“Ryan Day is not the primary focus of the story at Ohio State. But that’s where all the attention will go. That’s where the key response that will help determine how his program is perceived will be made.”
Ryan Day was faced with by far his toughest situation as the head coach at Ohio State. Winning on the field each week is hard, but it is nowhere near as difficult or serious as the allegations that have been levied against two of the players on his football team.
Initially reported in detail by Eleven Warriors, senior cornerback Amir Riep and senior safety Jahsen Wint were charged with rape and kidnapping by Columbus Police on Tuesday. The two were arrested and booked into Franklin County Jail early Wednesday morning, with their arraignments scheduled for Thursday morning. Both players had already been suspended indefinitely by Ohio State from all football team activities as of Tuesday night.
Ryan Day had a big decision to make moving forward. Obviously, this is the first true instance of off-the-field adversity the program has faced under Day, with Chase Young’s two-game suspension for flying his girlfriend out to the Rose Bowl not even in the same realm of seriousness as the current situation. There is absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Ohio State, or anywhere else for that matter. As such, it was not at all surprising to see Day take action before the legal process is finished.
In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, Day had the following to say:
“I have dismissed Amir Riep and Jahsen Wint from our football program. I am not making any statement on the criminal charges, but it is clear they did not live up to our standards and my expectations. The athletics department will make sure they both continue to have access to the health and well-being resources available to students and student-athletes. Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, I will not be commenting further.”
Ryan Day has made it clear that whether proven guilty or not, the actions taken by the two athletes to find themselves in this situation in the first place are not a reflection of the standards and expectations at Ohio State, and as a result they have both been dismissed from the football program.
“With 7:47 remaining and the score tied at 15 inside the Kohl Center, [Kaleb] Wesson picked up a second foul and was replaced by junior forward Kyle Young. From that point, the Badgers would close the half with a 23-5 run, scoring the final 16 points going into the locker room to blow the game wide open.”
Kaleb Wesson has been undeniably the best player on Ohio State’s roster this season. Averaging team-highs in both points (14) and rebounds (9.6) on the year, the junior forward has been a huge reason for much of the team’s success. However, on the same note, a big reason for Buckeyes’ recent troubles has been an over-reliance on their big man, failing to run a consistent offense or find other methods of scoring when he is not on the floor. This was no better exemplified than in the team’s last game against Wisconsin.
Ohio State was thoroughly beat down by the Badgers in Madison on Sunday, thanks in large part to a dreadful stretch in the first period by the Buckeyes. In a tie game with a little under eight minutes remaining until halftime, Wesson got into foul trouble resulting in an extended trip to the bench. By the time he would return with a little over a minute left until the break, his team was now down 13 points, and Wisconsin would go on to finish the first period on a 16-0 run.
There are a multitude of reasons why OSU has struggled without Wesson, the first being a lack of size and interior scoring. Outside of the 6-foot-9 Wesson, Ohio State does not have a ton of length at the forward position, and have no true center on the roster. Kyle Young is 6-foot-8, but is more of a scrappy defense and rebounding player rather than a true scoring threat on a nightly basis. Andre Wesson is 6-foot-6, but profiles more as a point forward deep-ball threat than an interior presence. The only other forward that sees consistent minutes on the roster is E.J. Liddell, who despite being a very physical player is also just 6-foot-6.
The issue of size compounds itself on nights where the Buckeyes’ guards are not hitting their shots. Kaleb Wesson alters a team’s defensive scheme by forcing them to commit to guarding him in the paint, while also having to respect his abilities as a three-point shooter. Without Wesson on the floor, opponents do not have to worry about interior scoring nearly as much, and can focus on locking down the perimeter. This makes life much harder for Ohio State’s other scoring options like Duane Washington Jr. and CJ Walker, who have done a good amount of their damage this season from beyond the arc.
Chris Holtmann must find a way to get more out of his team with Wesson on the bench. When guys are hitting their shots, everything runs smoothly. But when they are not, they must find a way to do a better job attacking the paint despite a potential size mismatch. There is still a lot of basketball to be played, and the marathon continues when Ohio State hosts Rutgers tonight. Check out our game preview and prediction for more insight on Wednesday night’s Big Ten battle.
“With eight-straight wins in The Game, the Buckeyes are riding their longest winning streak in the history of the rivalry, and today it stretches to 3,000 days for the first time ever.”
We have officially reached the 3,000-day mark since Ohio State football last lost to Michigan!
It is the longest such streak for the Buckeyes in the history of the rivalry, but not the longest overall, unfortunately. Michigan owns the two longest win-streaks in The Game’s history, although both came before football was a real thing. The Wolverines won nine-straight from 1901-1909, and went unbeaten in the first 15 years of the rivalry between 1897 and 1918.
However, considering the television wouldn’t even be invented for another eight years, do those wins really even matter? Whose to say they ever happened at all? Certainly not me.
Ohio State has absolutely dominated the rivalry in the modern era, going 15-1 against TTUN since 2004. In fact, the Buckeyes have not lost a game against the Wolverines in Columbus since 2000, with their only defeat in the last decade and a half coming in Ann Arbor in 2011. UM head coach Jim Harbaugh is now 0-5 against Ohio State, and we can only hope he gets the lifetime contract he truly deserves.