be able to play this week and play next week and not lose his redshirt."
- On how the team will handle Thanksgiving: "We're going to keep the routine the routine. ... The good thing is, we're going to keep our routine the same, but we will have practice a little bit earlier on Thursday and have some time to spend with their family. ... But ultimately, we're going to make sure that we're always focused on this game."
- On keys to victory: "We've got to run the ball and stop the run, and then certainly explosive plays are big. Two major things that we've been harping all season, and it's no different this week. ... We've been preparing all year for it."
- On what Michigan does well: "Obviously a very good team ... all three phases do a great job. But I say this all the time, it's not about who we play, it's all about the Buckeyes (and what we do)."
- Day is happy to have "all the bullets in the chamber" going into The Game in terms of having players healthy. "It was good to jump out in the third quarter and get some guys some rest."