Ryan Day Reacts to Ohio State Draft Day

Ohio State football Ryan Day Rashod Berry Branden Bowen

Ohio State head football coach Ryan Day took part in a conference call with reporters on Sunday to answer questions about his Buckeyes and where they landed in this past weekend’s NFL Draft. Day spoke of his lack of surprise with Damon Arnette’s first-round selection and confusion regarding KJ Hill’s slide into the seventh round. He covered a wide array of questions, the highlights of which are found below.

+ Day was not surprised to see Damon Arnette go as high as he did. He was more surprised that people kept talking about him as a second-round pick. He’s competed at a high level at Ohio State and succeeded, so he put in the work and “is definitely an NFL talent.

+ Arnette and Terry McClaurin’s respective decisions to return is testimony that coming back when you’re not quite ready is a good thing and that when OSU tells you that you need another year, it’s true. “I think Damon is now ready.”

+ Not having spring ball and who knows what else is going to be lost this summer, it will have an affect on the next NFL Draft. There is so much work in the weight room that is being missed that helps develop players into draft picks. The less players are around, the less that the coaches can have an impact with them. Each day is basically lost. The coaches are doing a good job of staying in contact, but it’s nothing like being together.

+ The draft is confirmation that they are doing the right things in recruiting and development. You have to find the talent and the fit, and then mix that in with the development. They are doing a good job of identifying the fit and the talent, and the development is off the chart.

+ “We don’t base anything off of what (recruiting) stars you have. That doesn’t really matter.” Evaluation starts with film, not recruiting sites.

+ Branden Bowen is an NFL-caliber talent. Now he has to make the most of that opportunity.

+ It is huge to continue to find and develop NFL talent at quarterback. When he first got here, that wasn’t something that was really done at Ohio State, so he took that as a challenge. The challenge should be for each position coach to be “DBU” or “DEU” or “QBU.” At each position, that should be the challenge. “We’re not there yet but we’re making progress in the right direction.” They’ve done a good job the last couple of years between quarterbacks and receivers and they need to continue doing that.

+ You can get frustrated by the rate of players leaving early for the NFL or you can embrace it. If you’re recruiting great players, you’re going to lose them. But as long as you mix each team with the right number of fifth-year seniors, that’s where you can find something special. When you have elite talent with maturity and experience, then you’ve got something. Those are the teams you want.

+ Asked if JK Dobbins made a mistake leaving early, Day said it’s just the way the draft worked out regarding team needs. “I think JK felt like it was his time.” Running backs only have so many carries on their bodies, so Day understands and supported the decision. It made sense.

+ KJ Hill was looked over. “That one, I don’t understand. All he does is get open and catch the ball. I don’t get that one at all.” The Chargers got a complete steal. Do you get open and do you catch the ball? If so, does it really matter how fast you are? “I’ve never seen anybody be able to cover KJ Hill.”

+ OSU’s goal is to put Justin Fields in a position to be a Heisman winner and a top draft pick and in return Field’s job is to bring a championship back to Ohio State. “A lot of things have to go right too.” That’s a conversation for another day regarding being a top pick in the 2021 draft.

+ Day was confused and frustrated by the drop of KJ Hill, but all they need is an opportunity.

+ Every day at Ohio State, you’re going against the best. Dawand Jones was going against Chase Young every day.

+ In today’s recruiting, all recruits want to play right away. Some coaches make those promises, but coaches can’t know that. Players have to earn playing time. Ohio State tries to be as honest as they can, then they have to find the right culture fit.

+ The NFL is a selling point in recruiting, but that can’t be the main reason you come to Ohio State. It has to be the fit first.

+ Kerry Coombs knows everything that’s going on. He was only gone for a couple of years. He knows everyone. He knows the system, but he has some ideas and tweaks. But without having the spring to implement stuff, that slows the scheming down. It is hard to install if you’re not practicing.

+ The coaches are not allowed to require anything from the players right now, but they can give them a workout plan that they do. They can communicate with the strength coaches but not the position coaches. So they challenged the guys that it’s all about their discipline. They’ve told the older guys to hold the younger guys accountable. Finals are coming up next week. So this has been a test and they’ll see if they can gain an edge on their opponents when this is all done.

+ There have been so many entertaining iron-vs-iron matchups in his time at Ohio State. Jeff Okudah vs. Terry McLaurin. Watching Hartline yelling at Hafley or Coombs. It goes on all over the field.

+ His conversations with Justin Fields won’t change even with the NFL looming next year. He’s always had hype and expectations around him, but this is now part of being a quarterback at Ohio State. They’ll talk about it in the winter, not until then.

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