Hear From Ryan Day And Greg Mattison Following Ohio State’s 11th Practice Of Fall Camp

By August 14, 2019 (12:28 pm)Football
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Ohio State held its 11th practice of fall camp at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Wednesday morning, which gave the media an opportunity to take photos and take observations for the first half hour.

Head coach Ryan Day and co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison spoke for about 15 minutes apiece after practice, answering questions about the starting quarterback battle, defensive improvements and much more.

Here’s a brief recap of what Day and Mattison had to say:

  • Day would like to name team captains and a starting quarterback in the next few days, Monday at the latest.
  • Day said quarterback Justin Fields has “taken some strides” and “care of the ball better” in recent days.
  • Fields has gotten a lot of reps with the first-team offense, but they rotate heavily.
  • “Right now, there is no backup running back,” Day said. Continues to say they need to take care of the ball.
  • Day apologized for a raspy voice. “It’s practice No. 11.”
  • Day said he’s hoping to have senior wide receiver Austin Mack back from an undisclosed injury in the next week or so.
  • Day said sophomore receiver Chris Olave is practicing like a starter. “We think he’s an every-down receiver.”
  • Day said he wants a quarterback who can “make plays with his feet, but also stay within the offense.” Added Fields gives them that opportunity.
  • Day on former wide receiver Cris Carter’s influence on both wide receiver K.J. Hill and cornerback Damon Arnette returning for one final season. “I appreciate all his support. He means a lot to the program and he’s a good friend.”
  • Day said the young linebackers have been practicing well, but doesn’t make any definitive statements on if last year’s starters are being pushed. No depth chart has been established.
  • Left tackle Thayer Munford “looks strong” as he returns from a hip injury and there’s no concern that he’ll miss the season opener despite being limited in camp. “He’s been practicing well, practicing hard.”
  • Day said defensive end Chase Young has matured. “He’s a leader. He’s the voice of our defense right now. That’s what I feel. That’s what I see.”
  • Day said that evaluation is often overlooked in recruiting. “How you evaluate recruits is very important.”
  • Day said they’ve “messed around” with having a quarterback under center in short-yardage situations, but they’ll mostly be in shotgun this fall.
  • Day believes there are some battles that will go into the third week of camp, but hopes to have a preliminary depth chart early next week.
  • “He’s big, he’s strong and he’s tough,” Day said of freshman running back Marcus Crowley. “He just needs more practices and to stay focused, but he runs hard.”
  • Day said redshirt sophomore Jaylen Harris and true freshman Garrett Wilson are battling for backup receiver spot at the X. “I think they’ll both play.” That was Austin Mack’s spot last year, but he’s move to Z this fall.
  • “We’re tougher than we were practice No. 1,” Day said. Added they’re a new staff and new team, so they’ve gotta prove themselves despite athleticism across the board. “Are we able to handle adversity when something goes back? How do we handle a punch? How do we fight back? I know we’re athletic and we’re fast, but we’re gonna have to be tough.”
  • Mattison said linebacker K’Vaughan Pope has had a very good camp. “Sometimes he may be not in the exact right position, but he makes a great play.”
  • Mattison said the development of the young players is a direct result of the veterans. “They do an unbelievable job of teaching.”
  • Mattison said freshman linebacker Cade Stover, who had his black stripe removed yesterday, is very strong and talented. “A great thing for him is he gets to watch Pete Werner every day.”
  • Mattison on Werner: “I really believe he is the top guy at his position. I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of good football players, and I’m very impressed with him.”
  • Mattison said they’ll utilize the Bullet position against teams that use a spread offense. Also adds significant depth and flexibility at the SAM linebacker position.
  • Juniors Brendon White and Jahsen Wint as players who have excelled at Bullet. “You’d like to have it be the guy who is fast enough to play in the secondary but physical enough to play at the line of scrimmage.”
  • Mattison on White: “He has a lot of experience, he’s very athletic and he’s very intelligent.”
  • “I like everything about Tuf Borland’s game,” Mattison said. “I like his physically, I like his intelligence, I like everything about his game.”
  • Mattison last year’s starting linebackers have earned the change to keep those positions, but adds that junior Baron Browning and sophomores Dallas Gant and Teradja Mitchell have had great camps. “Al (Washington) has done a super job with them.”
  • Gant, specifically, has made the biggest strides from spring, Mattison said.
  • Mattison said no starters have been named, but they hope to be three deep at the position regardless.
  • He’s a very, very good athlete,” Mattison said of freshman linebacker Craig Young. “Everything is going to be ahead of him.” Mentioned how Young played all over the field in high school, but can finally focus on one position. “He’s one who tries to get better every day.”
  • Ohio State’s base defense will remain a 4-3, but Mattison said they’re comfortable rotating the Bullet position with SAM linebacker. “They can be interchangeable. You don’t want to pigeonhole a guy.”
  • Despite title of co-defensive coordinator, Mattison works directly with the SAM linebackers in practice. Said this is the first year he’s not been directly in charge of a position, so he found himself roaming and going insane during the spring. “It kept me from doing something harmful to myself. It keeps you connected, it keeps you sane.”
  • Mattison said he won’t judge what the defense did last year, despite being statistically the worst defensive in program history. “Some people like stats. I’m not a stats guy. The only stat that I’ll ever look at really, really close at is points.”
  • Mattison has been impressed with how the defense has bought into his teachings. “One thing our guys have bought into is that we will run to the football on every play. If you see our defense not run to the football, then you ask. You come up to me and talk about it. We are going to be an aggressive defense that runs to the football, and everybody on our defense believes in that.”
  • Mattison on criticism of last year’s defense: “They were 13-1.” Added most teams would kill to be that good year-in and year-out.
  • Mattison refused to answer question about whether or not Michigan practices for Ohio State like the Buckeyes prepare for the Wolverines, with at least one portion of every practice dedicated to their rivals. “I don’t know,” he said.
  • Mattison doesn’t want to name starters on defense until camp is over, even if we could conceivably pencil in a returner like safety Jordan Fuller.
  • “He is an outstanding person, athlete and football player,” Mattison said of junior defensive end Chase Young. Mentions how depth across the defensive line will allow him to flourish this season. His message to opponents who try to double- or triple-team him: “Good luck.”

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