COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with the media on Tuesday to recap the win at Penn State on Saturday and preview the Buckeyes’ road game against Northwestern this weekend. Day provided insight into penalties, the run game, and the mindset of the team moving forward.
Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and wide receiver coach Brian Hartline also answered questions and provided updates. Here are the highlights of what was said.
+ Miyan Williams’ injury on Saturday was strange, his hand and arm got caught in the chain marker and he got banged up. It’s not serious but Day does not want to comment any further on injuries. They were supposed to drop the chains and didn’t and it put Williams in a tough spot.
+ He wants to get all of the running backs healthy. “We’re going to need these guys down the stretch.” Day said they will need them all and he looks forward to having a fully healthy room. They all deserve to play.
+ Day will not watch the College Football Playoff Rankings released this week. He thinks Ohio State deserves to be in the Top 4 but says that it does not matter right now, what matters is beating Northwestern.
+ On the run game in the second half, Day said they wore Penn State’s defense down and they got some tempo going. They wanted to be balanced offensively and that was the recipe. The game turned out exactly how they expected. Having the ability to change tempos is a tool, they can’t rely on one tempo all of the time and it’s most efficient when used as a tool.
+ The team is always focused on “us.” They want to continue to have that focus and continue getting better every week, so that they aren’t setting themselves up for problems down the road. Their goals are still their goals and they know if they don’t maximize every minute each week, then it won’t matter. They have to embrace every single week and remind everyone what is at stake.
+ He looks for energy and execution from their Tuesday practices.
+ On the delay of game penalties, Day said crowd noise was an issue and in the red zone they were trying to check a couple of plays and it slowed them down and that was his fault. The false starts were more of an issue and Day said they were tapping the center when they were ready, but the nose guard jumped offsides and Cade Stover looked down at the ball and when that guy jumped, he jumped. Day said he thought that penalty was a penalty on the defense, but the rule says that it only applies to someone directly across from them. This is an example of the type of thing that comes up when they play on the road.
+ That was the first full game they played on defense and Day said it was great to see them all get reps.
+ Tyleik Williams has been practicing better and the sack he had on Saturday was excellent. Larry Johnson did a great job of rotating the defensive linemen. Williams is very talented and he has learned the game more every week. That unit was leading the way on Saturday on the sidelines.
+ Stover does a lot of the dirty work and he embraces that. He is becoming more of a weapon and he was outstanding on Saturday.
+ On C.J. Stroud’s fourth quarter success in games, Day said he focused on winning, takes care of the football, and that is huge. He plays winning football and plays his best football in the fourth quarter. He has a look and a feel. He isn’t doing anything extraordinary, superhuman, but he goes back to his training and sticks to his reads. That moment doesn’t get too much for him, he stays even keel, and he knows what’s on the line and he likes the team jumping on his back.
+ On Chip Trayanum at running back, Day said he’s a running back full time as of now. He learned the offense and was ready to go on Saturday if they needed him. He and Dallan Hayden are ready to go.
+ They asked players to play on special teams this week who normally don’t and it was solid. They will need complimentary football and competitive stamina moving forward.
+ J.T. Tuimoloau had one of the” most historic games in all of college football.”
+ Day is still hopeful that Jaxon Smith-Njigba will be back this season. They would like to have him back, but they are still confident that they can achieve their goals without him.
+ He can feel the rush of the excitement from a defensive touchdown and then the drop off when they have to go right back out there. They have to re-energize but it’s human nature and it’s hard to do.
+ Tyleik Williams has “freakish athletic ability for his size.” He is working on developing consistency in practice so that he earns the opportunities and he has been doing more of that in practice.
+ They gave up too many big, explosive plays against Penn State. The positive is that they were doing other good things and they won, but they still had to address all of the big plays. It doesn’t get evened out.
+ The safeties have done “A work” defending the middle of the field and sitting on routes and having the confidence to do that. They hold their ground pretty well in the middle.
+ J.T. Tuimoloau’s performance was the best he has ever seen from a defensive end. He dominated every aspect of the game. “It’s different and you just don’t see it and he has it.”
+ Lathan Ransom never shows fear, frustration, or fatigue. He is one of those players who can run through a wall and isn’t phased by it.
+ On the true freshman wide receivers, Hartline said they are doing well and gaining momentum. They are buying into what is around them and they are starting to sharpen their teeth on special teams.
+ On Julian Fleming, Hartline said Fleming has done a great job. He’s done it now, but now it’s about how often. He has to continue to progress and build a body of work and do it often. The more opportunities he gets the more plays he makes. He’s only scratching the surface, the sky is the limit for him.
+ Cade Stover has been critical to the offense. The whole room has taken as step but they wouldn’t be where they are if it weren’t for Stover’s growth. He has made big plays all year and he will continue to ascend.
+ On the receiver rotation and developing a fourth and fifth guy outside of Smith-Njigba, Hartline said it is important to have multiple players available and they have that. They do a lot throughout the week, not as much on Saturdays, but the “ammo” is being built throughout the week.
+ Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka hold themselves to high standards. They expected this and they carry the torch.
+ Smith-Njigba has been beating himself up a bit. He wants to play and he’s frustrated but he’s done a good job of picking the players up. He has been awesome, but of course as a competitor he wants to get back. Hartline has confidence that he will be back.