After jumping out to a 6-0 start to the season, while outscoring opponents 293-94, Ohio State enjoyed a week off prior to its meeting with Iowa to kick off the back half of the campaign.
Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day emphasized the value of the off week as a time for his team to look back on what they did during the first half of the season, as well as refine their fundamental skills.
“It allows us an opportunity to take a step back and look where we’re at and re-bite on things,” Day said on Tuesday. “Just little things, like how we meet, how we go out to practice, how we stretch, how we go through individual drills, identify our techniques and fundamentals that we need to get better at, because what happens, six games in, you start to focus a little bit more on scheme.
“The emphasis this week will be on Iowa, but we still will be hammering the fundamentals and techniques because that’s what Iowa does such a great job with,” he continued. “Hopefully this off week has allowed us to re-bite in that area.”
While the Buckeyes placed a level of importance on the fundamentals during the off week, they also needed the time to allow their players to rest for the season’s grueling second half — including games against No. 16 Penn State on the road and No. 4 Michigan to close the regular season.
Ohio State was bit by the injury bug during the first half of the season, most notably at cornerback and wide receiver. The Buckeyes played much of the first six games without star wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba while cornerbacks Denzel Burke and Cameron Brown have been in and out of the lineup while battling injuries.
“Coming off of the bye week, we got a lot of guys rest and then went on the field a little bit (on Monday),” Day said. “Right now, we’re not going to give any injury updates but then as we get closer to the end of the week, we’ll have a better idea.”
While Ohio State’s schedule only gets more difficult from here, Day emphasized that all that matters at this point in the season is what’s ahead of his squad.
“There’s been really good things, but that was the first half of the season,” Day said. “Now, we’re onto the second half of the season. The second half of the season started yesterday with getting out on the field. Nothing we’ve done in the past matters anymore, all that matters is what we’re doing moving forward.”