COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and wide receiver coach Brian Hartline met with the media on Tuesday to preview the Buckeyes’ game at Nebraska on Saturday.
Here are the highlights of what was said at the press conference.
+ On the first playoff ranking, Day said it’s great for college football but he doesn’t talk about it at this point in the season. All that matters to them is winning this game. If they want to be ranked high, they have to keep winning.
+ Nebraska is good statistically speaking on both sides of the ball. They have played teams tough. “Just like any other game in the Big Ten, especially when you go on the road, it’s going to be a battle.”
+ On Nebraska, “I watched the film and they’re good, I don’t care what their record is.”
+ On Steele Chambers’ targeting penalty, Day said it was a unique situation because it was the first play in the second half. It has brought light to the inequity in the rule. If it happens on the first or the last play of the second half, it’s significantly different but the rule doesn’t show that. Day thinks the rule should be changed to a 30 minute penalty as opposed to the number of halves. The rule is in place for the right reasons but there’s a difference between what’s going on in real time and what’s on replay, it’s a difficult call. He will always advocate for his players.
+ After watching film, Day said C.J. Stroud made pretty good decisions. He did a good job of extending plays and making plays with his feet. He will have to continue to do that. There aren’t many plays where he would have Stroud do something different from what he did in the game.
+ On Master Teague, Day said he is day-to-day. He hopes Teague will have a good practice on Tuesday.
+ On not scoring in the red zone, Day said it was a combination of execution and coaching. There are things they all could have done better with.
+ On improving in the red zone, Day said they have to be able to run the ball well, they have to execute in the pass game and make the short runs. They can’t get off schedule and make negative plays.
+ “We’ve experienced a lot so far and I think that’s good for a young team to have experienced big wins, big losses, on the road, night games, early games, up and down, the offense has played well, defense has played well.” This team likes football and likes preparing. “We have to prove how consistent we are in November. This is when championships are won.”
+ Having balance on offense is key in tough games.
+ On the defense, they made good plays against Penn State. There was a lot of positives for sure.
+ On only one player being named a champion on offense, Day said it was not intentional to send a message. But they have standard and players have to be held accountable. The message is still that they didn’t execute as well as they would have liked but they kept fighting and won the game and that says a lot.
+ On making sure the players don’t overlook this team, Day said they talk about it and watch the film. Nebraska hasn’t lost a game by more than eight points. The players need to understand that it is like March Madness.
+ Palaie Gaoteote needs to step up big this week with Steele Chambers being out the first half.
+ On having two players in the Heisman Trophy race, Day said they don’t talk about it.
+ “You have to be able to win running the football in the red zone.” They didn’t do that on Saturday. There were penalties that got them out of whack.
+ On the recruiting weekend, Day said it was a long week and long weekend but it was great. The night in general was off the charts. It was a memorable night. It was great for the recruits and their families to be there and see that but there was certainly a lot to juggle. The recruits are a priority but they also have to go out and win the game. “That’s college football, you have to juggle a lot.”
+ Reality in a game against Penn State is not going out and scoring on 19 straight possessions. Stroud played winning football, there were a lot of positives there.
+ The refs have a tough job and he gets it but they advocate for their players and do it in a respectful and professional way. There were certainly some things they did turn in to the conference from this game.
+ On Penn State shifting their defensive line late and that challenging the offensive line with their assignments, Day said he thought they did a better job in the second half but they should have made adjustments sooner.
+ On the penalties, Day said the pre-snap movements affected Luke Wypler and got him out of whack but there was nothing else other than a lack of focus and discipline. They need to clean that up this week. They will be all over it this week.
+ Six defensive touchdowns is unbelievable. It’s a tribute to Jerron Cage’s hard work. His career hasn’t always gone the way he wanted but his touchdown was exciting for everyone to see.
+ On Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s presence even when the offense is struggling, he is athletic, tough, talented, he does a good job blocking. He is highly competitive and people see that. His approach and his consistency are impressive. He doesn’t need a lot of reps to get it right.
+ The wide receiver group is humble. They understand the process.
+ He sometimes pinches himself and he often can’t believe he’s the wide receiver coach at Ohio State. It hits him a lot and he doesn’t take it for granted.
+ On Marvin Harrison Jr.’s approach, Hartline said he has a very bright future. He has a mature approach, he sees the bigger picture, and he wants to learn everyday. He was raised by great parents and that’s evident. There’s a direct correlation between the overall atmosphere and his potential and his success.
+ On having the top three receivers in the country and which one has the highest grade in his room, Hartline said he hasn’t really looked at that. It’s more about “whose game is it this game?” and that’s the sign of a great offense. Everyone has to be accountable when it’s their day.
+ On rotating less at receiver this year, Hartline said pulling an older player off the field, the next player has to come in and play at that same level or it’s not fair. He understands from when he played that older, veteran players who deserve to play should play. Players understand their time will come. It’s always a constant conversation, they are always looking at it and being mindful of it. He hopes to continue to mature the younger guys because playing in the games helps with that, so they will continue to try and get more players on the field with that in mind.
+ He has always been impressed with the defensive backs.
+ On Julian Fleming’s health, Hartline said with how competitive it is, it has been hard for him. He’s feeling better now and they will see what this week holds. He had a great camp, players could see him coming along. He made impressive plays in camp that had people stunned.
+ Hartline offered Denzel Burke as a receiver and it hit him in the teeth when Burke told him he wanted to play DB.
+ As a unit, they are capable of being cleaner with their route running. The details are what separate people.
+ Ohio State is his passion.