On Tuesday, Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day met with the media to put a bow on his team’s season-opening 45-21 win over the Florida Atlantic Owls, and to look forward to Saturday’s in-state matchup with Luke Fickell’s Cincinnati Bearcats, who defeated the UCLA Bruins 24-14 in Week 1.
Before the press conference got started, the university announced that tickets were still available for Saturday’s game against the Bearcats.
Check out the video of the press conference here:
Champions of the Game
Offense: Master Teague, Jake Hausmann, Chris Olave, Austin Mack, Thayer Munford, Jonah Jackson, Josh Myers, Wyatt Davis, Branden Bowen
Player of the Game: Justin Fields
Defense: Jashon Cornell, Davon Hamilton, Robert Landers, Pete Werner, Jeff Okudah, Jordan Fuller
Players of the Game: Malik Harrison, Chase Young
Special Teams Players of the Game: Isaiah Pryor, Demario McCall
Reviewing Florida Atlantic
- The head coach praises Fields’ performance in terms of game management. He said that the QB didn’t try to force the ball into places that he shouldn’t.
- He added that there were some reads that needed to be cleaned up, but the more experience that Fields has in the offense in game situations, the better that he will be.
- Day said that the offense and defense played well for the first quarter (and that the D was strong in quarter 2), but that they need to make sure that both sides of the ball play consistently throughout the game.
- Despite having two turnovers on Saturday, Day was pleased with the ball security. He said that the plan to win emphasizes zero turnovers, but the bubble turnover was a weird situation that they will clean up, but J.K. Dobbins coughing one up on a spin is unacceptable.
- “That was inexcusable. That cannot happen... I know J.K. He’s going to bounce back from that,” Day said.
- Day went on to say that Dobbins was good at controlling the ball throughout the game and that “he was crushed” when the turnover occurred.
- The coach said that all young quarterbacks need to adapt to playing in the pocket. The way to do that is to get rid of the ball quickly. However, when you have a quarterback that can run, you have to train him not to exit the pocket too quickly.
- Day also praised Fields for sticking in the pocket to deliver good balls to receivers despite taking hits from the defense. He said that’s “Big Ten football.”
- In watching the film, Day said that there was less extra running yardage to be had than he anticipated.
- “I actually, after watching the film, was more pleased with the way the offensive line blocked than what I felt coming off the field,” he said.
- Day said that he thought Master Teague ran well on Saturday. “I thought he ran hard... He carried some defenders with him.”
- The coach said that he was a bit uncomfortable with the amount of hits that Fields took, however, that’s part of the learning curve for a first-time starting quarterback.
- There will be times that Fields has to be physical, but he has to learn when to throw the ball away, when to slide, and when to get out of bounds.
- “He’s also got to learn that this is a long season,” Day said.
- Day said, “Jonah Jackson had nine knockdowns in the game, which is significant.”
- The coach said that Young was strong on and off the field, and that being able to do both is impressive.
- Day said that the way that the FAU game played out was a little strange, but there are things that they can do to work on execution, including penalties, that can help them get to a well-rounded, 60-minute performance.
- The coach said that his favorite play of the game was when Fields threw the ball away on a third-down. He said that “the big plays will come,” but you have to manage the every-down plays.
- Day said that after watching the Bearcats on film that OSU has their “hands full.”
- He praises Luke Fickell and what he’s built at Cincinnati.
- Day said that he likes to talk to the team about where they are and the history of the program and the matchups. He mentioned that they would talk to teams about those types of things on Tuesdays, but that he won’t spend much time going into the Ohio State history for coaches on the Cincinnati staff.
- Day talked about the veteran presences on UC’s roster. “They’re well-coached, they’re disciplined, they play hard,” he said.
- Day said that he has gotten to know Luke Fickell and Marcus Freeman a little bit — Fickell more so— but not too much personally. However, he praised them as coaches. About Coach Fick, he said, “Tremendous coach and what he’s done here speaks for itself.”
- He returned to Fickell’s history at Ohio State, saying, “He’s got a decorated history in terms of what he did with his wrestling career and what he did as a player... A lot of respect.”
- Day said that they will have to be able to improve significantly against UC. He said that the team needs to be able to play a 60 minute game in order to beat a team that’s won a lot of games.
- The coach said that he spoke to his former coach and boss Chip Kelly following UCLA’s loss to Cincinnati. Day didn’t get into the details of what was discussed, but did say that it wasn’t really about Xs and Os.
- In terms of recruiting, Day said that they are “full” in terms of running backs because of the players currently on the roster. However, they will continue to evaluate throughout the fall and will see what happens as the season goes on in terms of NFL entrants and other changes.
- In terms of having Fields work under center, he said that it gives the team some versatility in terms of direct runs, play-action passes, etc. They will continue to work on that package as the season progresses.
- Day said that Fields felt comfortable under center, so it made sense, but it wasn’t something that they would have done regardless.
- He said that the importance of the QB and center connection is real. He said that anytime in practice that they had a fumbled snap, both players had to take a lap and talk about what happened and how to fix it. “It gives them a little time to think it through,” he said.
- Of being under center, he said, “I was trying to keep it under the vest but it’s out there now. I think that it gives us a lot of things. Direct runs, play-action pass, it’s good to have for a lot of reasons schematically.”
- He said that they don’t have a specific backup QB, but Chris Chugunov got some playing time because he’s had a good camp.
- Day said that McCall was solid in kick/punt returns. He thought that there were a few other punts that he thought the returner could have gotten his hands on. He also said that he took care of the ball, which is a good start.
- The coach said that you want to praise the players who played hard, because there was a lot of that, but that you want to work on the things that need corrected without being too negative.
- Now that you have a game on film, this is where the real coaching work is done.
The No. 5 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will take on the Cincinnati Bearcats on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 12 noon ET in Ohio Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ABC. Land-Grant Holy Land will have you covered before, during, and after the game, so stick with us here, on Twitter, and in our podcast feed for all of the Buckeye news, info, and analysis you need and deserve!