Ohio State got some much-needed rest during the off week, allowing several of its banged-up players to get some time to heal before the Buckeyes embark on the second half of the season.
With the Buckeyes kicking off the back half of their schedule against Iowa on Saturday, head coach Ryan Day provided an update on where his team stands healthwise on Thursday.
Day said he felt more comfortable with how wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who missed four games and played sparingly during the Buckeyes’ games against Notre Dame and Toledo during the season’s first half, has progressed in terms of his health. When asked if he had seen enough from Smith-Njigba in practice this week to feel better about his status than in recent weeks, Day provided a simple answer — “yes.”
Ohio State is also expected to have both of its running backs in action against the Hawkeyes, after TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams each missed time in the two weeks prior to the off week.
“It’s great to have both of those guys back,” Day said. “I think that the bye week really helped both of them and we’re looking forward to having a full-strength running back corps.”
While the Buckeyes seemingly got healthier on the offensive side of the ball over the off week, Ohio State’s defensive depth took a hit. Day noted that safety Kourt Williams is dealing with “a long-term injury” and said that he’s not sure when Williams will be able to play next. Day emphasized that the loss of Williams hurts the Buckeyes in terms of on-the-field leadership since Williams is one of Ohio State’s six captains.
“When you have a captain, who’s not able to get on the field it’s not great,” Day said. “The good thing for us is that we have really good leadership on the team, so it hasn’t been felt as much. But, all the coaches and, certainly, the players who elected him as captain have a lot of respect for Kourt.”