Presser Bullets: Ryan Day Says “It Hurts to Finish The Season Like This” and That “Everything Will Be Looked At” Regarding Changes to Ohio State’s Coaching Staff and Roster Before 2024

By Chase Brown on December 30, 2023 at 12:47 am

After Ohio State’s 14-3 loss to Missouri in the Cotton Bowl, Ryan Day held a press conference inside AT&T Stadium to review the Buckeyes’ performance in the defeat.

In a 17-question Q&A session, Day said Ohio State fell to Missouri because the Buckeyes didn't "take the pressure" off Lincoln Kienholz, who entered the game for Devin Brown after the 6-foot-3, 214-pound quarterback suffered a high ankle sprain in the first quarter.

Day also praised Ohio State's defensive players for their efforts in the loss but said the Buckeyes' overall performance wasn't enough to accomplish their goals. That said, the Ohio State head coach explained that “everything will be looked at” regarding changes to his coaching staff and roster before the 2024 season.

Here is a complete recap of Day's press conference:

  • On where Ohio State goes from here at quarterback: “Lincoln got put in a tough spot there, to say the least. I thought he battled his tail off. But clearly, we didn’t help him up front. We didn’t run the ball well enough. With a freshman quarterback out there, you know, for the first time playing, and we’re not running the ball well enough up front. It’s hard to get much of an evaluation coming out of the game. I just felt like we could have helped him in certain areas, but we didn’t.”
  • On the performance of Ohio State’s offensive line: “When you have a younger player in there, you have to take the pressure off, and we didn’t do that well enough in order to win the game. The defense played well enough. I thought they played their tails off and ran out of gas down the stretch. … They played great. Good enough to win. … We couldn’t put it together on offense, so that’s the story of the game.”
  • On his message to Kienholz before he entered the game: “When you’re a freshman quarterback who comes in during the summer, and you don’t have a spring, you really don’t have much of a preseason. You get thrown in with the scouts a little bit here and there, but when Kyle was in there and Devin was getting reps with the twos, Lincoln didn’t get many reps. He did get reps in bowl practices, but again, that’s not like playing in a game.”
  • On Kienholz’s performance once he entered the game: “His first few drives were inside the 10-yard line, and that’s tough. What I didn’t want to do was put him in a situation where he would turn the ball over and see something he’s never seen. I felt like we could get into halftime, get it settled and try to get the ball toward midfield. The defense got us a stop, got us to midfield. We stalled and missed the field goal. That was our chance to jump on them. We just couldn’t quite get it going.”
  • “I give Lincoln credit. He got put in a tough spot and battled and made some good throws. But that was a tough ask. We needed to help him more.”
  • On his message to the team after the loss: “I told them I thought a lot of guys played hard in this game. You saw guys fighting here and there. We got put in a tough spot and didn’t help young kid at all, and that’s why we lost the game. It hurts to finish the season like this with two losses. That’s not good enough at Ohio State, and we all know that.”
  • On Ohio State entering the offseason after a loss rather than a win: “We wanted to finish this game and build some momentum into next year. It didn’t happen. The first thing I mentioned in the room was the guys who were deciding whether to come back or not, now they have to rally together and we’ve got to put this team together moving forward of guys who are coming back with some unfinished business. I know some of the guys feel that way.”
  • On Brown’s health, his reason for leaving the game: “He had a high ankle sprain and wasn’t able to return.”
  • On the potential for Ohio State to add a transfer quarterback after the Cotton Bowl: “Fresh off the game, it’s hard for me to process all of it right now. But we have to figure out what’s best for the team moving forward, and that’s in a lot of areas. We have to take a hard look at (that stuff) and get that figured out. Everything will be looked at.”
  • On Ohio State’s special teams miscues: “I thought, overall, early on, the whole punting operation – other than the delay of game, but there was a funky looks there – was OK. … But we shouldn’t (fair) catch the ball on the 4-yard line. Our heel should be on the 8-yard line. … Then we missed the field goal, and that was big at the time. … A little momentum swing and they get the ball back on the 30-yard line. There were some good things, but not good enough.”
  • On Brown’s performance before his ankle sprain: “I thought he was going to have nerves early on and figure out what was going on in the second half. … This is his first start. Then we lose him, and we had a lot of things in the game plan designed for his style of play. And we lost him. It was a bit of scrambling (after that), and we came up short.”
  • On Ohio State’s quarterback room in 2023: “It’s hard to say because we’re talking about a year’s worth of play for Kyle. He’s not here. I don’t think it’s fair for me to go back and go through all of that right now. And then this game was very unique. The bottom line is, we didn’t reach our goals – and that’s everybody, the quarterback room being one of them. When you look at that room as a whole, we didn’t get the job done. If that’s what you’re looking for in an answer, that’s kind of what it is.”
  • On how Brown handled himself after the ankle sprain: “For Devin, I know he wanted to play in this game worse than anybody. And even after he hurt himself, he wanted to get back in there and actually did it for a series. It just wasn’t fair to him. He couldn’t move, and he wasn’t supposed to be in the game at that point. But he was fighting to get in there. He kept a great attitude the whole time. He’s a great young man with great talent. He’s a great teammate.”
  • On how he views Brown’s spot in the quarterback room after the Cotton Bowl: “I don’t have a great answer for that. … We didn’t have a game to look at and evaluate. We know what we see in practice, but it’s certainly different when you play in the game. We are disappointed we don’t have that. … We’ll go back to work and figure that part of it out. But again, I don’t have a great answer on that now.”
  • On the decision to start Matt Jones at center over Carson Hinzman: “Carson was having a tough time the last couple of weeks in practice, and we felt like this was the right thing to do at the time. He was having a few issues there, and so it was not that Carson will never play here again, but based on the last couple of weeks of play, the decision was made that Matt gave us the best chance at center.”
  • Day said Tristan Gebbia was available in the Cotton Bowl. He said the Buckeyes felt more comfortable with Kienholz under center because he “had taken all the backup reps.” Day added: “Moving forward in the future, we felt like this was the best thing and Lincoln also gave us a chance a little bit with the red zone read stuff. That’s not really Tristan’s game, and the game plan had more of that stuff in it, even more than what you saw because that’s what Devin could do and we felt like Lincoln could do those things as opposed to Tristan.”
  • On the potential to make changes to Ohio State’s offensive staff after 2023: “We’re going to look at everything. … Nobody cares that (we had) a freshman quarterback in there. You’ve got to go win the game. It didn’t happen. Like I said before, everything will be looked at. If it’s what helps Ohio State go reach our goals and win these games, then we’ll make those changes.”

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