COLUMBUS – Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with the media on Monday to preview the matchup against Clemson in the College Football Playoff Semifinal game.
Here are the highlights.
+ What an honor to be going down to New Orleans. They are excited to play against Clemson. The preparation has been great. The guys have overcome a lot this year and they have to finish the race, and finish strong.
+ He has no concerns about Justin Fields.
+ The Clemson defense creates a lot of disruption and they have done it against everybody they have played. They have to do a good job of protecting the Fields, but it comes down to preparation. They need to be anticipating instead of reacting by Friday night.
+ Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables is one of the best in college football. “It’s a good challenge.”
+ There are a lot of stressors going on right now from different things that all add up. “In some ways it makes you stronger and that’s a good thing too.”
+ Sometimes he wakes up and has to pinch himself. When he came to Ohio State after being with the 49ers he never thought he would be here. He and his family love it here and he loves the people around him.
+ It feels more like a game than a bowl game. They have to sacrifice the bowl experience and that’s a downer because that’s part of the reward that has been taken from them.
+ Justin Fields left that field wanting another shot and now they have it. They never thought they would make it back, the journey was so strange, but here they are. Now they have to go make the best of the opportunity. They asked for this opportunity and now they have to just go.
+ One of the challenges for the last month was the number of players being in and out, for the virus or just because of injuries. The numbers are off the charts and that has been a major challenge. “A lot of guys are back and are starting to practice, but it’s not like you just throw them back in and they go 100 mph, there’s a ramp up to it.” It hasn’t been easy, but they’ve overcome it.
+ They always want to strike a balance between run and pass because that stresses the defense. But they have to play aggressively, so whatever that is that gives them the best chance.
+ One of the issues last year was field goals in the red-zone and not touchdowns. They need to score touchdowns, but they also have to be smart and not be reckless.
+ On this game being a program marker, Day said he doesn’t know how to answer that. In a normal year maybe he would have a better feel, but this is more about this team and the stories of the players on this team and their journey to get to there and the final chapter. That story is more what this is about.
+ Everything about this season has been different, the number of games played, and everything. To compare this year to years past, no. This year is totally different. The way they eat, meet, travel, etc. This is a different season in all areas.
+ They just have to win the game. It’s dangerous to care how they win, they just have to win the game. Winning the game is the focus.
+ Working with Justin Fields has been fun.
+ On this game being a rivalry, Day said they’ve been at the top of the game for almost a decade now and when you look at where Ohio State has been, if we continue to win, we will probably run into Alabama or Clemson again and again. It’s great to get to this point and play against a competitor like Clemson.