Ryan Day: ‘To Win the National Championship, You Have To Be Able To Throw It’

Ohio State football Dwayne Haskins 2019 NFL Draft New York Giants

If you are going to play for a national championship in today’s college football, you’ve got to be able to throw the ball.

Just look at the teams who have matched up in each of the finals of the five College Football Playoffs.

Cardale Jones, Marcus Mariota, Deshaun Watson, Tua Tagovailoa, and Trevor Lawrence have all gotten their teams there, and each of them did it with the help of their respective throwing shoulders.

Leading up to the College Football Playoff semifinal in 2016 between Ohio State and Clemson, members of the Tigers defense openly talked about their lack of concerns for OSU’s offense.

In the two games prior to the playoff matchup, Buckeye quarterback JT Barrett completed 10-of-22 passes for 86 yards against Michigan State and 15-of-32 passes for 124 yards against Michigan. Both were wins, but you can see why Clemson was feeling their oats.

The Tigers ended up beating Ohio State 31-0, holding the Buckeyes to just 127 yards passing. After the game, Urban Meyer said that this would never happen again, and so far it hasn’t.

Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson were brought in and they brought a passing game with them.

Barrett responded in 2017 with one of the greatest individual seasons in OSU history, but the team fell short of their playoff goals.

The passing game was better, but Barrett still threw four interceptions in the loss at Iowa, and completed just 3-of-8 passes for 30 yards in two-and-a-half quarters against Michigan before being replaced by Dwayne Haskins.

It didn’t take long watching Haskins in 2018 to realize that he was much, much different than Barrett. For the first time since Cardale Jones in 2014, there was a quarterback at Ohio State that could make the best secondaries sweat.

The Buckeyes had a quarterback who could throw the ball well enough to win a national championship.

Unfortunately for Haskins, the OSU defense didn’t cooperate.

With Haskins off to the NFL, there is a job opening at Ohio State, and whoever wins that job will have the OSU offense molded to his abilities — but the needs will remain the same.

“As we move forward with our new quarterback, we figure out what he does best, we’ll emphasize that,” head coach Ryan Day said. “There are certain thing that will stay consistent. We believe we have to throw the ball to be able to win, whether it’s a two-minute drill in the Penn State game with J.T. or the two-minute drill we did with Dwayne towards the end of the season. That’s part of it.”

Regardless of who wins the job, the offense will remain the same. At least in relative terms.

“The offense that we ran with JT and the offense we ran with Dwayne is still the same offense,” Day said. “What I mean by that is the plays are still the plays, the playbook is the playbook. What plays we emphasize is based on the quarterback, always has been. The other part of it is, who is the best 11? Does it mean there’s an extra tight end, extra running back in the game. How does that fit?”

So while everyone will be looking at the quarterback, he is still going to be a product of those players around him. Dwayne Haskins had a bunch of talented veteran receivers to throw to, so he and Day utilized them.

This year, they’ll need to find new parts of the offense to utilize.

“Each year we’ll put the best guys up on the board, figure out who they are, how does that match with what the quarterback can do. What makes him special?” Day said. “Clearly what made Dwayne special last year was his ability to throw in the pocket, especially downfield, his accuracy. What made J.T. special was his combination of being able to throw, run. He could do a great job in short yardage situations, durable, great decision maker, took care of the ball, excellent in the red zone.”

Justin Fields and Matthew Baldwin are two very different quarterbacks, but they are both fighting to run the same offense. And despite their differences, they will both have to be able to throw the ball very, very well if the Buckeyes are going to reach their ultimate goal in 2019.

“If you want to go win the whole thing, you have to be able to throw the ball,” Day said. “That showed in the last two semifinals and the finals the last couple years. To win the national championship, you have to be able to throw it.”

But before Buckeye fans get worried about Ohio State turning into Texas Tech, Day hasn’t forgotten where he is.

“Again, all that being said, you can’t get anywhere at Ohio State if you’re not running the football,” he said. “That will always be a priority here. Finding the right balance is critical.”

12 Responses

  1. (2018 in the first sentence NOT 2017)

  2. Bill- looks like censors are on your side! ANOTHER one of my comments has been deleted for, you know, actually GETTING IT RIGHT. Pathetic.

    1. Are there ghosts in the machine? My comment below was on the site awhile, then off the board a few moments ago, then back on. What the heck…

        1. Just the fact that you check back in, SEE that your silly comment is back on and THEN choose to make THAT comment pointing out and questioning its on, off and back on status speaks more than maybe ANY of your previous comments…..EVER!!

  3. Bill- your comments are so baseless and provocative, that I strongly suspect (and hope, to restore some of my faith in OSU fans) your account is a dummy used to generate responses from people who actually pay attention (and “dummy” was NOT sarcastic in this instance, merely intentional)…There is zero chance or belief that simply having a strong passing attack will win a Title- even the HC himself says you need to be able to run it well, although that point was buried at the end of the article. Offensively you need balance, not just Air Coryell.
    Just think, we haven’t even discussed the defensive train wreck yet. Rumor has it that steady defense may have something to do with winning it all (yes, that last statement WAS sarcasm). Take your meds and check back later Bill.

  4. Yes James, right on. If anything, last year proved teams need to do something OTHER than throw the ball if the goal is a National Championship. After all, OSU featured the most statistically dominant passing QB in Big 10 history and didn’t even get a playoff sniff! The REAL keys (that a team can control, anyway) to making the Title are a) being as fundamentally sound at every position group as possible and b) not having a “bad” loss. The keys a team can’t control (media bias, injuries, and the like) are a different story.

  5. KJ Hill, Austin Mack, Ben Victor, CJ Saunders, DMac, aren’t exactly new guys with no experience. . KJ Hill is STILL a human vacuum cleaner, Austin can play at a very high level, Ben has the potential to be the best of the best. Saunders can make plays and he too has been around the block a few times. Then there’s the burner and guy who came on very strong at seasons end in Chris Olave’. I’m absolutely confident this group is the best and deepest in America. Gone is the most consistent RB, and that’s a concern, but I suspect that JK suffered from shitolinitis, and a nearly predictable sophomore slump. He better come out swinging for the fences or Master Teague is going to take the job and never look back. If this years offense is going to be as good or even better, it has nothing to do with the quarterback or receivers, and everything to do with running the football.

    Linebackers and OLine are the focus. They MUST improve for this 2019 Buckeye team to compete for any type of title.

    1. There you have it people. Nothing more needs to be said. Now where is that damn sarcasm key on this keyboard? This isn’t the best and deepest wr group in America. The O line did not suffer from the very clever “shitolinitis”! Kudos on spelling it. JK suffered from humdrumitis. If this years offense is going to be great it has PLENTY to do with the qb and receivers. Coaching MUST improve for this team to compete for a title!

      1. One or the other is true concerning JK Dobbins in 2018. 1. He had a sophomore slump and/or the offensive line stunk to high heavens.. 2. 2017 was a fluke.

        Mike Weber averaged 5.5 ypc. Below the levels of a premier tailback for Ohio State. JK Dobbins’ numbers were horrendous for a featured back. Lydell Ross was booed out of Columbus for the same sub 5 ypc average.

        JK has yet to show elite ability to be a home run hitter even when he manages to get into the open field. He needs to get a lot better or become the back-up. The offensive line stunk last year and has gotten progressively worse since Studrawa came on board. It’s proving true at every level of his job description. A description that demands recruiting the top players in Ohio who are among the Nations best, where he’s failing miserably, developing the entire line rather than a player here and there.

        1. I think JK was a home run back in 2017. Was second in the B1G to only Jonathan Taylor and Saquon Barkley in 50-yard rushes. He had four, they had five, and they had more attempts than he did. Barkley had 27 or more carries. Taylor had like 105 more carries. I think he showed too much skill in 2017 to be an aberration, but last season wasn’t just the offensive line. He didn’t look as explosive as before and wasn’t seeing some of the holes. The offensive line was not good in creating a running game and Dobbins was keyed on by the defense. I expect him to be much more like his 2017 version. If he’s under 5 yards per carry again this season, I would be shocked. He would also no longer be starting, unless nobody else is any better.

          1. Which is exactly why I’m hoping that 2017 was the combination of lousy offensive line and JK having a sophomore slump.

            Ryan Day is the coach, but, I think that he already knows that there is going to be a lot of people sitting with their eyes looking through a microscope. The 2 biggest flaws coming out of spring LAST year are the same flaws heading into spring THIS year. Offensive line and linebackers. Al Washington is a much better coach than Bill Davis and he’s got more and better talent than at any other job he’s had. “I THINK” much of last years misery for the defense will get cured in short order.

            The problem with the offensive line IMHO is still at Ohio State. Will Ryan give Studrawa more help from Kevin Wilson teaching the line, or will it remain status quo. Status quo isn’t going to cut it. Teams are beginning to close the ability gap on the Buckeyes in the Big 10. We shouldn’t be forced to see one or the other, being, EITHER a great running game OR a great passing game.

            Want to win a title………….you got to do bot with equal precision.

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