COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day as well as DE Zach Harrison and WR Garrett Wilson met with the media on Tuesday to provide updates on the team and preview the Buckeyes’ game against Michigan State this Saturday.
Here are the highlights.
+ On redshirts, Day said there’s a lot of football left but if they can they would like to redshirt Kyle McCord and Evan Pryor.
+ Master Teague III is day-to-day.
+ Anyone who is a senior has an option to walk on Senior Day. They leave it up to them even if they haven’t made any decisions on their future yet.
+ On the lack of pass rush against Purdue, Day said the game turned into a passing game quickly because the score was so lopsided early on. There were times they could have tightened up coverage or got to the quarterback faster. There is a lot on film they can learn from by playing a passing team.
+ Running backs Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson complement each other well.
+ C.J. Stroud’s preparation has grown over time and continues to grow. When he came back after the week off he came back healthier, and with a different perspective and bounce in his step.
+ Bryson Shaw does a good job of getting everybody lined up and communicating. He has a great worth ethic and is a great teammate.
+ On the league, Day said this has been quite a year for the Big Ten. There have been some unbelievable games and great matchups. Week in and week out you’re finding out who can sustain in November, there are no weeks off. “You have to bring it week in and week out.”
+ On missing last year’s Michigan State game and being back for that this year due to COVID-19 challenges, Day said he thought about that the other day. He never wants to go through anything like that again. The Michigan State week in particular was really difficult. He learned about the character and culture of the team, but it was hard. He looks up in the stands more this season, seeing the fans having fun. Even going on the road in hostile environments. “That’s what this thing is all about.”
+ Michigan State plays with great energy. “Mel Tucker turned that roster into a championship-level roster quickly.” It’s a challenge across the board.
+ They have had to move players around on the offensive line. Day thought they were cleaner on Saturday and the protection was really good. “That’s the type of play we need from the offensive line in November in the Big Ten.”
+ They have been giving Stroud more and more leeway to make plays and change plays. There’s hours of work involved in that. He tells players they have to update themselves each week, like an iPhone. Stroud has done a good job of that.
+ On special teams, Day said they are taking a lot of pride in what they are doing. They have a really good group on special teams. They have an edge to them, they are on point. “That’s winning football.”
+ Michigan State plays complimentary football. They try to control the game on offense by running the ball, they don’t give up big plays on defense and they force turnovers.
+ Garrett Wilson is a pro. He took big steps in the offseason. His football IQ has gone way up, he’s upgraded his game. He has always been competitive and he loves to play but he’s taken a lot of strides.
+ On Chris Booker’s special teams play, Day said to see him make plays like that was tremendous. “When he got here he looks a lot different than he does now.” It’s great to see self-starters make a career for themselves.
+ Each team each week brings in a different set of issues.
+ “We are still a young team even though we’ve played more football now.”
+ On recruiting quarterbacks who see the field well, Day said he looks for an extraordinary trait like that.
+ On the linebackers identifying and attacking or reading and reacting and finding that balance, Day said they have the keys and then they use those keys to identify what to do. They look at how quickly players can see the keys and know how to react and how quickly they can react. The faster they can diagnose, the faster they can react.
+ A lot of teams are trying to take Chris Olave’s game away because they know what he can do. But he’s playing at a high level, he’s a great leader and he’s a captain. He has a bright future in football.
+ The seniors this class have been through a lot. They’ve won a lot of football games and a lot of them are leaving legacies behind. They are showing the younger players how things are done like the players before them did. Day is proud of that. He tells them not to wait to leave it on the field in the last game, do it now. It will be emotional but they will enjoy the day and take it all in.
+ On the weather in November, Day tells the players they just have to handle the weather better than their opponent.
+ On this being a top 10 matchup, Day said he tells the team it’s about their standard and playing their game but they have a lot of respect for their opponents. They are excited for this game being on the center stage and having College Gameday in town. “This is why players come to Ohio State.”
+ There’s an expectation that they have of the offense. They don’t focus on being the No. 1 scoring offense because they can’t just go out there and score points. They take it one play at a time.
DE Zach Harrison
+ On not getting the holding calls, Harrison said they just have to keep playing. It’s frustrating but there are ways to get around it. There’s technique that they try to implement so players don’t hold them.
+ On the challenges of pressuring the quarterback when Purdue got the ball out so quickly, Harrison said there were opportunities to make plays they just didn’t take advantage of them.
+ “We’re in the best conference in college football right now.” They have to play their best ball to win on Saturday.
+ On Kenneth Walker, Harrison said he’s a legit running back. They have to stay focused on fundamentals this week to limit him. He has good vision and he hits the holes hard.
+ On being a different defense than they were at the beginning of the season, Harrison said players are more confident and experienced. The first two weeks they had players playing with 0 starts.
+ Harrison feels like he’s become a more consistent player, impacting the game each week.
WR Garrett Wilson
+ The receivers have adjusted to the ball velocity from Stroud and scramble drills not being as big as a part of the offense. It takes time to build with a quarterback on scramble drills, but it’s more receiver-friendly to just have him drop back and pass consistently.
+ On the confidence in Stroud, Wilson said they have the ultimate amount of trust in him. “Seeing him do things in the game is clockwork.”
+ His time at Ohio State has flown by. He has an opportunity to make a hard but important decision to make at the end of the season. He hasn’t made a decision and wants to focus on finishing the season the right way.
+ The three receivers don’t talk about their statistics in a comparative way, but they credit each other. They all have a chance to get 1,000 yards and not a lot of people can say that.
+ This is the Big Ten he grew up watching. “Having a highly competitive Big Ten is all you can ask for.” They want to play these top 10 teams and prove themselves. They knew this was going to be an important stretch.
+ His career so far has been everything he dreamed of and more.
+ He focused on his preparation this offseason. He had a tough conversation with himself because he knew he could do more and bring more. He is approaching practice like he can get better everyday and it’s paying off. He has approached this season differently.
+ The perimeter play is huge for them because it forces defenses to go across the field and keeps them off balance. They try to switch it up each week and it makes it harder on defenses to account for everybody and cover the whole field.
+ His favorite touchdown against Purdue was the second one where he got the 50-50 ball. He feels he does a good job at those but doesn’t always get a chance to show that.
+ He was a gymnast growing up and was mad at his mom during, but now he’s really happy he did it. He’s very flexible and sees the benefits it has. It pays off.