COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and a handful of players met with the media on Tuesday to preview the Buckeyes’ game against Maryland on Saturday.
Here are the highlights of what was said.
+ On Marcus Williamson, Day said Williamson had his best week of preparation last week. He shared with Day that he got a lot of distractions out of his head and was focused on the team. Then he played one of his better games. He is a great example of when you block out the noise and stay committed to the team it shows how it can affect your play.
+ Cam Brown is very talented. He is working through another injury. He has the ability to play when he’s out there and healthy. “We’re hoping he’s coming out of the back end of the most recent one.”
+ On Teradja Mitchell, Day said Mitchell is a unique situation because he had not played much football going into the season even though he was in the program for a few years. He is now logging reps and is playing much more effectively and efficiently than he did earlier in the season.
+ On the linebacker depth, Day said it’s not something they feel great about. ” I wish we had more depth there right now.” As they head further into the season they will need depth there.
+ On Matt Barnes’ role in recruiting, Day said it’s group recruiting and it really hasn’t changed. “We haven’t made a huge adjustment in that area.” He hasn’t had any questions from recruits or their families about Kerry Coombs and the defense.
+ Chris Olave has to be unselfish and the ball will find him. That’s one of the biggest challenges he is dealing with right now. It’s more about being in the now and doing what’s best for the team but he puts a lot of pressure on himself because he wants to be the best in the country. Part of coaching is making sure good players get the ball in their hands but that can’t rule the day.
+ On TreVeyon Henderson, Day said he is “good to go.”
+ Mitch Rossi is very intelligent and has developed as a football player. He has a unique skill set coming from running back in high school and can do some different things. He has good ball skills and has a good football IQ. “A lot of versatility there.” He embraced a role and earned it.
+ On shuffling the offensive line, Day said they have 6-7 players who they feel confident putting into the game. Usually they don’t do that with offensive lines but he felt confident. “Now we have the opportunity to play some depth when we need to.”
+ He is proud of the development of the team over the last month. “We’re getting better. We’re growing. We have a bright future.” The question is how quickly can they get to be that team. “We have to take another step this week.”
+ On the Big Ten’s success, Day said they have really good coaches and players in this league. “It’s very very competitive.” Day said it’s exciting for the conference.
+ Day thought it would take Henderson a little bit longer than it has to play this way and make an impact. But he saw a lot of good in the Spring.
+ On Henderson not getting a heavy workload early on, Day said it’s a balance between wanting him to get game reps to get better but also being cautious. “We have depth at that position and we’re going to use that in our strength.”
+ “We had one good week but now we have to do it again.” Day said there is momentum but they have to have a good week of practice for it to continue. “We have to bring it every week now.”
+ On the defensive performance against Rutgers, Day said he liked the aggressiveness, changing up looks, and creating turnovers. The execution was done well too. He liked the fact that when Rutgers scored a touchdown, they didn’t have their heads down. They moved on and played well.
+ On JTT, Day said the young defensive lineman have had to play a lot. ” It was baptism by fire.” It will play huge dividends in the future because they are being asked of a lot right now.
+ On Maryland’s explosive offense, Day said that’s playing conference football in the Big Ten. “We have to bring it.”
+ On Ronnie Hickman and Craig Young not rotating at Bullet, Day said Young is kind of being moved into a different role and he’s finding his way. They are trying to find a way to get both of them on the field at the same time.
+ The biggest thing with losing was trying to stay steady.
+ On Tyleik Williams’ four sacks, Day said he’s going to keep playing. It hasn’t always been easy for him but he’s doing a great job. “Either way he will be on the field.”
+ On Maryland’s quarterback, Day said he is accurate, he can make his throws, anticipate, “you can tell he is a student of the game he has an ‘it’ factor to him”
+ On the defensive issues, “whether we win a game or lose a game the issues are always there.”
+ Marcus Crowley has practiced hard and he ran hard against Rutgers. “That was encouraging to see.”
+ “We, by all means, haven’t arrived.” They are a young team and this team knows that nothing is given. “You’re not just going to walk out and beat anybody. You have to show up and play.”
+ The offense started going under center, sneaking, using multiple tight ends in the backfield in the past few years. The game is built to stop spread schemes. So they have to continue to evolve on offense to make it harder for teams to defend against them.
CB Marcus Williamson
+ On coming back for another year, Williamson said naturally he was second-guessing when things initially didn’t go his way but he put his head downed just worked. He has too much love for this team to be selfish and put himself first.
+ On clearing distractions and then performing better, Williamson said this season so far hasn’t gone the way he wanted for himself but he put his ego aside and the outside noise and focused on the team.
+ Craig Young is a versatile athlete, he’s the biggest DB in the room but he moves like he’s the smallest.
+ Everybody on the team has to find their role.
+ Top to bottom the defense is starting to come together.
+ On managing roles and egos, humility and taking the right mindset is powerful.
TE Mitch Rossi
+ On earning a scholarship, Rossi said it was an awesome feeling. It was really big for him and his parents who made a lot of sacrifices for him. He had a meeting with Coach Day and Coach Wilson and that’s when they told him. He needed to be on scholarship to be able to come back or he would have had to pay extra to stay.
+ He is excited about his growing role on the team. “It’s good to be trusted and thrown in the game early on now.”
+ On being a fullback or tight end, “you can call me whatever.” He likes that they have the set in there for him and that they trusted him enough to be called on in an important part of the game.
+ Consistency has been huge for him. He learned a lot from observing, watching what has been successful, and applying it to his whole game. Luke Farrell was very detailed and Rossi followed his habits and picked his brain.
+ Playing at Ohio State was a dream he has had for his whole life. “When you get an opportunity you can’t let it go.” His hopes and goals have been “way exceeded.” He was just happy to come here.
+ Playing on special teams before was a good way for him to get recognized and helped get him on the travel squad.
+ On why he plays rugby, Rossi said he enjoys the physicality and it makes him better at fullback.
+ C.J. Saunders gave him a lot of guidance and showed him a path as a walk-on. “You need your bothers to lean on and I had a bunch of guys like that who helped me see the path through.”
+ His dad teared up after the game and his mom was pretty emotional too. ‘That was a really special moment.” They are his biggest support system and that’s who he does this for. He hopes he can give them back what they’ve given to him.
+ On naming positions after players, “It’s not a Mitch Rossi position but I’m glad to have it for now.”
OT Nicholas Petit-Frere
+ On being back at right tackle, he said it was a new challenge switching back but it was fun playing with Paris Johnson Jr. He was asked at halftime if he wanted to play there and didn’t know before the game.
+ Matthew Jones has been practicing at a high level. He went out there and proved it when Thayer Munford went down. It shows they have a really talented offensive line that they can move players around at any time.
+ The offensive line feels like a really different group from week one to week four. They’ve enhanced the things they do well and improved overall.
+ On the lineman’s relationship with the tight ends and receivers in blocking, Petit-Frere said there are always those conversations but there’s no need to encourage them to block. They all understand their responsibility. “This is one of the most unselfish groups we’ve had at Ohio State.”
+ Not having offensive line coach Greg Studrawa there for a few games was a challenge but he taught them to revert back to training and he was there during training. So when he wasn’t there, they knew what to do and they didn’t let up.
+ Mitch Rossi is one of the “glue” guys on the team off the field. He is very caring and he is a good person.
+ No matter what situation this team is in they are always fighting, they don’t waiver when something is wrong or sink.