COLUMBUS – Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with the media following Ohio State’s 22-10 Big Ten Championship win against Northwestern.
A number of players also answered questions from reporters.
Here’s a summary of what was said.
+ He hasn’t even thought about the post-season, every ounce of his energy has been on this game. It was a hard week, losing key contributors in all three phases of the game, and they knew this was not going to be easy. He does think families need to be at the post-season games, but it’s easy for him to say because he really hasn’t thought about it.
+ On trying to throw the ball, Day said they are going to try to be aggressive, they just didn’t execute great. There’s a lot to coach off of and fix but they wore Northwestern down early on. With the way they adjusted people and moved things around on offense, it wasn’t clean. But that’s a microcosm of what this season has been. This is one of his favorite teams he has ever been around.
+ “This team is so tough. They have been through so much and they just don’t flinch.”
+ “If we had to play one game against anyone in the country, I would take the Ohio State Buckeyes.”
+ On Trey Sermon, Day said he ran hard. The offensive line and the tight ends played really hard. They blocked their tails off. Sermon ran with a different look in his eye. Coming off an injury it takes time to get in a rhythm. “We weren’t sure what we had there. To see him play the way he did, that’s tremendous.”
+ “It was significant being without Chris Olave, a few days before the game you find out you don’t have him you go in scramble mode. Julian Fleming did a good job but when you have a rhythm with somebody, Olave and Justin Fields, that was significant. Garrett [Wilson] made some big catches and took a step forward in leadership, Fleming played well.
+ “It is never easy to win a championship, that’s just not the way life works.”
+ On Justin Fields’ thumb, Day said it looked like it was just a sprain, hopefully he will recover quickly. On Master Teague, he has to see what the doctors are saying about him.
+ He doesn’t regret not switching to the run earlier on, they had to play aggressive and loosen them up. Not many people run the ball against Northwestern, so they backed them up, loosened them up, and ran the ball.
+ The run game and the defense were excellent. They just didn’t do as good of job in the passing game, but sometimes that’s just how it goes.
+ What this team has been through, every conference is different, what this team has gone though, they started off and had two spring practices, a long quarantine, pre-season camp then they find out the season has been pushed back, then cancelled, then for a month they have nothing to work for, then they fought and went public and spoke out, they played their first game, the virus spiked, they had to deal with cancellations, players being out, not being able to get in to a rhythm, then they get into this game here and things aren’t clicking, and they fight back. In a world where it’s all about wins and losses, they have learned so much this season. To see the growth of young men like this is why they get into coaching and playing football.
+ “People can say what they want, I’m not going to talk about other teams, we have enough positive things to talk about with this team. I feel strongly about this team. I think there’s a lot of people in the country who would agree with me.”
+ How about Justin Hilliard. He played his tail off. There’s a lot of things that happened today that people need to respect; Justin Hilliard, Zach Hoover stepping up for first time ever punting in a game, Josh Proctor’s interception. A lot of guys stepped up.
+ He thinks he sprained his thumb but he will get it looked at. His thumb is pretty stiff right now, he can barely move it. He thinks he hurt it on third down in the red-zone where he landed on it coming down. It was getting stiffer by the second and he told coach he really couldn’t throw, it was killing him. Now he can heal it up.
+ Trey Sermon is a hard worker. He doesn’t talk much but he puts his head down and works. He played great.
+ He wants to improve overall on offense and thinks they have a lot of room to improve.
+ “Trey had a lot of explosive runs he played his a** off. He did a great job today.”
+ On not having Chris Olave toady, Fields said they didn’t have a top receiver on the team so it made his job harder but Northwestern did a great job on defense. But he says the offense is on him, he wishes he could say they just had it like that, but he just has to be flat out better. He’s not going to make excuses.
+ In the first half overall execution was off, that was not his thumb, he won’t make that an excuse. “It was just me, flat out me.”
+ When asked if he deserves to be in the college football playoffs, he said yes, because they are one of the best four teams in the country.
+ Overall, they were down a lot of guys but more than anything they showed fight and that has been their motto all year. They did whatever they could to win the game.
+ Today was the picture he wanted to paint for himself. He was able to get in a groove and keep it rolling.
+ On the locker room at halftime, Sermon said the coaches told them that they were just stopping themselves. They had penalties and mistakes and the mentality was to make the most of the opportunity and execute, and they did that in the second half.
+ His mindset was just to make the most of his opportunities. He knew he could play his game and make his guys miss.
+ The offensive line was amazing. They played their tails off and played hard from start to finish. They made his job easy.
+ They brought him here for a reason, he had to trust his coaching and his teammates.
+ It was the best feeling to see the run game like that. He knew Trey Sermon was about to go off and “man did it feel good.”
+ The last game he played in was against Indiana. The process of testing positive was awful, sitting out and basically do nothing, 10 of the hardest days he had ever had. He was so proud of the offensive linemen who stepped up against Michigan State but, “sitting there watching your own team play, was awful.” It was awesome getting back out there and playing with the boys again.
+ It breaks his heart for the guys that had to sit this game out. So many things had gotten taken away from them this season, but they made it here. They played for those guys.
+ His coaches put him in the position to make plays. He was extremely ready.
+ His journey has been tough but it has been such a blessing. It has been emotional for him. Today, he knew he had to step up.
+ The attitude of the defense and the team going out in the second half, they had so much confidence, they knew what they needed to fix and they were confident about it. He will never forget that moment.