Head Coach Ryan Day Recaps Ohio State’s Win Over Rutgers, Previews Penn State
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with the media for roughly 30 minutes on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his team’s win over Rutgers and upcoming tilt with Penn State (12 p.m. on FOX).
Here’s a brief recap of what Day had to say:
- Day said they’re optimistic to get players like linebacker Baron Browning and defensive end Jonathon Cooper back from injury for the stretch run.
- Day on playing Penn State and Michigan in back-to-back weeks. “Like I told the guys, we don’t make the schedule. We’re going to take things one week at a time.”
- Day said Penn State quarterback Sean Cliffords is “competitive, tough, well-prepared and a good leader.”
- When asked about monitoring players who take online classes, Day said the staff has meetings every Thursday to keep on top of players’ schedules, grades, etc. “We are aware of everything.”
- Day said they give out four scout team player-of-the-week awards (two on offense and two on defense). “Those guys are just as important as everyone else.”
- Day on quarterback Justin Fields: “I think every week, he gets a little better in each area.”
- Day on seniors playing their last game in Ohio Stadium this weekend. “We’ve been through a lot these last few years. I love them with all my heart.” Said Senior Day will be emotional. “They deserve everything they get in terms of admiration and praise.”
- Day said fifth-year seniors are almost like player-coaches. “Having maturity like that is important.”
- Day on fifth-year senior receiver K.J. Hill: “He’s got great body language. He understands space. He’s craft. He’s clutch. When you think about all the plays he’s had in his career, it’s amazing.” On Hill being close to breaking several career school records. “His production speaks for itself.”
- On needing Fields to play well against Penn State. “That’s what he’s working for all week: to win that game in the fourth quarter.” Adds he hopes Fields puts his team on his back like J.T. Barrett and Dwayne Haskins did in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
- Day said defensive end Chase Young has been practicing with the team the last two weeks as he served his suspension and won’t have a limited snap count “He’ll be ready.”
- “Our team knows what’s at stake,” Day said, calling it a talent-equated game. “It goes back to fundamentals and preparation.” Ohio State can clinch Big Ten East Division title with win, but Penn State would be in the driver’s seat if it pulls the upset.
- Day on Penn State head coach James Franklin. “James is an excellent coach.” He listed numerous players, including linebacker Micah Parsons and wide receiver Jahan Dotson, as people they have to game plan against. “They pose a major problem for us.”
- Day on overall strength of team hurting individual stats, possibly diminishing their chances at individual awards. “It’s not frustrating. It’s a good problem to have.”
- Day said they felt good going into the last two Penn State games but they weren’t executing well and fell behind. “We have to get off to a fast start.”
- Day on increased level of talent in these final few games: “Every play matters, every yard matters, every series matters.”
- Day said every time the Nittany Lions have the ball, they need the crowd to be as loud as possible. “For so many reasons, this is the biggest one of the year.”
- Day on running back J.K. Dobbins’ statement about playing a four-quarter game. “He’s knows exactly what we’re into.” Appreciates his confidence, as well.
- Day said they’ve applied most of their playbook throughout this season. “If you have too much stuff, all of a sudden, you can’t execute.”
- Day said center Harry Miller has “done an unbelievable job” of putting himself in a position to play as a freshman.
- Day said freshman wide receiver Garrett Wilson will still be the team’s punt returner despite fumble against Rutgers. “We have confidence in Garrett. He’s a young player who made a mistake, and he’ll work on it in practice.”
- Day said it’s very difficult to spend time with recruits during weekend’s like this. “They want to see the atmosphere of a big game. They’re not looking for a lot of one-on-one time with the coaches.” Added director of player development Mark Pantoni have their hands full this weekend.