COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and defensive coordinator Jim Knowles met with the media on Tuesday to discuss some takeaways from the win vs Toledo, provide updates on a few players, and to preview the Buckeyes’ first conference matchup against Wisconsin on Saturday.
You can read the highlights of what was said below.
+ Conference play ramps things up a bit. Wisconsin is always good, well-coached, and sound. Everything is harder when dealing with a conference opponent. They have an identity but they are not easy to scout. They do a lot of different things and they’re good at them.
+ “Whatever happened the week before doesn’t really matter,” Day said. They are proud of last game but they need to have a good week of practice this week and build on things.
+ On the toughness in this game, Day said this game is the epitome of the Big Ten. Their style of play is physical. “We have to be able to play in these kinds of games.”
+ Dallan Hayden took care of the ball and he has to do that moving forward. He had good lanes but he also hit some holes and created explosive plays.
+ On cornerback play, Day said there have been plays on the corners and they have to do better job on the 1-on-1s. “You have to do your job and make sure your man doesn’t catch the football.” But he believes in the corners they have.
+ Cam Martinez graded out a champion. The depth at that position is going to be important heading into conference play.
+ On Cade Stover being explosive in the passing game, Day said they expected that. He has done a good job blocking and now he’s showing what he can do in the pass game. He can also run, he’s an athletic player. “His heart was on defense but his ceiling was on tight end and he put the trust in the coaching staff.”
+ TreVeyon Henderson’s injury is short term and he expects him to play on Saturday.
+ Day gets more anxious on Tuesdays and Wednesdays than he does on Saturdays because of how important the practice is. If they practice well, once they get to Saturdays, it’s just about competitive excellence. If they don’t practice well, then they just hope it works out on Saturdays.
+ Jordan Hancock is close but is not where he needs to be to get on the field.
+ Henderson runs hard and the whole running back room is running hard and taking pride in that. He has done his part so far. Running backs have to learn to play on contact and run through things and he has done a good job of that so far this year, but they always keep an eye on that and emphasize that.
+ That was his first time calling a fullback dive. He said he maybe ran one in college. They have the pieces to get in the I formation now here. “The versatility helps you.” The players like it too.
+ On Gee Scott Jr., Day said he deserved the ball and they tried to get it to him a few times but it didn’t work out. The cover dictated where the ball went. But Scott Jr. has worked every day, showed toughness, and he just keeps putting one foot in front of the other. “He is going to be an asset for us on offense this year moving forward.”
+ On the challenge of keeping an offense in rhythm against Wisconsin’s defense, Day said they have to have a good understanding of how Wisconsin is going to attack them. They have to be physical and win the time of possession.
+ On C.J. Stroud’s comfortability throwing out of structure, Day said he has extended plays and he can do it left and right. He has done a great job of that and comes as a result of physical and mental development. “There’s an art to finding the escape action and he’s shown that he can do that.”
+ “Any team can beat you and you can beat any team,” Day said. But the players have to believe that. They know about Wisconsin, but they have to go do it on Saturday.
+ Cade Stover, Gee Scott Jr, and Mitch Rossi all graded out as champions.
+ The night games have been good for recruiting. They do make long days but he likes to see the electricity in The Shoe at night. There’s a give and take but they are excited for this one to be a night game. “Let’s go make this the loudest it’s ever been.”
+ They want to be tough, disciplined, and skilled. That’s what needs to make up their identity. Good teams also have tendencies, but need to be able to mix it up a bit. That’s a hard balance to find.
+ Luke Wypler takes a lot of pride in his work at center. He gets everyone together and is a good communicator.
+ On Lathan Ransom’s development, Knowles said he gets better every week and he can now play multiple positions. “I love the way he plays.”
+ Denzel Burke is serious about his craft. He comes in early and works and he does all of the right things. Life on an island is difficult and he is going to get better every week. They all have confidence in him.
+ Knowles said they didn’t do a great job containing Dequan Finn and that starts with him. There was a lot to learn from it but he feels he didn’t do a good enough job preparing them for combatting his scrambling. Finn was really talented and they struggled simulating it in practice. He learned a lot from that experience. Diving, leaving of the feet, and feeling a step behind played a big role in that.
+ The run defense has been good but it can get a lot better. He is still looking for them to dominate at the point of attack. The tackles are doing a lot of the grunt work in stopping the run.
+ On Mike Hall returning, Knowles said he was told he will be back but that is above his pay grade. He does expect him to be back this week.
+ Giving up big, explosive plays is always a concern. They never want to give those up and they know they can recover from them and move on, but they look at them and break down every explosive play to come down with a reason for why it happened. “We’re on the right track schematically.”
+ Wisconsin has been consistently good on defense. They have their system and they run it. They know what they’re doing.
+ On the safety group, Knowles said they are continuing to improve their knowledge of the scheme which has allowed them to be multiple. He’s seeing safeties who are understanding the system in games and now they can plug and play guys.
+ Scheming to get turnovers is dangerous. They have to come in the natural progression of time, repetition, and getting comfortable seeing plays.