ATLANTA — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and Georgia head coach Kirby Smart met with the media on Friday as a part of the joint head coaches press conference for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
In the final time speaking to the head coaches before the semifinal game on Saturday, both coaches provided updates on the team and discussed how they have approached the Bowl week practices.
Here are the highlights of what was said from each head coach.
+ It’s been a great week for the team. Everything has been very convenient and efficient here in Atlanta. They have been on some bowl trips where they spent a lot of time on busses but not here.
+ This will be the most physical game they’ve played all season. The Big Ten and the SEC are two of the most physical conferences there are. Physicality is to be expected in a game like this. The players have been practicing that way and preparing that way because they know what kind of game it’s going to be.
+ Paris Johnson is a tremendous young man. He read his letter to the Players Tribune and says that’s why you get into coaching, to impact young people.
+ This was the situation they saw themselves in at the end of the year.
+ Georgia’s defense is complete and they have talented and developed players. They have athletic linebackers and they are powerful up front. “You see the statistics and the way they’ve played all year.”
+ The expectations at Ohio State and Georgia are at the highest level but the players embrace that. They come to Ohio State to compete in games like this.
+ Miyan Williams was back to practice on Thursday and he will be ready to go for Saturday.
+ On two Big Ten teams playing in the CFP Semifinals, Day said it’s very important for the conference and the level of play has improved over the years in the conference. “Week in and week out you have to bring it, and you play nine conference games.” With the physicality of the league, the Big Ten deserves to have two teams in the CFP.
+ College football is about developing young players. Bowl practice is similar to spring practice where young players can get a lot of work so if they need to fill a spot due to injuries, they can do that.
+ When asked about if players should receive a bonus or share in the profits of the bowl game, Day said moving down the road there should be more for players but he’s not able to put a number to it.
+ They have kept their routine more like a game week and less like a traditional bowl schedule. Saturday will be a long day getting ready for an 8:00 pm kickoff but they want to keep it as normal as possible for the players.
+ The best thing for recruiting is winning.
+ On preparing a game plan, Day said for the bowl structure they use, they spend the first part working on fundamentals and good on good. Then they treat it like a game week but they do have more time to look at their opponent. But there’s a point where they can overdo it, like the first game of the season because of the time they have. They try not to focus on the game plan too early because it’s going to come down to fundamentals and they still want to focus on that.
+ On losing to Michigan and being uncertain about making the playoffs, Day said getting in gave them a boost of energy and they went through a range of motions that week. They had an edge and focus during preparation. He was pleased with the way they have practiced and how they have gone at it. They had something taken way from them and that gives them more appreciation for what it is.
+ There’s going to be good plays and bad plays, ups and downs and twists and turns, but they have to play as hard as they can.
+ “You know who the leaders are and who the guys are that we turn to.” There’s a great group of guys and it’s time to go play the game.
+ The players have enjoyed Atlanta, a lot of them are from this area. The players have enjoyed the events and the experience.
+ Physicality is a part of this game and every football game. Line of scrimmage play and physicality are always critical. The Big Ten has great physicality and they have a lot of respect for that.
+ The two brands of both programs speak for themselves.
+ There’s always been pressure but they have had great leadership to set a standard for the young players. The standard for the program doesn’t change.
+ The team does yoga after every Thursday practice. The players really like it and it makes them feel better from a recovery standpoint.
+ Smart said he wasn’t excited to fly all the way out to California to visit C.J. Stroud but it was worth it to see Stroud because of the young man and player he is. He was impressive and returned the trip to Georgia so Smart thought they had a chance. He enjoyed getting to know him. Stroud is a tremendous leader.
+ Nobody thought Stetson Bennett would be here when he was coming out of high school. He is proud of the fact that he was consistent and stayed with it and didn’t jump ship when he was two or three on the depth chart. He wanted to prove that he could play at Georgia and he created his story by doing that. He’s been very consistent in his practices and he’s grounded in what he does.
+ They have kept the same routine as the season. But he wants the players to have the mindset that they arrived on Friday like a road game.
+ Ohio State’s offense is talented and they have one of the best tight ends in the country. But his team is focused on what they can do and winning the one on one matchups. They know they have to be active and disrupt the quarterback because Stroud is accurate and he can wear them out.
+ On preparing a game plan in the month of December, Smart said they are cautious of wearing the players down. But they try to fill breaks in with hard work, selling them on a plan from day one for the 28 days.
+ Marvin Harrison Jr. has elite ball skills and has trained behind great receivers. “Ohio State recruits wideouts at a high level and you see why.”
Photo by Marvin Gentry/Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl