COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with the media for his weekly press conference on Tuesday. Day provided updates on the team and previewed the game at Maryland on Saturday.
Here are the highlights of what was said.
+ “We took a step in the right direction with the offensive line on Saturday”
+ They work on blocked punts every week and Lathan Ransom has been working really hard at it. They wear baseball gloves that players wear to slide into the plates. That’s how Josh Proctor broke his hand in practice and Day said that’s when they decided they needed the gloves. Ransom’s play on Saturday shifted some momentum. But there’s also some risk to doing it if they hit the punter.
+ Xaiver Johnson was practicing more at receiver but he has done a lot at running back, he spent his first few years there. He has done a lot of good things when the ball is in his hands. He learned through special teams all of the different ways to play football.
+ On keeping attention on Maryland this week with Michigan coming up, Day said it comes up every week and every year. They focus on competitive excellence all year so that when they get to this point in the year, they know it. “March Madness starts the first week of the season around here.” And they are working the Michigan game every week.
+ The focus has to be on how they play on Saturday. They want to be building and playing their best football in November. “We have a chance to go 11-0 this weekend but still not reach one of our goals yet.”
+ Maryland has played teams really well this year. They’ve been in battles with this team before, especially 2018 when it went to overtime. “We’re going to have to play really well.” That 2018 team was a wounded team who played them well and Maryland is always dangerous, especially when playing at home.
+ Paris Johnson Jr. found a balance growing up, at a young age. Football is something that he does, it’s not who he is. He has that balance and it’s very important.
+ Dallan Hayden’s talent was there right away. When he was coming in, it was just a matter of how quick he could assimilate and sustain the daily grind of being a college football as a freshman. Sometimes it takes players longer but Hayden has taken care of the football and has played and not let the moment be too big for him. “He’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
+ On the reputation of the wide receiver room, Day said he wouldn’t have believed it if he was told that Jaxon Smith-Njigba would be out and they wouldn’t miss a beat. “It’s an exciting time to be a wide receiver at Ohio State.” But Smith-Njigba is one of the best receivers in the country, one of the best slot receivers he has ever been around.
+ Toughness is about physicality and relentless effort week in and week out. “Then there’s the physicality of looking someone in the eye and knocking them back.” Day said there was a lot of effort in Xaiver Johnson’s touchdown run. There were at least three down field blocks.
+ On preparing for Maryland, Day said they have to keep doing what they’re doing and prepare the way they have been.
+ A lot of players played against Indiana who were hurting. They are pushing through bumps and bruises because it’s November in the Big Ten. They are working on getting healthy and healing up. But the players are strong and they are persevering though it.
+ They have not played their best football yet, it’s a constant chase to be the best version of themselves. And they know they will have to play better to achieve their goals.