Presser Bullets: Ryan Day Says Ohio State's Offensive Line Isn't "There Right Now," No Decisions Forthcoming in Quarterback Competition

By Andy Anders on April 13, 2024 at 2:44 pm

Spring football has reached its end.

Following a 34-33 victory from the Buckeye offense, Day met with the media to discuss his team's play and where things are exiting spring practice.

There are no updates to the team's quarterback competition, and Day indicated that he needs to see more from Ohio State's offensive line as well. 

Following Day's time, defensive coordinator Jim Knowles evaluated the defense's play at all three levels and felt his top defensive backs met the expectations of "BIA." Offensive coordinator Chip Kelly wrapped up with his own evaluation of the quarterbacks and where things stand offensively.

Ryan Day

  • On how Will Howard has grown this spring: "The pocket presence is something that was there early on ... that something that is difficult to teach. ... During that drive he had some nice completions in there, he did have a sack where he held the ball too long."
  • Day said he and the staff will review film, but there's not much of an update on the quarterback competition coming out of the spring game. "I wouldn't say that I'm gonna make any declarations right now."
  • With Ohio State's starters sitting out the second half, Day and the staff were taking precautions to keep players healthy for the long season to come this fall. "The No. 1 thing in something like this is to stay healthy. ... It's too important. There's too much invested in those players."
  • On managing young quarterbacks in a spring game: "You try to get into a rhythm for them. ... It was gusting pretty good in there, all it takes is a little gust of wind and it's in the DB's hands and that can rattle your confidence. ... Wanted to get the ball out in space to our guys."
  • The athleticism of Ohio State's quarterbacks is a "weapon" Day said, which the team demonstrated with some read options and designed QB runs. "When you have a quarterback that can run, it does change the numbers."
  • Ohio State hasn't solidified its offensive line exiting spring. "I don't think we're there right now."
  • On Calvin Simpson-Hunt: "Good player ... he's growing every day. He came in in the summer so this is his first full spring. ... Now you start to see him get comfortable with the calls and we need to play depth. ... The other guy who really had a good spring was Lorenzo Styles (Jr.)."
  • Day affirmed that the team's cornerback depth is the best he's seen in years but he wants to "solidify" the depth at other spots.
  • With Bryson Rodgers, Jeremiah Smith and Brandon Inniss – who was out for the spring game – Ohio State is going to need a couple more guys to "step up" at wide receiver to bolster depth, Day said. He also felt Jayden Ballard "took a step" at the end of the spring.
  • Day said the team will give the quarterbacks "feedback" following spring.
  • Day confirmed that Inniss' injury isn't long-term.

Jim Knowles

  • On Tywone Malone: "He's developed for sure. Wasn't quite ready last year for a lot of reps, but he's shown marked improvement. Long season, we play a lot of guys up front and we really need him to come along."
  • With key injuries at the safety position, youngsters Jayden Bonsu and Jaylen McClain took steps in the spring, with the latter getting an interception in the spring game. "Our depth was really down at safety this spring ... it opened up opportunities and Bonsu is a guy who really got a lot of reps and you saw him improve, and I think McClain is a great plus."
  • On Mitchell Melton: "Mitch is that combination player. In our four-down, he's a guy that can do a lot of things, drop, fold in there and make plays. ... Really athletic. ... If you're gonna play with three ends, Mitch is a guy who can do all that."
  • Knowles felt Ohio State's defensive backs lived up to the "BIA" standard in the first half. "Our DBs are BIA, Best in America. We led the nation in pass defense (last year). ... It's a competitive spirit, it's an expectation now. ... They view it as a standard."
  • On the team's defensive tackle depth: "You're gonna play to your strengths ... when you have defensive tackles that actually make tackles, which is what we have right now, it changes the way you call a game. ... It helps you be in better shape in terms of explosive plays on the back end. ... You can't get too far away from the scheme of letting those defensive tackles make plays."
  • Knowles feels the quarterback run is adding an extra dimension to Ohio State's offense. "It changes everything you do on defense. You see it everywhere, from the NFL on down."
  • On whether C.J. Hicks has shown Knowles what he needs to play for the defense this fall: "Yes. I think C.J. has shown that he has talent, and I think it's my job to put him in the best situations for him because he can be a force. He's much better when he's blitzing or he's directed."

Chip Kelly

  • On the quarterback competition: "We got better from practice one to practice 15, but we're not making a decision walking off the field today. ... Who will best move this offense?"
  • Kelly said he does feel good about the state of the quarterback room exiting spring practice.
  • On the offensive line: "I think we're really athletic. I think Donnie and Seth and those guys are really intelligent. ... A lot of those guys have played a lot of football. ... We've gotta find out who the fifth guy is."
  • Kelly said that Woody Hayes inspired the T-formation that Ohio State came out in. Kelly said that it's a package Ohio State plans to use in short yardage.
  • On the young quarterbacks: "I always am so impressed with young guys who enroll early ... they should be in the hot lunch line at their high school and they're out here playing in front of 80,000 people. ... We throw them in the deep end and see if they can swim. ... They get it all, and the more they can digest, the more confidence you have when they get in there with the plays that you have for them."
  • On Julian Sayin: "Julian is a very fast processor, he really thinks very, very quickly on his feet. He doesn't stick on his reads. ... That's been impressive, his ability to retain ... him and JJ (Smith), if you got here and you didn't know what class they were, you wouldn't say they were freshmen."
  • On James Peoples and Sam Williams-Dixon: "James really flashed early for me. ... TC (Caffey) is another guy who came along in spring. ... We're constantly talking about depth in our staff meetings, we're very cognizant of the playoff and what that can bring."
  • Kelly said he does feel compelled to let the team's quarterbacks know where they stand. "I think all our players understand where they fit and what the picture is. ... They're getting constant feedback in terms of where they are. ... But we can't do it until we watch the film."
  • On when he feels the team needs to have a quarterback named: "You always want to do it earlier, but I always believe, every time I've been involved with this, it happens organically. Because the players know."
  • Kelly said that a running quarterback will add an extra dimension to the offense, but the Buckeyes aren't trying to run that quarterback 20 times a game. He added there won't be many designed quarterback runs, but plays where he can run if he sees space.

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