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Ryan Day previews Ohio State’s trip to Nebraska in weekly press conference

Day said that Nebraska was, “By far the best team we’ve played.”

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

With their 76-5 victory over the Miami-Ohio RedHawks this past Saturday, the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes have concluded their non-conference schedule, and will now turn their full attentions to the Big Ten season (no offense, Indiana). On Saturday, the Buckeyes will travel to Lincoln, Neb. to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers who have had an up-and-down start to their 2019 season.

Despite many (including yours truly) picking them to win the Big Ten West, the Huskers have looked anything like champions in the early season, losing a heartbreaker to Colorado, and barely surviving against Lovie Smith’s scrappy Illinois team this weekend.

Even though Scott Frost’s team hasn’t looked as stout as they were perceived to be preseason, Day knows that his team will need to play its best game of the year in order to come out of corn country undefeated this weekend.

Before the presser started, the university did announce that there are tickets available for Oct. 5’s night game against the Michigan State Spartans still available for purchase through the box office thanks to Sparty returning a portion of their initial allotment.


Champions of the Game

Offense: Luke Farrell, Garrett Wilson, K.J. Hill

Player of the Game: Chris Olave

Defensive Champions: Jashon Cornell, Davon Hamilton, Javontae Jean-Baptiste

Players of the Game: Chase Young, Haskell Garrett

Special Teams Player of the Game: Sevyn Banks

Scout Team Players of Week: Austin Kutscher, Max Wray, Darryl Sinclair, Cade Stover


Previewing Nebraska

  • Day said, “We’ve got a real big challenge this week. By far the best team we’ve played.”
  • He said that the challenge that the Huskers bring is compounded by going on the road for a night game.
  • The head coach praised Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez. He said that Martinez is “great competitor, great leader, has a great way about him... He is by far the best quarterback we’ve seen.”
  • He continued about the QB that he at one point recruited, “His ability to run and throw and his intelligence, he’s by far the best quarterback we’ve seen.”
  • Day said that Martinez was “very close’ to getting a scholarship offer from Ohio State, but didn’t offer it because he didn’t play his senior year of high school, so they couldn’t pull the trigger without the senior film.
  • Discussing the transfer of safety Isaiah Pryor, Day said, “We wish him nothing but the best. We’re obviously disappointed that he made the decision to leave the program four games in... but there’s no ill will there.”
  • Day said that a lot of the Huskers’ skill players are dangerous. “Wan’Dale (Robinson) is really dynamic. He reminds me of the kid from Purdue.” I’m gonna guess that he is talking about Rondale Moore.
  • He said that Nebraska has improved tremendously since last season by adding pieces on both sides of the ball. He said that any time you are in the second year under a new coach, things naturally start to click into place more often.

Team Notes

  • While discussing the fact that the team hasn’t had to play a full four-quarter game yet, Day said, “We have to be able to play 60 minutes and prove we can play 60 minutes. That has not happened. Good news is we’ve picked up some depth.”
  • Day praises special teams coordinator Matt Barnes and the rest of the assistant coaches for the stellar performances that have happened so far this year.
  • On the transfer of Pryor, Day said that they think that they have the depth to fill in the spot, even if it means moving guys from other positions.
  • On the team meeting preseason expectations, Day said, “I think we’ve shown some flashes and have played hard and played tough. Until you really get going with some of these conference games, you don’t really know where you are... I think it’s a solid start, but it’s just a start.”
  • Day said that the coaches do a lot of “concept-based teaching,” which allows them to move in and out of different schemes. That, in theory, should allow the players to be more flexible.
  • The coach said that while players haven’t been producing as much as they would like, they understand that “they’re time is coming.” Because they haven’t had to play a full game yet, the stats and numbers just haven’t had a chance to build up yet.

Player Notes

  • Day mentioned that after Garrett Wilson’s role as one of the team’s punter returners will be expanding following his electric run against Miami (OH)
  • The coach said that Jeff Okudah has done a great job picking up the technique that new secondary coach Jeff Hafley has been teaching him. He said that the cornerback will have to keep that up as teams have more film on him.
  • Day said that they knew that true freshman wide receiver Jameson Williams was fast when he got here, but he admitted that, “what we didn’t know is how tough he was.”
  • Day said that they talk about adversity with Justin Fields, and that when it eventually happens, how he needs to deal with it.
  • Talking about his quarterback, Day said, “He has grown for sure. He will continue to grow. He has a good approach to it and a good mindset. But there will be adversity.” He said that this is the thing that will be the most important for Justin Fields.

Miscellaneous

  • Day admitted that his intelligence helped him play QB at New Hampshire far better than his athletic ability did.
  • The coach said that he’d seen highlights of Wisconsin, and in some crossover film, but he’s been impressed by what the Badgers are doing this season.
  • He also talked about the process of getting a team ready for a night game. He said that the goal is to keep them focused all game. He doesn’t want players getting lethargic in their rooms all day, so they will have a walk through and meetings to keep them up for the game. He said that it is “definitely an art.”
  • Day said that dominant players can absolutely change a game. While he can’t do it along, great players can absolutely make a major impact.
  • When asked if it’s harder to get a team with six-win talent to win nine games, or more difficult to get a team with 10-win talent to win 12 games, he said, “I don’t know if I have a great answer for that, but that’s the art of coaching.”
  • The coach said that when it comes to making a quick, in-game decision, he prefers that there is quiet on the headset so that he can focus on all of the factors.
  • Day said that he takes a lot of pride about staying focus on the plan to win and now that he is the head coach he keeps in mind the totality of the team even more than he did as the offensive coordinator.

The No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes will travel to Lincoln, Neb. for their first primetime contest of the season as they take on Scott Frost’s Nebraska Cornhuskers. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 28 and will be aired on ABC.