COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day spoke with reporters on Wednesday. He spent some time talking about the new fund begun by his family to address mental health in young people. Day also answered a number of questions about his football team, particularly quarterback Justin Fields. Much more ground was also covered. Here are the highlights.
+ Day started out by congratulating Kevin Warren on being named Big Ten commissioner.
+ Proud of the team’s APR being second in the Big Ten and near the top nationally.
+ Day spoke about the decision made by him and his wife Nina to start a fund for teenage and adolescent mental health. He believes increased awareness and funds can really have an impact on children over the next 20 years. Nationwide is one of the first hospitals to be equipped for a project like this. Mental health has always been very important to Day and his wife and they are hoping to impact and save lives moving forward.
+ Physically, God gave Justin Fields a ton of gifts, but they can’t substitute experience. There is film, workouts, and throwing on his own with his receivers, and then preseason camp in an effort to prepare him. He has been doing a good job in the weight room. He studies film on his own. “It can’t just be the eight hours a week.”
+ “I have high hopes for the offensive line.” Thayer Munford is really looking strong right now. “I think it could be a strength for us.” They need to gel, but it’s a talented group.
+ The way quarterbacks transfer in today’s game has forced the the program to stay alert. The quarterback position is planned out years in advance and when they transfer, it creates unrest in that timeline. The transferring that goes on is “not great for college football in a lot of areas.” They have done a great job of filling the quarterback room back up.
+ Day likes that Gunnar Hoak is from Columbus. He has played in games and has experience. Has already done a good job of picking up the offense.
+ Defensive recruiting is going to be big in June.
+ If the coaching staff doesn’t look good in the offseason, you’ve got a problem. This staff is getting along very well. There is a good mix of ages and backgrounds. The players also see how the staff interacts together and can pick up on those vibes.
+ In recruiting Ohio has precedence over everybody. Growing up a Buckeye fan matters. On the recruiting board, every prospect from Ohio is in red and every other prospect is in black.
+ Right now there are three lifting groups per day depending on class schedules. They life, they run, they have drills, and they have class.
+ The transfer portal is a complicated issue. There are parts that he understands, but there are other parts that make him “very, very nervous.” It is an ongoing issue and has now become something they consider when they recruit. The portal forces coaches to be very clear with the expectations they have for their players in recruiting and also once they arrive. They need to know that it isn’t going to be easy because the coaches don’t want players leaving at the first sign of difficulty. You have to be transparent in recruiting with the players and parents.
+ Day sees the H-back as a third receiver, second running back, or second tight end, based on the body type. They have each of those guys who can be that H at any point. The best 11 will be on the field.
+ As a child, Day lost his father to suicide and he eventually learned that mental health issues are a sickness like cancer or anything else and it needs to be addressed. This team will have two sports psychologists available to the players. He wants people to know that there is no shame in needing help or asking for it.
+ Nobody has emerged since the end of spring at linebacker more than anybody else. This is a hungry group. “They’ve read things. There’s not a lot of smiles on their faces right now.” Day expects a very good season from the linebackers.
+ JK Dobbins needs to have a great season. The team is relying on him.
+ Day doesn’t foresee any lingering issues with Thayer Munford.
+ There are no roster updates right now.
+ Day doesn’t get to think about football as much as he used to, but it’s still on his mind plenty every hour.
+ Mike Yurcich picked up on the offense and the language very quickly and has totally bought in. Sometimes that’s easier with younger coaches.
+ Gunnar Hoak will get some reps with the ones and will compete for the job this fall.