The Ohio State football team arrived in Atlanta on Christmas night to continue preparing for its appearance in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, and College Football Playoff semifinal, against No. 1 Georiga on Saturday.
Despite the change of scenery, alongside the numerous events during the lead-up to the game, the Buckeyes are doing everything they can to stay in their routine prior to the battle with the Bulldogs. As Ohio State seeks to ring in the new year with a win in the Peach Bowl, head coach Ryan Day said the Buckeyes are looking to maximize the time they have prior to the game.
“I think there’s been a focus on really high levels of execution,” Day said. “I think there’s been a focus on just overall physicality at practice. As we finished our work in Columbus, you could see there was just an energy as we headed off down here to Atlanta, and then that continued (Monday).
“So we’ll see as we get towards Saturday, but I can say that our guys have been working hard, the staff’s been working hard,” he continued. “There’s a level of urgency that we know we have to play our best football here in this game, so we’re going to continue to prepare as hard as we possibly can, on the field, off the field, and make sure we have a great week here in Atlanta.”
Day said that the Buckeyes spent their time in Columbus honing in on the fundamentals, while also trying to maintain their physicality. He added that Ohio State has moved into its typical game week preparation while in Atlanta.
“As we head into this week, we’ll still have some good-on-good like we always do, but this is a typical game week practice for us,” Day said. “There will still be good-on-good, but I think mixing that in keeps their edge, so we’ll mix that in this week. But as we head into the game week, this will be more of a typical week, where leading up to this we did a lot more good-on-good.”
While in Atlanta, Ohio State will also partake in several events, including the Battle of the Bowl Week and a tour of the College Football Hall of Fame. Although there are several outside factors that could be perceived as a distraction for the Buckeyes, linebacker Tommy Eichenberg said he and his teammates understand the significance of the game too much to let those events get in the way of their preparation.
“Coach Day was telling us we’re in a bowl and (there are) things like that, but we’re down here to play a game and beat Georgia,” Eichenberg said. “I think we’ve got to do all these events and stuff, but we’ve got one goal, and it’s to beat Georgia.”
As Ohio State inches closer to its third CFP appearance in the last four seasons, Day emphasized that the Buckeyes will try to keep their preparation process as familiar as possible.
“We’re going to try to do the best we can to make the hotel here our Woody Hayes Athletic Center and make Mercedes-Benz Stadium our Woody Hayes Practice Facility, and I think that’s part of the process of being at the bowl site,” Day said. “So try to keep things as normal as possible.”