COLUMBUS – Following Ohio State’s dominating 52-17 victory against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Buckeye head coach Ryan Day spent some time talking to reporters, as did defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs, and a few players including quarterback Justin Fields and offensive lineman Wyatt Davis. Here are the highlights of what was said.
+ Nebraska played a really good game, they had a good plan early on and they had them early on. The Ohio State defensive staff and players adjusted and by the end of the first half he thought they played well and made adjustments. Offensively, they left things on the field but still played well. Justin Fields played well and was accurate, and did good things with his feet. Overall, now they have something to work on. They get to film and get better.
+ If he could do the end of the game over again, he would have taken a knee. He wants to apologize for that and will text Scott Frost.
+ The number one goal was to go 1-0. “It doesn’t matter how you win, it matters if you win.” To beat a team like Nebraska 52-17 is impressive. To go 1-0 is a great day and they are proud of what they did today.
+ Defensively, Day said he is not concerned. They held them to 17 points, job well done. Nebraska had a few big plays but overall they did a really good job and he is proud of his team.
+ On Haskell Garrett, Day said it was good to get him out there. The depth was a big focus for them to be able to rotate players and to have him there was a huge boost for the inside guys. With his experience and his ability, it was great to have him in there.
+ Because they have such veteran guys at linebacker they can recognize and adjust and he thinks they did.
+ The stop at the end of the first half and the first drive of the second half was one heck of a run. That flipped the game.
+ A lot of hard work went into this game; tackling, ball security, penalties. He is proud of the coaching staff and the leadership of this team showed. It was a good start.
+ Jaxon Smith-Njigba made a big play and it was also great to get Julian Fleming, Trey Sermon, and then a bunch of other guys in at the end of the game.
+ Now they have a huge task ahead of them, traveling to Penn State on the road to beat them in a night game.
+ On the run game, Day said the opener last year was clunky too. It happens when you are used to going against the same front for months at a time. He thought they did fit some good runs in there but they threw the ball a bit more and will take a look at the film.
+ On Chris Olave, Day said he is good and seems in good spirits. They had a look at his eye but that’s all he knows.
+ Day said it was a strange feeling walking out there today. It was different. He felt like looking around saying, did anybody just see that? Because there’s normally 107,000 fans cheering after big plays.
+ Today wasn’t about a statement, they were just trying to figure out how to win a game and not worry about all of the expectations.
+ On the targeting penalties, Day said he knows they weren’t teaching that at Nebraska and he doesn’t think there was malicious intent at all, there were just some tough spots in there. They understand that from last year.
+ This was a good start to the passing game. They will see how it progresses and how it develops through weather and the cold. Justin Fields in his second year looked so comfortable out there.
+ On the slow start defensively, Coombs said there were things that were concerning but Nebraska is a good team and offense. It was hard to prepare because they didn’t know what Nebraska was going to do. The defensive staff did a good job making adjustments. The team didn’t panic, they learned and went and put them in place.
+ On the quarterback runs, Coombs said he would need to look at the film. He will have an answer but so early on they just weren’t handling it well. At halftime they made some effective adjustments. But Nebraska’s quarterbacks are talented runners and they did some good stuff.
+ Coombs said it was weird being so quiet in there. It is something they all have to get used to. It’s just different. It’s not as much fun. He missed it, the players missed it. “When that place is rocking, that’s where you want to be.”
+ On Haskell Garrett, Coombs said he hugged him after the game and said this is miracle. “This kid was shot in the face, not that long ago and he just never game up. He kept coming in and meeting in my office and was working with Larry Johnson with stitches in, preparing without being able to do anything physically. For him to do that and then to be able to play, having him on the field was a difference maker for the Buckeyes in every way shape and form.”
+ They played a lot of guys in the backend and he was excited about that.
+ He thinks they played well for week one but there’s a lot to work on, they will look at film on Sunday and see how they can improve.
+ It was weird looking up in the stands and wanting to celebrate with fans but nobody was there. They just tried to bring their own energy to the game and he thinks they handled it well.
+ On running the ball, Fields said he is not sure yet what happened but that is what the film is for. They didn’t come into this game with expectations, they just wanted to get a win and go from there.
+ He didn’t see the Jaxon Smith-Njigba catch because he got hit pretty hard on that play. He just hoped he got it in.
+ The hits come with the game, that’s the game of football. He is going to be sore tomorrow but he will be fine.
+ On Garrett Wilson, Fields said Wilson being in the slot makes him more dynamic. It makes the team better and he’s a great receiver.
+ There was a sense of calmness in the stadium, which did make it easier for the offense to communicate with each other.
+ Fields thinks they can be really good and they can be a great team offensively and defensively. For the first game of the season, they have a lot of work to do but he thinks they can be really good.
+ On running 15 times this game, Fields said it just happened in the course of the game. He got the calls and ran the plays, he wasn’t really thinking about running.
+ When they came out in the second half and scored they got a lot of momentum and that’s when things changed and they started to get going.
+ Fields says he thinks he is better than last year, and he hopes so. He thinks he is better at knowing the offense and defense and throwing and running but he still has room to improve and that’s what he is going to do week to week.
+ On the challenge of running the ball early on, Davis said with 10 months of not having a game and there being so much confusion, that’s what comes with the first game. Nebraska had a great scheme. They have to look at the film and make adjustments. “They got us for a little bit but we responded.”
+ On there being no fans, Davis said he was so locked into the game, he didn’t really notice how quiet it was. The team already went into this knowing what it was going to be like. The scrimmages in The Shoe prepared them for this. It didn’t bother him at all.
+ The running game can improve, they just have to knock off the rust and focus on film this week.
+ The first thing he thought about when he woke up was that a few months ago, this really wasn’t going to happen. He was so grateful that he was able to get reinstated and that the Big Ten changed their minds and they have this opportunity.
+ The number of sacks was unacceptable, they can’t afford to do that. They are going to fix that.
[Photo courtesy of Ohio State Department of Athletics]