Ryan Day Recaps Ohio State’s Win Over Cincinnati, Previews Indiana

By September 10, 2019 (12:40 pm)Football

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with the media for about 30 minutes on Tuesday afternoon, during which he discussed his team’s 42-0 win over Cincinnati and previewed the upcoming game at Indiana.

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

  • Day said Indiana has a good team. Said going on the road for the Big Ten opener is never easy and that the Hoosiers have played the Buckeyes hard in recent years.
  • Senior wide receiver Binjimen Victor is very important for the team moving forward. Said if he can win one-on-one matchups, that makes the defense game plan differently. “He’s gotta be the Johnnie Dixon, Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell for us” in the deep passing game.
  • Despite the shutout win, Day said Ohio State still has issues to address. Added that there can’t be complacency in the program with players and coaches.
  • Day said redshirt freshman Master Teague must continue to practice well after missing most of fall camp with an injury, but he’s making a statement in his duties as a backup to starter J.K. Dobbins. “It’s clear to see once he gets the momentum going, he can run through contact. That’s what we’re looking for.”
  • Day said starting quarterback Justin Fields “got away with a few throws” against Cincinnati and took more hits than they wanted, but he still played well overall. Likes the steps he took from Week 1 to Week 2, as well. “We’ll keep building it as we go.”
  • Day on Fields’ first road game as a starter: “You can’t ride the emotional rollercoaster. You have to play each play as it goes.” Said noise on third down will be a challenge.
  • Day said the lack of passes across the middle — particularly on crossing routes — is based on game planning, what matchups dictate and wanting to play to Fields’ strengths.
  • Day on Jeff Okudah’s play so far this season: “I think he’s playing like a pro. He’s approaching it that way. He’s a long way away from a finished product, but he’s off to a really good start. He’s killing it.”
  • Junior Jaylen Harris has done a good job on special teams so far and deserves to play in the receiver rotation. “He provides us with some depth and you’ll see him in the game moving forward.”
  • Day said the Buckeyes are going to need Austin Mack to step up once he’s healthy. “His first priority is football, but he’s got a lot on his plate, as well.”
  • Day said he watched Joe Burrow and LSU beat Texas on the road Saturday night. “I couldn’t be any prouder of Joe. He’s come a long way since his freshman year. He was throwing the ball well and looking like an NFL quarterback.”
  • Day said Ohio State recruited Indiana quarterback Michael Penix out of high school. “I’m not surprised he’s playing right away there.” Cites his high IQ, accuracy and mobility as reasons to be impressed with his play so far.
  • Day on defensive improvement so far this season. Right now, I think we’re seeing the best version of these guys.” Adds he thinks we’re seeing some guys come out of their shell a bit. “They feel like they have something to prove. They have a chip on their shoulder. I like being around guys like that.”
  • Day said defensive back Shaun Wade is very talented and can do many things for the Buckeyes’ defense. “I think he’s going to have a great year.”
  • Day said Drue Chrisman is “the best punter in the country.” Said he helps tremendously in field position.
  • Day said they want to continue to work with Fields on figuring out what’s going to happen within a play before it happens. “When you can anticipate what the defender is going to do or how they’re going to react, that’s when you become a great quarterback.”
  • Day said Fields did a good job in the run game last week: “I think he’s got a good handle on checking the run, who he’s reading and making sure his eyes are in the right place.”
  • “The No. 1 goal is to get your playmakers the ball in space,” Day said.
  • Day said you can’t necessarily plan for a scrambling quarterback to make plays with his feet, but it’s more so just learning through experience. “Give them certain perimeters, then trust them.”
  • Day on fans hitting the road to cheer on the Buckeyes: “To feel their support on the road is unbelievable.”

Running backs coach Tony Alford also spent time at the podium on Tuesday afternoon.

  • Alford said Dobbins still has some work to do in terms of blocking, but he’s continuing to become a more complete player. “He’s doing a nice job.”
  • Alford said Dobbins’ blocking is more impressive, particularly the one that sprung Fields for a touchdown, than his own 60-yard touchdown run.
  • Alford discusses Dobbins’ first-career start, which came at Indiana as a true freshman. “He’s a much different player now. He was trying to make these big (plays) all the time rather than take the game as it comes. Right now, he’s finishing runs better than he has, he’s stronger, he blocks better now than he did then. There’s the mental aspect of it all, as well. I think that’s all changed.”
  • Alford said Teague is earning more and more playing time with each day. “He runs really hard. The kid is a powerful kid. He can run, he’s big and he’s strong. We’re becoming more comfortable every day with him.”
  • Alford said the win over Cincinnati was far from flawless. “Did we play well? We did. But the key is to come back and learn how to enhance what we did.” The goal, he added, is to be the best team in the country in every facet of the game.
  • Alford said his recruiting approach hasn’t changed despite misses this summer. “You go after and recruit the guys that you feel fit the program.” Added there are plenty of prospects they’re targeting right now, but the misses do sting given his competitive nature. “Does it bother me? Hell yeah, it bothers me. But you make the necessary changes and do what you’ve gotta do.”
  • Day on freshmen running backs Steele Chambers and Marcus Crowley: “They’re hungry to learn.”
  • Alford said Demario McCall has the ability to be a matchup problem, but the key is to find those matchups and put him in a position to succeed.

Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison spoke for about 15 minutes, as well.

  • “When you’re able to coach and you have three equal parts — offense, defense and special teams — it makes it a pretty good day,” Mattison said of the Buckeyes’ overall talent.
  • Mattison said Brendon White will play more based on the opponent’s offensive scheme. “He trusts the system and he trusts what we do. He knows that’s a great opportunity for him.”
  • Mattison on the Buckeyes’ defensive line, particularly when teams want to double-team defensive end Chase Young. “When you have four guys who can rush — pick your poison.”
  • Mattison singled out Wade for his hits that forced an interception and nearly a second.
  • Mattison said the dual-threat quarterbacks are far more impressive than the pocket passers. “When you have a guy that can scramble and can make plays with his legs, as well as pass it well, It really makes it more difficult for you.”
  • Mattison said the defense is playing with great pride and very hard. “When you run to the football and play with great effort, the missed tackles and big plays really go down.” Pointed out how every player ran to the ball on the interception by linebacker Tuf Borland. “That’s what we want.”
  • “Indiana is very well coached and play extremely hard,” Mattison said. “They’re going to be a very big test.” Key for the Buckeyes is playing as hard as they can and focusing on trusting their teammates beside them. “You’re going into the alley a big.”
  • Mattison said the gap between some of the starters and their backups on the defensive side of the ball is very slim. Added that’s a sign of an older unit.
  • “They have the opportunity to be as good as they want to be, and I mean that sincerely,” Mattison said, noting it’s up to the players to reach their goals.
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