COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, quarterback C.J. Stroud, and defensive coordinator Jim Knowles met with reporters following the Buckeyes’ 54-10 win against Iowa.
Here are the highlights of what was said.
+ On the offensive execution, Day said it was in interesting game. Iowa does a good job up front and took things out of the middle. They weren’t executing the run very well early on but they knew it was going to take a while to crack it. It goes back to being able to do something when a team shuts one part of the offense down. The story is about the defense and how well they played, but it was good to pull away in the second half.
+ They’re not used to grind-it-out wins but that’s reality. Playing against a top 10 defense, it’s not going to be fireworks every series. If they had scored some touchdowns it would have been a different first half, but there is a lot to learn and grow from.
+ Zach Harrison is playing some of his best football right now. The defensive line is playing with an edge. “You’re seeing the best version of him right now.”
+ On having to burn timeouts on offense in the red zone, Day said he gets frustrated with himself because there are so many scenarios they go through down there but it’s hard. Iowa does a good job in the red zone and he wants to get exactly the right call. They decided to take timeouts to get a good look or to change the call if they knew they had a bad look, or to think about it more. They always want to get those moments right, they work so hard for that.
+ C.J. Stroud clicked in the second half but they had to get into a rhythm on offense. They were in plus territory but they never got into a rhythm, the field felt compressed. Things like that happen against good defenses but they will learn and grow from it.
+ Jordan Hancock had a good week of practice. He does a good job of playing the ball.
+ The field goals need to be touchdowns. They are happy to get points but they all wish they had calls and plays back. The No. 1 goal is to get touchdowns in the red zone that is in their plan to win.
+ “We have to go figure out how to run the ball better.” But they do that every week.
+ “The defense put the offense in a great position to score.”
+ Jaxon Smith-Njigba was on a pitch count and was coming out at around 20 plays.
+ The first half was weird. It was tough to build a rhythm with the ball on the 30 or 40 in plus territory because it’s so tight. It was good to get that under their belt because they know late in the season they will have close and tough games.
+ “Once we got into a rhythm, we became they dynamic offense that we know. We were back, we got our swagger back.”
+ Iowa was running a lot of the coverages that they though they would. “We were just off a little bit.” They have a dynamic offense where they can run the ball or throw it, they just had to get it going better.
+ Julian Fleming has put in a lot of work. “It just shows you that it pays off in the long run.” That’s high execution and they want to bottle that up and do it again.
+ On the six turnovers and turning them over on downs, Knowles said they had a great week of practice. They were fresh, fast, and opportunistic. They have been training for this and they expect these good things to happen. Everyone is confident when the defense is playing well.
+ Zach Harrison is an elite player. He has great speed and he has distinct moves in his pass rush. Harrison has been performing every week and it’s good to see him get the recognition for making more plays.
+ He liked the run fits and their ability to stop the run. Then he thought their disguises and reads on routes were better and that resulted in interceptions. The back end is getting a better feel for the different coverages.
+ Tanner McCalister has always been a heads up, coachable player. He understands the game and the scheme. He took off last year and played with confidence and him coming to Ohio State showed he wanted to elevate his game even more. “It’s great to see him making plays.” Knowles said McCalister is like a son to him and McCalister has also invested a lot in him.
+ The corners didn’t get tested often on the edges to down field but they were competing all game. It was good to get Jordan Hancock back.
+ Cody Simon played well at the third linebacker spot. They had to morph the defense with big guys and tight ends and Simon adds a lot to the defense when they play those kinds of teams.
Photo via Ohio State Buckeyes.