COLUMBUS — Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day met briefly with reporters ahead of this weekend’s game against Penn State. A number of topics were touched upon.
Here are the highlights.
DE Tyreke Smith – Thus far Smith has not had the productive season that was expected of him. Day remarked that the potential for Smith is certainly there, but that he has been hampered by injury thus far this season. Day added that as a veteran, Smith is being counted on for more yet this year as his injury issues are resolved. “The potential is there,” said Day.
Quick Start Plans – Day said the OSU coaching staff always has a plan for quick start in games, but that the reality is that sometimes things don’t go according to plan. You can fall behind, jump out front, or end up in sort of a early stalemate. For that reason the OSU staff has a plan for early in the game but does not get locked down to a set of scripted plays. They prefer to leave options open in the early going because every game is a little different, but they do have a general idea of what they want to do early on.
Stroud in Synch – OSU freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud has done an excellent job of developing chemistry with the entire receiving corps. Day said that Stroud routinely gets extra work with all the receivers to get timing down for the plays the Buckeyes think will work against the upcoming opponent.
Eye on the Prize – Day said the the coaching staff is constantly reinforcing the notion that every game and every snap has to be the best it can possibly be. The success of a season is fragile and the team knows that is takes just one bad Saturday to ruin an entire season. The best way to reach all the goals is to have the goal of making every play and every Saturday the best it can be.
Appreciating Paris – Offensive lineman Paris Johnson made the move from tackle to guard this season for the good of the team. Day said he is very impressed with how well and how quickly Johnson has made that transition. He is playing very hard and very well, but the competition ramps up now, so he will have to continue his upward trajectory as a guard.
Recruiting now more than just talent – It will be a big recruiting weekend for the Penn State game. Day said that getting some of these players on campus for the first time is very important to the way OSU’s recruiting has evolved. Day said hs the Buckeyes now recruit very much for “fit”. Talent and rankings and all that remains important, but how a player fits in to the OSU culture is becoming more and more important to the coaching staff in the recruiting process.
A little help from his friends – Day hopes that the OSU home crowd for the Penn State game is really raucous and loud, especially when Penn State is on offense. Day said that the crowd noise makes if very difficult for the offense to communicated, and that is a huge advantage for the OSU defense. Day said the last time Penn State played in Ohio Stadium the home crowd was tremendous and he hopes it will be at least that loud or louder this weekend.