COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and a handful of players met with the media on Tuesday to recap the Buckeyes’ win against Indiana and preview the game against Penn State.
+ Day said there are a lot of things they can continuity improve on offensively. As they play better defenses the issues emerge and the coaches need to identify those and the players need to execute.
+ On the college football overtime rules with Penn State and Illinois playing nine overtimes, Day said that was first time he has seen anything like nine overtimes. It was certainly a new experience. The only thing he though about was that they better have more 2-point plays ready to go.
+ On C.J. Stroud’s throw to Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Day said the 1-inch throw was executed well. The route was good and the riming was good. He was decisive and it was well-done. It shows his confidence but that’s how it goes with better defenses, guys are less and less open. But in order to make throws like that you do have to be confident. That goes back to practice.
+ Marcus Crowley is going to be out for a long time. It is a long-term injury. It was something that happened during the bye week. Master Teague, they hope to have back this week. He feels like they are doing ok depth-wise at this point in the season. “That’s why you have to recruit depth.” Tony Alford has done a really good job with his room.
+ On TreVeyon Henderson, Day said he is running hard but the offensive line is doing a good job of making holes and the players are blocking for him.
+ On the blocking ability of this team, Day said he thinks they are executing it well. They are taking a lot of pride in that. They want to have great execution and discipline. It takes a lot of work physically and mentally.
+ On facing a good defense with key players, Day said they are very aware of the personnel on the other team. They want to give their players the best chance to be successful and matchups are important.
+ On Penn State’s defense, Day said their defense is very good. They are active, the backend is veteran and has played a lot of football. “They are one of the better defenses in the country in my opinion.”
+ “Every week is a new challenge, it’s like a whole new season.” He tries not to go into games with expectations and instead focus on the execution of each play.
+ The recruiting this weekend gives everyone an opportunity to see what a primetime game looks like, what Buckeye Nation looks like. Players come to Ohio State to play in games like this. “It’s good when they’re able to see it with their own eyes.”
+ This game will be a little different for Stroud because of the opponent and environment but he has to continue to do what he has been doing. “This game will be electric.”
+ On the approach this week, Day said nothing is different this week besides the opponent. They know what is in store. They have to utilize every minute of this week. “You can’t waste a rep or a minute in a meeting.” Other than that, practice is the same.
+ On Penn State’s two losses and that not changing the magnitude of this game, Day said they have always played them hard. “They are one of the best programs in the country and it’s hard to beat these types of teams. We know when Penn State comes to town we have to be ready.”
+ Players on the defense are fitting into roles that weren’t there a month ago.
+ On Penn State’s secondary, Day said they are veteran and athletic. Across the board they are athletic and it allows them to run different schemes and put a lot of pressure on the receivers.
+ Jahan Dotson is one of the better receivers in the country. “We have to know where he is at all times.”
+ On Julian Fleming, Day said he is expected to be available and play this weekend. He was available last weekend in an emergency role but they didn’t think it was the best thing to do.
+ Day thinks they have done a good job of changing the defense without overwhelming the players. When he met with them after the Oregon loss, Day talked to them about ownership across the board, individually and as a unit. He sees that they did take ownership.
+ On Marvin Harrison Jr., Day said he has a bright future. He comes from a background where he understands what working is. He had a high football IQ when he came in but being around Chris Olave and the other veteran receivers has helped him see what it is like to play at a high level. He has showed up to work everyday and Day is excited about his future. He is going to help them down the stretch.
+ On keeping the blinders on, Day said it’s easy if you watch college football. The players also have experienced it and understand it. “Anything can happen on any given Saturday.” Having the mentality where you show up every day and focus on the little things is something that he thinks works well.
+ On the Cincinnati Bearcats, Day said Luke Fickell does an unbelievable job and they “pull for them.” He is happy for them and is proud of the season they are having.
+ On developing depth, Day said he is happy they have had opportunities to get players out there in the games. It allows them to further coach and develop the players. They coach the players in the 4th quarter like it’s an even score game.
+ On his team, Day said he sees a team who loves football and is locked in. They did a walk through with special teams before Indiana on Saturday and players were locked in like it was a game. They played like it was a game and were sweating after a walk through. He walked away from that and said ‘we’re going to have a heck of a night.’
+ Their tough practices help make the game not as hard. They have already seen the looks, have already made the plays in practice, and just have to execute in the game.
+ Penn State has a strong defense. They play them tight every year and they don’t take into account their losses when looking at this team. They have to make big plays in big moments and they respect Penn State.
+ He only has a few opportunities left to play in The Shoe and play in front of Buckeye Nation. This is a big game and he wants to enjoy this moment and make the most out of it.
+ On the development of Stroud and finding the tight ends, Ruckert said the game is slowing down for him. It’s tough to come into a program like this and perform right away, that was tough for him too, but Stroud has a positive mindset. Ruckert tells Stroud before every game to just be himself. He has done a great job of seeing the field and the game and having a short term memory with his throws. Anytime Ruckert can, he tries to help talk Stroud through things on the field and remind him that they are here for a reason. He is becoming more vocal on the field.
+ On the level of confidence offensively, Ruckert said penalties and small mistakes can set them back. They have the mindset that only they can stop themselves. But they believe in themselves and the coaching staff.
+ Having another injury sucked but he did want to be 100 percent healthy before returning and didn’t want to hurt the team or put out bad film.
+ His return felt great but it was just he beginning. He is always trying to get better and make more of an impact. “Only going up from here.” He is most proud of his faith and keeping his faith through it all. “God has a plan for everything.” Every time he steps on his field he goes as hard as he can and lets God handle everything else.
+ His mindset is to do what he can for the team, whether that’s extra film, treatment, leadership. The mindset is that they are a good team but they are not where they need to be. The fact that they came up short last year is still in their minds.
+ On the defensive improvement, Smith said players are buying in. They knew they weren’t playing well and looked in the mirror and knew they needed to do better. The loss was a humbling experience and they took it as a learning lesson. He thinks that can help them moving forward.
+ On the number of sacks between the tackles and ends, Smith said he wants “everyone to eat.” It’s good when the interior players and the ends are working together and helping each other. When one player gets a sack it feels like they all got a sack.
+ On his career, Smith said he feels there is another level he can tap into. But as long as the team is doing well he is ok with it.
+ On the rushmen, “we’re working as a group to perfect our craft and gain confidence. I’m happy with where we’re at.”
+ Tyreke Smith is a student of the game.
+ On Tyleik Williams playing as a true freshman, Garrett realized in the spring he has good athleticism for his size and he knew he would be a big contributor to their unit this season.
+ Penn State has a lethal offense. Their losses weren’t blowout losses, they were close and tough losses. They are a well-coached team. “We have a lot on our hands this week.”
+ What Ohio State’s offense does on Saturday’s starts with what they do during the week.
+ On the level of defensive play right now, Garrett said the confidence is the biggest difference. They are having fun playing with each other and they have evolved as a defense. The schematic changes were also important and allow them to play fast and communicate on the field.
+ On Matt Barnes stepping up as the defensive coordinator, Garrett said the ‘next man up’ mentality does not just apply to players. “Coach Barnes is awesome.”
+ The depth of the defensive line is key. A lot of players are stepping up in a big way and they need depth at this point in the season.
+ On being overlooked as an offensive lineman for personal accolades, Petit-Frere said he’s humbled that people do think he is playing well but as long as he is helping the team that’s all he really cares about. Recognition and accolades are good but he puts the team first. If he hears that the skill players are doing well that means he is doing his job well.
+ “We became a better team when I switched from right tackle to left tackle.” It opened up more opportunities for the offensive line and it gives him an opportunity to show his versatility to the NFL scouts. The switch was very hard and there were growing pains but then he started to get more comfortable. His first goal is to protect who is behind him.
+ On having a big game against two NFL defensive ends at Penn State last year, Petit-Frere said it was huge for him.
+ He likes night games because they have more time to watch film and study their opponents.