Ohio State Football Notebook: ‘I was thrown into the fire and I did my best’

Chase Young Ohio State Football Buckeyes

The Doctors Are In

A few weeks ago, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day announced the creation of The Ryan and Christina Day Fund for Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Wellness at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

It was done in an effort to provide funding for — and bring attention to — childhood and adolescent mental health. And not only improving the care, but also eliminating the negative stigma that many mental health issues have carried for far too long.

This is a project that both Days believe in, and it’s also something that Ryan Day is continuing with his football program.

“Even in-house here, we’re going to have two sports psychologists, two athletic counselors that are here for our guys,” Day said earlier this month.

“[Players are] in a high-profile position. And so there’s anxiety, there’s depression, there’s things that go on even with our players, and I want those guys to feel like they can have those conversations. Especially being a football coach, in kind of a manly sport, I think it’s good for people to hear the fact that our guys are vulnerable, we’re all vulnerable and that if people need help, they shouldn’t be ashamed of that.”

The Coaching Must Go On

Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley hasn’t coached in college football since the 2011 season at Rutgers.

He has spent the last eight years in the NFL, and while he was there, the college game has changed a bit.

Players still transferred when Hafley was in college a decade ago, but now with the advent of the transfer portal, it has become a much more prominent issue.

How is Hafley handling it?

“That’s a good question. When I got here, I didn’t even know a transfer portal existed,” he said. “I had no idea. It wasn’t like that eight years ago. I try not to think about it. You try to coach everybody as hard as you can. You try to be fair to everybody the best you can. You can’t treat them all the same.

“You try to be there for them and hope you have a great relationship. You try not to think about it because I’m not going to coach scared or be afraid to coach hard. That’s something you have to kind of see how it goes. I think we’ll have a better feel for it as we get going. How long has this been going on? We’ll see how it goes.”

Chase Young the Firewalker

A year ago at this time, the future was bright for Ohio State defense end Chase Young.

Just a sophomore back then, he was going to be worked into a rotation with Nick Bosa and Jonathon Cooper, complementing them both very well.

And then midway through game three, Bosa was lost for the rest of the season and Young had to step up.

He did quite well, earning Second-Team All-Big Ten accolades following a 10.5-sack season, which he managed while dealing with two sore ankles for much of the season.

When Young looks back on last season now, he has a greater appreciation for everything that happened, and a better understanding of what it will take for others to step up as he did.

“You know, I was thrown into the fire and I did my best,” he said of last season. “Definitely learned from it, learned from the experience. Now I know what it’s going to take. Now I’m trying to pull some of the young guys up with me so they can take some of that attention away from me so we can just all be one.”

It wasn’t too long ago that Young was the one being led around, which is something that he won’t ever forget.

“It’s crazy, you know I feel like I can still remember freshman year when Nick and Tyquan [Lewis] and Sam [Hubbard] was here and I was looking up to them and they were the guys, and now it’s definitely a big change and I gotta try to lead the younger guys,” Young said. “Me, Davon [Hamilton], BB [Landers], we gotta try to lead them as best we can.”

Young is now an NFL prospect who can be found at the top of most 2020 mock drafts.

And when asked what he can still get better at, he hasn’t forgotten his ability to lead.

“Shoot. You know I just gotta refine my technique and try to be the best player that I can be and just try to get my teammates, the whole d-line just to rise with me,” he said. “And I think right now if Tyreke [Smith], Coop, BB, Davon, Jashon [Cornell], if we all rise, we’re going to be something special again.”