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Ryan Day says playoff rankings don’t ‘mean anything to us’

That and more from the coach’s weekly Tuesday press conference.

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

It’s unusual for the Ohio State Buckeyes to have two off dates during a college football season, but for the second time in a month, head coach Ryan Day had the opportunity to get his team refocused and rejuvenated in the middle of the season following their 38-7 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers on Oct. 26.

The Buckeyes are now looking forward to the final four games of their regular season, beginning with Saturday’s game against the Maryland Terrapins at 12 noon ET. On Tuesday, Day met with the media to look forward to what lays ahead for his team, including with the initial College Football Playoff rankings being announced later that day.

Check out the video of the press conference here:

Ryan Day press conference to preview Maryland

Ryan Day press conference to preview Maryland

Posted by Ohio State Buckeyes on Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Player Notes

  • Day praised the toughness that Justin Fields showed against Wisconsin. He talked about his resiliency from getting hit in the head on one play, and then on the next, throwing a touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson.
  • The coach said that in addition to Chase Young having two healthy ankles, there is also something about being in their third season in the program is important, and that’s been obvious wth Young, J.K. Dobbins, and Jeff Okudah this year.
  • Day said that he tries to get players into games as soon as they are ready. But, sometimes their skills are further along than their technique and discipline. “We try to bring guys along as fast as possible.”
  • He said that upperclassmen also generally get the first shot, because time in the program matters, both in terms of knowing the systems and schemes, as well as putting in the time in the strength and conditioning process.
  • Day said that Damon Arnette has put in a ton of work in the off-season, and that he’s proud of the way that he’s grown and improved after deciding to come back for a senior season. “I think it’s so cool when you see somebody walking down the hallway and they tell you, ‘The best decision I made was coming back.’”
  • Perhaps in a slip that the coaches are looking at potential playoff match-ups, Day said that he’s enjoyed watching LSU quarterback Joe Burrow on TV and on film.

Team Notes

  • The coach said that the defensive players have matured significantly since last year, but that’s only part of the story. He said that, “These guys are all a year older. The scheme has changed. The teams we’re playing are different. These guys are hungry.”
  • Day wouldn’t bite when asked to essentially criticize last year’s defensive coaches. Instead, he pivoted to saying that there is something about a unit sitting all year and hearing that they aren’t very good.
  • In a team meeting, Day said that he told the players, “Congratulations, you’re relevant in November.”
  • Day said that players need to play. While they want to make sure that they keep them healthy, they need to get game-snaps in order to stay sharp. He said that rarely, if ever, will individual stats play into the decision-making process about when a player comes out.
  • Day said that when they watch film, even in wins, they need to focus on more than just the outcome, but how they are executing as well. It’s not enough to get by on talent alone.
  • The coach said that they are always want to be balanced between the run and the pass, but it is game-plan dependent, but no matter how well they perform, when you turn on the film there’s “always stuff to work on.”

Previewing Maryland

  • Day talked about how special teams coordinator and defensive assistant Matt Barnes coached at Maryland last year. He praised him for doing a good job in a tough situation, but he said that there’s been so much turnover on the team and coaching staff, there wasn’t much specific insight that he could provide.
  • The head coach admits to remember that last year’s game against the Terps was crazy. He said, “It was one of those back-and-forth games ... sometimes there’s some wacky games out there, and you have to adapt on the move.”
  • Day said that he thought Maryland played one of their best games of the season last week against Maryland.
  • The coach said that they are excited for how former Buckeye Keandre Jones is playing for Maryland. They were sorry to see him leave, but they understood and wish him well.

Miscellaneous

  • Day said that he’s not especially curious in the College Football player rankings that would come out later on Tuesday, because if they don’t win this week, they won’t be in the top four next week. He said that the rankings are “for the fans.”
  • He said that the team takes every game seriously. “If you don’t think they’re big, try losing one. They’re all big.”
  • Day admitted that with all of the work that the coaches and team puts in, they always try to make what they do fun. But fun is different at different times. “This time of the year, fun is a little different. Fun is winning.”
  • The coach admitted that when recruiting in Hawaii, the time and financial commitment certainly plays into their decision making process.
  • Having responded to an ESPN survey in which Day admitted that he would be in favor to playoff expansion, the OSU coach said that he thinks that if a team wins its conference, they should be in.
  • Day said that one of his favorite things to do after a noon game is to go home, order food, and watch games with his family. He said, “If you talk about being happy, that’s me being happy.”

The Buckeyes will host Maryland on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 12 noon ET in Ohio Stadium in a game that will be broadcast on FOX.