Football

Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day, OC Kevin Wilson, Buckeye Offensive Players Talk National Championship

COLUMBUS – As a part of the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, and players from the offensive side of the ball spoke at a virtual media day on Thursday.Here’s a summary of what was said.

Head Coach Ryan Day

+ He is excited about going down to Miami. He has a lot of respect for Nick Saban, his staff, and Alabama’s history.

+ “When the season got cancelled we talked about the opportunity to get back to play in this very game, and here we are.”

+ The team is still on track to play on Monday.

+ On dealing with COVID at this point, Day said “anytime you deal with that and lose people it’s a gut punch but it’s not something that we are not used to.” They have a new set of challenges this week but they’ll figure it out and go down to Miami and play.

+ The minute they want to feel good and take a deep breath and feel the reward of what they’ve done, something new comes up. “The finish line is on Monday.”

+ No update on the health of Justin Fields.

+ They discuss mental health a lot and it hasn’t been easy. The hardest part for the players was the holiday’s and then the changes with a lack of routine and the uncertainty of everything. But he thinks going through this has made them stronger mentally.

+ On Justin Fields, Day said he was upfront and honest with Fields at the beginning and they have had a great relationship. “Your relationship gets stronger when you go through tough times.”

+ He hopes to take a deep breath after the game. He hasn’t been able to. He looks forward to finishing this the right way and then decompressing, reflecting, and breathing.

+ On the number of players they have available, “we’ll have plenty of players.”

+ The ways the game is being played has changed. It’s all about getting stops, forcing field goals, and getting turnovers. “It’s not about how many yards you give up it’s about how many stops you can get.”

+ On acquiring the same emotion that they had against Clemson, Day said the players came back to win it all, they have their eyes on the prize. “I think we’re going to come out with our hair on fire.” The focus is playing one play at a time. He knows the guys will play “really really hard.”

+ On Trey Sermon, “What an amazing story.” He has been a pleasant surprise because Day didn’t know he could be doing this right now. But it couldn’t happen to a better guy.

OC Kevin Wilson

+ Justin Fields is just scratching the surface. “He has a bright, bright future in this game.”

+ Ohio State plays to the strengths of its players.

+ Alabama can do a lot of different things with its coverages. Patrick Surtain II doesn’t need a lot of safety help which allows the defense to focus on other areas. He is good enough that they pretty much put an X on that receiver because he’s covered so well. Surtain is “one of the best players in college football.” Ohio State recruited him pretty hard.

+ Ohio State’s offensive line is complemented by “two tight ends that nobody wants to talk about unless they catch the ball.”

G Wyatt Davis

+ He came to Ohio State for an opportunity to play in a game like this. It was an easy decision for him.

+ “Words can’t really describe how I feel personally to get this opportunity.”

+ “Everything that I’ve wanted to happen this season is happening. Now we just have to go finish.” The guys were messing with him after the Clemson game that he almost missed out on this opportunity by opting out of the season before the Big Ten resumed a season.

+ Coach Greg Studrawa’s expectations are high. He is nervous to make mistakes in practice because he expects a lot out of them. “Whether you’re a walk-on or starter, when he get’s into you, nobody is held to a different standard and that standard is excellence.”

+ “I thought I knew how to watch film until I got here.”

+ Justin Fields was conformable after the FAU game in 2019. His Sugar Bowl performance showed that he couldn’t be counted out.

TE Luke Farrell

+ On playing in championship settings before, Farrell said “you can’t be afraid to die out there you have to put everything into it.” The mindset is very important.

+ They didn’t know going into the game against Clemson that the tight ends would play such a big role. “Dominating the blocking game and three touchdowns, I don’t know what more we could have asked for. It was great.”

+ On being in this position and playing in this game as his last game as a Buckeye, Farrell said “I couldn’t be happier.” He has been wanting a chance to play for a national championship since he arrived at Ohio State.

+ On bringing a national championship home to Ohio, “it’s everything.” He didn’t watch a lot of sports growing up but did watch Ohio State football. It means everything to the fans and people in his hometown.

+ “The job is not done.”

+ On finally beating Clemson, it was a “weight lifted off our shoulders.”

QB Justin Fields

+ He remembers playing Alabama when he was a freshman at Georgia.

+ He has known Trey Sermon since his junior year in his school. He played and beat Sermon by two or three touchdowns in high school.

+ He knew the transfer to Ohio State was a good move and was going to work out when he scored the first touchdown against FAU in 2019.

+ Being in this game is more meaningful because this is where they wanted to be. All of the stuff in the past, the season cancelled, the games cancelled, with everything they have been through, the sacrifices, it was all for this moment.

+ What he said after the game about the treatment of his injury was taken out of context. He has full trust in the trainers and the staff. They handled it correctly and the way he wanted it to be handled. They did a full analysis of his injury and they did what they thought was best and he was comfortable with it.

+ On his injury, “I will be good on Monday night.”

+ The day after the Clemson game he woke up feeling better than he expected but he did not expect the pain he felt the two or three days after. He isn’t worried about how his injury will affect his play. He is focused on the gameplay and getting treatment.

+ Injuries are a part of football. But he and Day did talk during the Clemson game about specific plays not to call in order to protect himself better.

WR Chris Olave

+ On missing the Big Ten title game due to COVID, Olave said it was tough quarantining and not doing anything. He felt the best he had going into that game and then finding out that he was out for the game was tough. He was tired in practice when he returned and it took him time to get his legs back under him. He didn’t start to get his legs back until Wednesday before Friday’s game against Clemson. Mentally he was “messed up.”

+ On Monday’s game being a head-to-head against DeVonta Smith, Olave said he just wants to win the game. There is a lot of talent on the field but he just wants to win the game.

+ The pandemic has taken a toll on everybody in the building.

+ Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II is “damn near equal to” Jeff Okudah.

+ He can tell when the ball is coming to him on a play action deep ball based on coverage and personnel. “We’re all on the same page.”

+ Since his freshman year there have been a lot of good DB’s at Ohio State. Patrick Surtain II is a great player, one of the best in the country, and it’s going to be a tough matchup. He is just blessed to be in this position.

+ Jameson Williams is his guy. “He’s really underrated I think.”

C Josh Myers

+ They haven’t been able to have a lot of cohesion on the offensive line but they got used to not having the same five players upfront.

+ Paris Johnson Jr. is an extremely talented football players and he has the right mindset. Myers said in his opinion, he should be an Outland Trophy winner by the time his Ohio State career is finished. He can step anywhere on the offensive line and be just fine.

+ Trey Sermon has been huge for this team. He can’t say enough good things about him.

+ The tackles do not get enough credit.

+ He will announce his decision on returning to Ohio State or entering the NFL Draft on January 12.

+ Alabama’s front seven is really talented and they are extremely disciplined.

+ Running back Miyan Williams is going to have a great career. He is a lower-the-shoulder type of guy.

RB Trey Sermon

+ Alabama’s defense is aggressive. They try to dominate the line of scrimmage.

+ He remembers everything about his game with Oklahoma in 2017. He said it was is first real college game and he was able to make plays.

+ The offensive line controls the action upfront, moves bodies, and makes his job easier.

+ The running back being used in the passing game worked out well against Clemson.

+ He doesn’t feel any extra pressure. He is confident in his abilities and just has to go out there and execute.

+ Justin Fields is “a tough dude.”

+ On Miyan Williams, “he has been great. I’ve seen him improve since we first started camp.” Sermon said he just makes plays and he plays with so much energy and emotion.

+ On Master Teague III, Sermon said they help each other out in games and practice. They push each other to get better and they have had a good relationship since day one.

+ They all believe in using their voices and they are encouraged to use their platform to speak out.

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