COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, linebacker coach Al Washington, and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa met with the media on Tuesday to preview Indiana.
Here are the highlights of what was said.
+ On who he is surprised to see playing a lot, Day said a lot of the freshman. He added that “it’s good to see Mitch Rossi do what he is doing.”
+ Steele Chambers made the transition, he expects his role to continue increasing throughout the season.
+ On Quinn Ewers’ development, Day said he’s not quite ready yet. He is doing a good job of learning how to be a college football player, there is a lot that goes into that.
+ On the quarterback room and developing, Day said they are all getting as many mental reps as they can.
+ “If guys are playing at a starter level, they will be playing.”
+ On what they accomplished during the bye week, Day said they evaluated where they were personnel wise and schematically and then getting rest was important. They also wanted to work on fundamentals and do some teaching. They have a big practice Tuesday.
+ On the Heisman Trophy being a reality for C.J. Stroud, Day said when someone gives criticism or praise, you have to stay focused and poised the same way and not ride the rollercoaster. Early on there was plenty of criticism and now there’s praise. Staying focused and disciplined is key. In his mind, it’s the same conversation.
+ On Matthew Jones, Day said a lot of the offensive lineman have played well. They will always try to put the best players on the field and those are part of the bye week conversations.
+ Indiana likes to bring a lot of pressure. The challenge will be increasing week in and week out.
+ On what a quarterback has to have to make adjustments, Day said it’s always on an individual basis. The mental part and visualizing things is key, taking meetings to the field and every player is unique in that way. Day tries to prepare them well and give them a clean plan and let them go compete and play.
+ Dawand Jones is a big man in a skill player body. He loves to play. The challenge has been the daily grind of football. He has worked through that adjustments. “If he continues to embrace that grind, his ceiling is really really high.”
+ C.J. Stroud has to continue to be tough.
+ On any concern of getting back on a roll after the bye, Day said he thought the preparation has been excellent and they kept the same schedule in the bye week. They usually do things differently during the bye but they wanted to keep the same work-week going because they finally got in a routine.
+ Indiana always plays them tough. “You gotta play four quarters against Indiana.”
+ Day checks in with the defense periodically now.
+ The team is starting to believe in themselves and in each other. It brings a lot of energy. The players are excited about what the next six weeks can bring.
+ “If you do it in practice really well, then you can have great confidence going into the weekend.” They build confidence by doing it in practice.
+ On when things go sideways in a game, Day said they have to have a plan before. It will go one of three ways: They can go up early and they have to keep bringing it, if they are back and forth they just keep fighting, or when they are down, they can’t splinter. They talk about having plans for those situations.
+ “You have to recruit players who want to be Ohio State Buckeyes.”
+ On the linebacker unit’s success, Washington said the number one thing that helped was time. The more reps and time they had, the better they got. He is proud of the progress amidst all of the challenge.
+ He has always been confident in who they put on the field. He expected them to get it done. “We’re starting to see that.”
+ On Craig Young’s role on the defense, he is gaining momentum and Washington sees his role increasing throughout the season.
+ Ronnie Hickman is a bullet but he meets with the defensive backs. He’s intelligent and has a great instinct on the field. He’s a natural athlete with talent on top of being a great leader on the team.
+ On losing Dallas Gant and K’Vaughan Pope in one week, Washington said he has nothing but love for them and he supports them in anything they need to do. The perception may have been one thing but the reality is they held it together and they were all supportive. Dealing with playing time is not easy, he understands their frustration. It’s tough to manage but they have kept moving forward. Washington said he did reflect after the Pope situation, but he said Pope’s a great kid and he still has a relationship with him.
+ The players are more comfortable out there.
+ On six healthy scholarship linebackers, Washington said depth is always a concern but he feels really good about those six. He feels strongly about who they have.
+ On the dynamics on the defense and Matt Barnes, Washington said the dynamic hasn’t changed but Barnes has been doing a great job. Everybody is supportive. “Matt has done a hell of a job.”
+ On Steele Chambers, Washington said he’s approached everything the right way. He is working really hard on and off the field. He has good instinct and time and reps have helped him see things quicker. Washington knew early on after the first scrimmage in the summer that he was going to be a good player, he saw him flash and make plays. “Early on we kind of had the idea that he would be a good player.”
+ Studrawa missed the Tulsa game due to his surgery but he was still able to help out and watch film. They had things set up from COVID so he was Zooming into practices and could watch film that way. The players were comfortable hearing things from him, they got to see his face, and hear him yell at them. His back issue happened at the Minnesota game when he got banged on the sideline and when he got home he couldn’t walk. It was a disc issue at L4 and L5. He is not 100 percent yet but better. He had surgery late that week and came back on Monday.
+ On watching the game from the TV, Studrawa said “you have no idea.” It was torture.
+ On the center position, Studrawa said he felt comfortable with Luke Wypler because he and Harry Miller competed all off-season. He was comfortable with both of them because they competed up until the Minnesota game.
+ Matthew Jones has made such great leaps and bounds. He understands what it takes and he has spent a lot of time working. He deserves to play. He is making the move to be one of the best five and is in the mix. He is also the backup center right now.
+ Studrawa didn’t expect to rotate the line this much but it works out. It’s a nice problem to have. It gives them flexibility during a game and they don’t miss a beat.
+ Dawand Jones is different because of his basketball experience. “He was by far the best guy through camp.”
+ Luke Wypler is like Billy Price as a junior and senior. The day after the National Championship game he was in the facility working and snapping balls. “That’s just the kind of kid he is.”
+ They have to get Harry Miller back totally healthy and practicing consistently. When he can get consistent and get a whole week of practice in, then he will be put back in the rotation. Miller is frustrated that he can’t be out there and compete at the level he wants to.