Presser Bullets: Ryan Day Updates Position Battles, Says Caleb Downs Could Play Snaps on Offense

By Andy Anders on June 18, 2024 at 1:34 pm

As summer rolls along, Ryan Day's mind has continued churning about his football team this year.

Position battles continue along the right side of Ohio State's offensive line and at quarterback. Day remains optimistic about what Josh Fryar can provide in his second year as a starter, but the other spot on the right side of the front remains up for grabs.

In a bit of twist, Day said on Tuesday that star transfer safety Caleb Downs could end up being a depth option at running back this season.

Day also addressed some of the pressures that come with the roster the Buckeyes have assembled, which he feels has the best combination of talent and experience of any he's coached in Columbus.

  • Day said there are no new updates on the quarterback competition.
  • On whether less heralded recruits get the recognition they deserve at times: “I think everybody does such a great job of covering everything ...  there’s less opportunities to find that diamond in the rough. ... I think that’s still the part of this thing that’s very, very important is that the evaluations have gotta be on point.”
  • On the proposed rule change to take limits off football staff sizes. “One of the things that you have to consider is all the guys who want to come up in this profession and the opportunity that they can have. ... At the same time, we’re in the process of recruiting people to our team.”
  • Day said it’s still important to focus on culture and fit when building a team. “You have to bring in people that fit with Ohio State. ... You want to have great people in your program. Great coaches, great staff members, great supporting people ... but also the players.”
  • Day is really high on the progress he’s seen from Josh Fryar: “We see Josh making a lot of progress. He’s having a really good June, a really good offseason. ... We feel confident with him playing guard and tackle, we’ve gotta figure out that right side. ... I’d say we’re leaning toward tackle for him.”
  • On position battles: "We've gotta square away the quarterback. I feel like the offensive line on the right side, we've gotta develop that. We've gotta build enough depth at receiver. ... Defensive tackle (depth) ... depth a little bit at safety. ... Punter is going to be significant, there is going to be a battle there."
  • Ohio State didn't bring in any offensive line transfers in the spring, and after evaluating the players available, the coaching staff elected to trust the talent currently on its roster rather than just bringing someone in to bring someone in. "If we're going to bring somebody in, it's to fill a hole."
  • Caleb Downs has been in meetings to potentially provide depth at running back if needed, Day said. The goal is to have four running backs that you feel strongly in, he added, and the quarterbacks should alleviate some pressure this year.
  • More on Downs possibly playing running back: "Where it goes, we'll see, you never know. We're just trying to build contingency plans."
  • On the expectations placed on Ohio State's roster this year: "Expectations are the same every year, pressure is the same every year. I just like the pressure when you have a really good team behind you. ... I don't know if we've had a team that's this talented and this experienced."
  • Day said that the proof of Ohio State's defense in 2023 has helped sell recruits. "It's one thing to talk about it, that's theory ... I think you're seeing a lot of guys excited to play in this defense."
  • On the identity of the 2024 team: "We have to be able to stop the run, run the football and we have to take care of the ball. ... We're going to have to do those things to win close games and play situational football. ... You won't really get a feel for the identity until October."
  • Day declined to comment on the departure of recruiting staffer Erin Dunston to Michigan.
  • On the team's linebackers: "Good versatility, all those guys. ... These guys are very versatile guys. You can see the length on them and they do a good job of fitting the runs. ... Something we wanted to work on getting better at this offseason is blitzing. ... Cody (Simon)'s had an unbelievable offseason ... but you've seen a lot of these guys come on."
  • Day said that everyone injured in spring football is going through a full summer and intend to have full falls.
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