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Ryan Day press conference notes: Justin Fields is “light years” ahead of schedule; team has more things to improve upon

Dobbins, Arnette, Olave named Champions for IU game. Now, its onto Miami (OH).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 27 Ohio State Press Conference Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Matt Tamanini Matt Tamanini is the co-managing editor of Land-Grant Holy Land having joined the site in 2016.

On Saturday, the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes kicked off their 2019 Big Ten schedule with their first road game of the campaign. They went on the road to Bloomington, Ind., and blew out the Indiana Hoosiers 51-10. Running back J.K. Dobbins crossed 200 yards from scrimmage, and the defense only gave up one touchdown on a perfect double-pass.

Now, the Buckeyes will return home for their final non-conference game of the season as they will host the Miami Redhawks on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

On Tuesday, head coach Ryan Day met with the media to discuss where his team stands one quarter of the way through the season, while recapping the IU win and previewing this weekend’s game against Miami (OH).

Check out the video of the press conference here:

Ryan Day weekly press conference to preview non-conference finale vs. Miami

Ryan Day weekly press conference to preview non-conference finale vs. Miami

Posted by Ohio State Buckeyes on Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Champions of the Game

Offense: Rashod Berry, Branden Bowen, Wyatt Davis, Luke Farrell, Justin Fields, Jonah Jackson, Austin Mack, Thayer Munford, Josh Myers, Chris Olave, Master Teague, Binjimen Victor

Player of the Game: J.K. Dobbins

Defensive Champions: Jordan Fuller, Davon Hamilton, Robert Landers, Shaun Wade, Pete Werner, Chase Young

Player of the Game: Damon Arnette

Special Teams Player of the Game: Chris Olave

Scout Team Players of Week: Nathan Brock, Robert Cope, Tommy Eichenberg, Alex Williams

Team Notes

  • Ryan Day opened the press conference talking about the College Football Coaches Association Teacher’s Week. He publicly thanked all of the teachers in Columbus, Ohio, and across the country.
  • The coach notes that despite the wins, there are a lot of things that the team needs to fix. He said that it has been frustrating to watch the film and see things that should be cleaned up.
  • “We played well, but we didn’t play great,” Day said. “We played hard, we played tough, but there are so many things to clean up.”
  • Day said that while the scheme has changed on defense, the reason that they are playing well is because they are playing tough, running to the ball, and tackling well, but there’s still a lot to improve upon.
  • The coach admitted that he has felt that this team could be special. He said that he’s shared that with the team, but they aren’t there yet. He said that as cliché as it might sound, they need to stay focused on one day at a time.
  • Day said that while people are getting excited outside of the program, that doesn’t impact the work that they have to do on a daily basis.
  • “If we want to get to where we want to go,” Day said, “we have to take it one week at a time... If we train the way we train, Saturdays will take care of themselves.”
  • Day said that the reason that the team is special is not just on the field, “They’re the kind of kids you want your family to be around.”
  • The coach said that at this point in the season, coaches are starting to understand what their opponent is going to do now that there is film out there, but it won’t be until mid-season until that really comes into focus.
  • In response to a number of time management issues in last weekend’s games, Day said that they spend a lot of time in the preseason and spring on clock and game management. They also spend a little time on Fridays on those issues. He said that “those decisions should already be made before you get into the game.”
  • Day noted that conversations are and should be happening about redshirting this year. He said if they think that a player can help them, they are going to play, but they don’t want to burn the redshirt.
  • He said that with the new four-game rule, Day likely won’t tell a player that he is redshirted for the season, because if they can end up helping later in the season, they will play.
  • The coach said that the team wants to be the best in the country. “That’s our goal, and we’re not ashamed to say that.”

Player Notes

  • Day said that there’s a lot that goes into Justin Fields developing as a quarterback. Talking about two specific overthrows from the QB, Day said, “On two of those throws, he had a guy right in his face. The touchdown he had to Austin, same thing, there was a guy right in his face.”
  • He said that so much of being a quarterback is experience. But, despite that, Day said “[Fields is] managing the game well.” The coach said that despite the need to improve, Fields is “light years” ahead of where he expected him to be this early in the season.
  • Day added, “When someone with that little experience comes to play QB at Ohio State, there’s a lot to handle and he’s handle them.”
  • The coach said that they are throwing a lot of offense at Fields, perhaps more than ever before, but he is handling it well.
  • Day added that most quarterbacks have a tendency to over-stride, which would result in their elbows dropping, and the ball sailing. They work on that every week in practice, but Fields is not unusual in that regard.
  • When asked about Fields’ personality being pretty low-key, Day said, “That’s Justin.” He said that he tells all quarterbacks to just be yourself. He added that Fields is very smart and takes to coaching extremely well.
  • Day said that Fields is becoming a leader for the team, “The guys on the team really respect him and the way he goes about his business.”
  • Day said that the test for Branden Bowen will be later in the season as the physical toll of the year starts to add up.
  • He also discussed the backup quarterback position, noting that the longer Gunnar Hoak is in the system the more he learns. He said that in-game weeks are difficult to get a new player up-to-speed, that’s more possible during a bye week, but he is picking the system up quickly.
  • Day said that he’s been excited to see Master Teague III get going in games.
  • On defense, the coach said that the defense is flying around, and they have been able to play some depth, allowing multiple people to flash when they’ve had the opportunities.
  • The coach praised Chris Olave for how hard he practices. “Certainly the last six games, his production has been off the charts,” Day said. “But that’s how he practices. He’s highly productive for a reason.”

Previewing Miami (OH)

  • Day noted that Miami has played in tough environments before, so they shouldn’t be intimidated by playing in Ohio Stadium.
  • He also noted that they will have to adjust their schedule for their first 3:30 p.m. ET game of the season.
  • Day said that they will keep the team focused this week as they normally do. They won’t manufacture anything, but it is part of the weekly process. “We can’t get distracted. Once that happens, you set yourself up for failure.”

Reviewing Indiana

  • In response to Indiana’s coaches saying that they wanted to attack OSU’s offensive line on the right side, Day said that Branden Bowen and Wyatt Davis are two of the best linemen in the country. But, as new starters, it’s natural for opponents to go after them until there’s tape available.

The No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes will return home to host the Miami Redhawks on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 3:30 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.