On Saturday, in the remnants of a tropical storm, the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes passed a significant hurdle when they beat the then-No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers 38-7. Beyond two dominating performances by Chase Young and J.K. Dobbins, the Buckeyes again reiterated that they are as complete a team in the country, and that they deserve to be on the forefront of everyone’s minds when it comes to the playoffs and national championship.
As OSU heads into the final third of their season, head coach Ryan Day met with the collected media on Tuesday to discuss the game against the Badgers and to look forward to the four games remaining following this week’s open date.
Check out the video of the press conference here:
Ryan Day Press Conference: Bye Week Update, presented by OSUCCC-James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research InstitutePosted by Ohio State Buckeyes on Tuesday, October 29, 2019
- Day said that cornerback Jeff Okudah is very well-rounded. He says that not only is he a talented player who pays at a high level, but he is also a leader for other players in terms of how he prepares and approaches his responsibilities.
- About Okudah, he added, “He’s another guy in his third year who has matured to the level that other guys on the team look up to him and the way he approaches it day in and day out.”
- In discussion defensive end Chase Young, Day said, “Having a player like Chase playing the way he has clearly changes the game.”
- He said that his performance only matters if he continues to play that way as the team moves into the teeth of the schedule. As he has performed so well, he will have “the biggest bullseye he’s ever had on his chest.”
- With Justin Fields, J.K. Dobbins, and Chase Young earning consideration for the Heisman Trophy, Day said that this is the way that it should be at Ohio State. He said that he doesn’t think that any of those players came into the season with the goal to win the Heisman, but “When you’re at Ohio State, this is what the norm should be.”
- Day laughed when asked if he would try to get Young some offenses touches, but said that they aren’t going to risk anything to get him a “Mike Vrabel touchdown.”
- In discussing the team’s leaders, Day said that he’s always talked to players about leadership being about authenticity, and to find their own way to set an example. He said that there are players that want to leave a legacy, not just stats.
- Day said that Young is a very intense leader, and while Dobbins is a little quieter during the week, but ramps up as game day approaches.
- The coach said that the story of Justin Hilliard becoming a contributor, and having a big game against Wisconsin, should be discussed more. In the day and age of the transfer portal and multiple injuries, the fact that Hilliard has stuck it out shows what type of player and person he is.
- Day said that they have not discussed pursuing a sixth year of eligibility for Hilliard, but after the season, if that is something that he is interested in, they will discuss it.
- Jashon Cornell had one of the best off-seasons of anyone on the team, according to Day. He’s starting to have a voice, getting up to speak in front of the team — which is not natural to him.
- Day said that Chris Chugunov doesn’t get a lot of reps with the first team, because they want to make sure that Fields gets as many snaps as possible, since he is still fairly inexperienced in his career.
- He said that despite Field being banged up on Saturday, he said that he was ready to run the ball as needed. The head coach said that “he’ll be fine.”
- Day said that it is very difficult to step in as a true freshman and contribute, but as the season has progressed, Garrett Wilson has made tremendous improvements, and is working towards becoming the starter at punt returner.
- The coach said that positive press means that as it builds, “All it means is you have a lot more to lose if you let it get away from you.”
- He added, “These opportunities don’t come around but a few times in a lifetime. You have to capture those moments. What are you willing to sacrifice to go achieve those goals?”
- Day said that he’s confident with the running back recruiting, and thinks that they will finish strong. But, he also added that they are very confident in the players that are currently in the RB room.
- He said, “I think you’d be foolish not to give Ohio State a hard look” if you are a high-caliber running back recruit.
- Day said that he thinks that the fact that they’ve been able to get a lot of players on the field thus far in the season can only be a good thing. The longer you play, the more potential there is for injury. So, the ability to bring in players that have had experience is a great luxury.
- Last season, OSU was the most penalized team in the country, but this year it is almost the opposite. Day said that there were some things that they added into practices — running on penalties, etc. — but he credits the players committing to making a change in that area. He said, “It really goes back to our guys and the discipline they have.”
- Day said that the team had to play tough on Saturday because of the opponent and the weather. It was especially important in the third quarter, as the Badgers cut the lead to 10-7. “That was the first time I felt like our team was ‘backs up against the wall.”
- He said that watching the film, there were a lot of little things that need to be cleaned up, especially on offense in the first half. He said that there’s nothing major glaring, but a lot of little things can add up.
- Day said that he learns a lot from his mistakes, in terms of recruiting, working with players on and off the field, schematics, etc. He said, “In life, you either succeed or you fail, and you learn.”
- During this second bye week in the past month, Day said that it’s important to check in with as many players — committed or not — and continue to build and maintain those relationships. He ended up seeing seven recruits around the state of Ohio on Monday.
The No. 3 Buckeyes will be off this week before returning to the field on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 12 noon ET in Ohio Stadium.