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Buckeye Bits: Ryan Day previews Penn State, Chris Olave’s availability, more

All of the latest Ohio State news from around the beat and beyond.

Nebraska v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

I don't know about you guys, but there’s just a different feeling in the air the week after an Ohio State win. There isn’t all that much going right in the world as we speak, but the return of the Buckeyes has brought at least some semblance of normalcy to a crazy period of time.

If there were any questions as to just how excited Buckeye Nation is to have football back, the TV ratings from this past weekend give a pretty clear-cut answer. With nearly 6.2 million viewers, the Ohio State-Nebraska game was the second most-watched college football game on any network this season, trailing only the Alabama-Georgia game.

We will likely see an even larger number this weekend, as despite the Nittany Lions’ stumble in their season opener against Indiana, the Ohio State-Penn State Halloween showdown still has massive implications for the rest of the Big Ten season.

Speaking of that matchup, let’s get to today’s headlines.

From around Land-Grant Holy Land...

Looking back at five key factors in Ohio State’s win over Nebraska
(Matt Tamanini, LGHL)

Before the game on Saturday, Matt highlighted five things he would be looking for in Ohio State’s season opener. With the game now in the rearview, he looks back at those factors and how they played out.

Basketball Buckeyes host virtual visit with 2022 PG
(Dan Hessler, LGHL)

The Ohio State football team has taken over 99.9% of the headlines these past few weeks — understandably so — but that doesn’t mean Chris Holtmann isn’t still putting in work.

Podcast: Talking Ohio State-Nebraska analytics with College Football Nerds
(Matt Tamanini, LGHL)

On the latest episode of In Conversation, Matt sits down with Josh from College Football Nerds to dive into Ohio State’s performance on Saturday, as well as preview the upcoming battle with Penn State.

Buckeye Clips: NFL Week 7 highlights
(Gene Ross, LGHL)

It was a great weekend for the Buckeye alum showcasing their talents in the NFL, as Terry McLaurin showed up an opposing DB and Denzel Ward created new ways to be awesome.

Firsthand Look: Black Shoe Diaries previews Penn State
(Tia Johnston, LGHL)

We will have more coming in terms of collabs with SB Nation’s Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries later this week, but for now we take a look back at their preseason preview of the Nittany Lions — although some things have already changed since then.

From around the gridiron...

Ryan Day kicked off Penn State week with a press conference on Tuesday, wherein he talked about some key aspects of the Nebraska game as well as looking ahead to Saturday night’s primetime contest.

Of course one of the main storylines from game one was the return of Haskell Garrett, who returned just two months after being shot in the face. Day had lots of praise for Garrett, who recorded a sack in the 52-17 blowout.

He was asked a bit about the run game, both in terms of the two-back system as well as his feelings on Justin Fields carrying the ball as much as he did. Day admitted he wants to see more out of the running game moving forward, but isn’t overly concerned about it, and isn’t worried about them not being able to get into a rhythm as a result of the rotation.

In terms of Fields, he says you will live with taking a few sacks as he tries to extend plays, because a lot of the times his scrambling allows you to pick up yards you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise if he just threw the ball away.

Speaking about Chris Olave, who left Saturday’s game with an injury, Day was not clear about the status of the talented wide receiver, saying they will “see how it goes as the week goes along.”

Moving forward to Penn State, Day says good teams show big improvements from Week 1 to Week 2, so this weekend will be a real test for the Buckeyes. Despite their loss to Indiana, Day thinks very highly of the Nittany Lions, saying that they looked excellent and that the final score did not really tell the story of the game.

Finally, Day is not yet ready to choose a winner in the battle for the backup QB job, and that Jack Miller’s appearance as the first man off the bench is not an indication he is ahead in that area.

Haskell Garrett was up next to the podium, and he talked about the great help he got from the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center as well as Ohio State’s training staff in the aftermath of the shooting. He did not want to go back and detail any of the events that went on that night, and instead just wants to focus on football.

Garrett has undergone multiple surgeries in the road to recovery, including a bone graft in his mouth. He is missing five teeth from the incident, and he has been mostly on a liquid diet as a result.

Garrett was incredibly happy to get back on the field and contribute the way he did. He lauded the work of the defensive tackle group as a whole, and said he has been able to lean on his teammates a lot throughout this process.

Josh Myers was up next, and he admitted there are things that need to be fixed along the offensive line after their first performance. He isn’t worried about anything, however, as he says any issues they had in that game are fixable.

Myers had lots of praise for Wyatt Davis and Harry Miller, and also firmly believes in Ohio State’s running back room. He said Nicholas Petit-Frere did very well in his first start as well. Myers was also very impressed with Garrett’s return to practice right from the initial play.

Garrett Wilson was the last person to speak on Tuesday, and he began by talking about how the extended offseason allowed he and Justin Fields to get really comfortable together. While Day wasn’t very upfront about Olave’s injury, the sophomore wide receiver feels “super confident” that his running mate will play against Penn State.

Wilson likes his new role in the slot, but is comfortable bouncing back and forth as well. He says his previous experience playing basketball has made him a better receiver.

From around the Big Ten

Usually the last segment of Buckeye Bits is a mixed bag of miscellaneous news stories, but there are a lot of big topics to discuss from around the rest of the conference today.

For starters, things are not looking so great in Wisconsin. Quarterback Graham Mertz has officially tested positive for COVID-19, and will have to sit out for the next 21 days as per Big Ten protocols. Mertz was filling in for the injured Jack Coan, and looked awesome in his debut. Mertz’s backup, Chase Wolf, also reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, but is still awaiting confirmation.

More bad news for another Big Ten program, Penn State will be without running back Noah Cain for the remainder of the season after suffering an injury against Indiana. Cain was already starting in place of Journey Brown, who is out with a medical condition.

From everywhere else...

Florida continues to struggle with COVID-19 — both the state and the football program.

The Michigan fan who threatened Ohio State players in coaches back in 2018 has been sentenced to jail time. Good riddance.