“It just kind of naturally happened and I felt more and more comfortable in the role every day. There are a lot of things I have done for the first time over the last couple of months. But once you do it, you feel more and more comfortable.”
Yesterday was the first time Ryan Day ran a practice as Ohio State’s official head coach, as the Buckeyes opened up spring practices. Sure, Day ran things as interim head coach during Urban Meyer’s suspension heading into the 2018 season, but now Day knows the program is all his and the buck stops with him.
Day knows there is a going to be some growing pains, but he is off to a good start in trying to jump outside of his comfort zone and making sure the defense gets just as much attention as the offense. While only one day of practice is in the books, the returns are already positive, as defensive end Jonathon Cooper has said Day has already been involved with the defense.
It’ll be interesting to see just how involved Day is with the quarterbacks going forward, as Justin Fields and Matthew Baldwin will battle it out to replace Dwayne Haskins. Day hired Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich to handle the quarterback coaching duties. Day plans to feel things out when it comes to how much time he spends working with the quarterbacks.
At least Day does have a little bit of experience as interim head coach to lean on when running practices, so it’s not like he is coming into the situation as a totally green head coach. Day is also a pretty young head coach and he has made a number of stops both in college and the NFL before taking the Ohio State head coaching job, so he has some experience at switching his focus and adjusting to new situations. In the end it’s likely Ohio State hired the best possible coach for the job, but it just might take a little time to adjust for everybody.
“I’d probably be more comfortable playing outside, but it’s up to them what they want me to play.”
Ohio State’s linebackers were a mess less year under Bill Davis, and that’s putting it nicely. Davis and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano put the linebackers in positions that didn’t properly showcase their talents, often having them crowd the line of scrimmage. While the linebackers didn’t publicly complain, it was obvious that they weren’t playing to the level they were capable of due to the mistakes of the coaching staff.
Now with new co-defensive coordinators Greg Mattison and Jeff Hafley, along with linebackers coach Al Washington in the fold, this talented group of linebackers can hit the reset button. One of those linebackers who is looking forward to a fresh start is Baron Browning, who came to Ohio State as the No. 10 overall recruit in the Class of 2017.
Despite Browning being more comfortable playing outside linebacker, he was called on last season to play middle linebacker, which is something he had never done before. It also didn’t help that Browning’s growth that he was sidelined for the Michigan State and Maryland games due to a concussion.
The change to a position Browning is more comfortable in might not happen immediately though, as he was practicing at middle linebacker behind Tuf Borland when Ohio State opened their spring practice on Wednesday. With Malik Harrison already at one of the outside linebacker positions, along with the Buckeyes trying Brendon White at a safety/linebacker hybrid position, the plan early on could be to make Browning more comfortable in the middle.
What is worrying is that this coaching staff could continue to try and fit a square peg in a round hole with Browning. Maybe this year Browning is used more as a third-down nickel linebacker, which happened at times last year. If the coaching staff sits Browning behind Tuf Borland and Pete Werner, the Buckeyes could really be underutilizing a great talent who could help this defense recover from last year’s debacle quickly.
“I think we keep Wisconsin on their toes. It’s that unexpected thought of what are we going to bring that day that makes them nervous.”
Ohio State’s women’s hockey team will be making their second straight WCHA Final Faceoff appearance this weekend in Minnesota, but the Buckeyes have some work to do if they want to make it to the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive year. The Final Faceoff is a two-day, single elimination tournament with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Those who don’t win their conference tournament but are among the teams ranked in the top eight in the country receive automatic bids. Ohio State is currently ranked ninth.
Ohio State will square off with Wisconsin on Saturday, and while the Badgers are ranked second in the country, the Buckeyes have had some success against Wisconsin this season. Ohio State has not only beaten Wisconsin twice in regulation, but they also have two shootout wins over the Badgers. While Wisconsin is averaging 3.8 goals per game this season, they have only been able to average two goals per game against the Buckeyes this year.
The Buckeyes are going to need goaltender Andrea Braendli to continue her strong play. After the freshman goaltender was named WCHA Goalie of the Month in February, Braendli is coming off her sixth shutout of the season, blanking Minnesota State 3-0 on Saturday. Wisconsin has peppered Braendli with 172 shots this season, but have only been able to score eight goals on the goaltender. The winner of Saturday’s contest between the Buckeyes and Badgers will move on to face either Minnesota or Minnesota Duluth in the final on Sunday.
STICK TO SPORTS
- A man claiming he was God ran across lanes of I-270 near Easton before jumping into a pond for nearly 20 minutes.
- Through March 1, if you buy a blizzard at Dairy Queen you can get a second one for 99 cents.
- Lawmakers are proposing a change that would remove the requirement for front license plates in Ohio.
- The Black Keys have released their first new song in five years.
- Taco Bell has given an Oregon man free food for a year after he survived five days in a blizzard on just three fire sauce packets.