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Ryan Day previews Ohio State’s Friday night contest with Northwestern

The weird Friday Night Lights game is moving the Buckeyes’ schedule around.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 27 Ohio State Press Conference Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

No, it’s not Tuesday, you didn’t sleep through all of Columbus Day. Because of the weird Friday night contest against the Northwestern Wildcats this week, Ohio State Buckeyes’ head coach Ryan Day had his weekly press conference on Monday instead of Tuesday this week.

Before the presser, it was announced that Ohio State’s Oct. 26 game against the Wisconsin Badgers would be a noon kick and would air on FOX. It had already been announced that the network’s “Big Nude Noon Kickoff” would be on campus for their pregame show.

Check out the video of the press conference here:

Ryan Day press conference to preview Northwestern

Ryan Day press conference to preview Northwestern

Posted by Ohio State Buckeyes on Monday, October 14, 2019

Previewing Northwestern

  • Day said that when he was a player and assistant under Chip Kelly at New Hampshire, they would watch Northwestern football film in order to learn about the spread offense. He credits Randy Walker and OSU’s offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson for being at the forefront of that trend. Wilson was Northwestern’s OC at the time.
  • The coach said that the team has to focus on this week’s game instead of Wisconsin. He said, “We all know what happens when you lose focus... You don’t take anything for granted. You don’t make any assumptions.”
  • Day said that it is hard to find a yard against this Northwestern defense. He said that it all goes back to head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
  • He said, “I think they do a tremendous job on defense. Pat is as good a coach as there is in the country. It’s hard to find a yard on them.”
  • He added that it’s pretty much the same defense for the Wildcats as in the Big Ten championship game, and they are still playing extremely well.

Team Notes

  • Day notes that even though the team is undefeated, there are still issues on film that need to be addressed, even if they haven’t cost them a game yet.
  • He said, “The players have to understand as coaches we’re not being over critical. Those issues are still... on the film and we have to address them.”
  • The coach said that their philosophy for recruiting is to open the doors for everyone and that they are competing against the highest academic schools in the country, and they have learned that because of the networking and academics that Ohio State affords, people learn what a great school it is.
  • Day notes that the ideal quarterback room is to have four players at a time, but they’ve come to grips with the fact that because of the transfer portal that’s not always possible. He said that because of the way that his staff coaches QBs, it is likely that backups will expect to be starters elsewhere.
  • “The way we develop quarterbacks here a lot of guys are going to feel like they can go somewhere else and play,” he said.
  • The coach said that he thinks that his defensive staff has done a good job in making sure that the players have an understanding of where their teammates on the field, and that has helped with limiting big plays. He said, “I think we’ve done a good job teaching where everybody fits into the defense.”

Player Notes

  • Day said that during the off week, the coaches gave every player three things that they needed to get better at so they had specific, actionable things to focus on.
  • The coach said that the true freshman have played more than a typical freshman would, so they are getting better with more experience. He added that they would need to prove that they are ready to play “in the big time” as the competition picks up.
  • He noted that Demario McCall did not play against Michigan State because of an issue that came up during pregame, but he hopes that he will be available on Friday. The coach said that as McCall gets healthy he’ll have more opportunities contribute on the field.
  • Day said that he thinks that true freshmen are coming in more ready to compete. “Now more than ever, guys are ready to play.” He added that one young player playing early is not a reflection on the young players who are not playing as much.
  • Day notes that Cameron Brown has come along incredibly well and matured to the point where he is taking care of everything off the field, and that transferring to what’s happened on the field. The coach said that Brown has show “a tremendous amount of growth.”
  • Day said that Justin Fields has been working with the vast majority of the offense the whole season, but they have added and tweaked during the off week.
  • He said that Fields has handled the offensive well so far, but there are things that he needs to work on. He added that there have been a lot of yards left on the field.


  • Day said that he likes the two open dates on the schedule. He said that it allows the coaches to reassess the team and allows the players to get healthy.
  • He said that since they’ve played a lot of depth throughout the first game, they were already pretty healthy, but the nagging injuries obviously build up.
  • Day noted that because of the Friday night game, they started their weekly schedule a day early, thanks to the bye week.
  • The coach admitted that the team is always monitoring the transfer portal. Mark Pantoni and his staff are always looking and when someone pops into the portal, they do their research to see if the player would be a proper fit.
  • He added that they currently do not monitor players on other teams that could end up in the portal, nor do they hold open a roster spot for a potential transfer.

The No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes will travel to Evanston, Ill. to take on the Northwestern Wildcats on Friday, Oct. 18. The game will kick off at 8:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.