COLUMBUS, Ohio — Following the Buckeyes’ 37-3 win vs Minnesota on Saturday, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with reporters to talk about the win. Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and quarterback Kyle McCord and also had press conferences immediately after the game.
You can read the highlights from the press conferences below.
+ The team did a great job of staying focused this week. They stayed in the moment and played well but the minute they get into the locker room, it’s on to next week. It was not easy for anyone.
+ Having a strong start to the second half was big to give them a cushion and get some players out of the game to get ready for next week.
+Kyle McCord made good reads and was playing situational football. “We’ve got the weapons and he’s got the talent.” It has all been a build up to this week. He got into a rhythm with his footwork. There was some good play but also some things they could scheme up better.
+ Tommy Eichenberg was ready to go but he was held back. It was almost a fist fight, but Day said he won. It was really hard for Eichenbeeg to accept but there was too much on the line to risk a set back. After calming down, he was ok with it. He will be 100 percent next week.
+ On the balance of playing the starters through a full game vs letting them rest, Day said he has to thread that needle and ultimately they have to win every game. They can’t do anything less than 100 percent. When it’s time to go they have to go and they did that. They played hard and physical. But once they got the cushion in the second half, that was the ideal situation.
+ On the defense, Day said they should be at full capacity next week but it’s all going to be tested next week. They didn’t get the shutout today and it is what it is. It’s all working up to next week.
+ TreVeyon Henderson is a home run hitter. The more opportunities he gets, when he gets to the second level, he’s dangerous. “It’s our job to get him there.”
+ Emeka Egbuka had his burst back. Day saw it in practice this week and it was good to see him play in the game like that. He’s getting as close to 100 as he could possibly be.
+ Jack Sawyer has been playing hard and his attitude has been great. He’s getting better every week. His best football is ahead of him and he just keeps putting days in and grinding. “We’re counting on that all to pay off down the stretch.”
+ On the offense, Day said “we’re here now.” There’s always things they want to get better at but they have their identity, pass, and explosiveness. “We’re 11 games in — time to go play.”
+ They have to keep preparing, stay with their routine, and maximize every minute this week. They need a great week of preparation. Saturday at Noon will come.
+ Day did have the Michigan at Maryland game on today.
+ On stopping the run, Knowles said it’s a big deal. They’ve been much better in their coverage and defending the explosives in the pass game. But they had given some things up in the run game the last few weeks, so it was important for them to make a showing in the run game and to keep getting better.
+ On Jack Sawyer, Knowles said he has been on a great streak. He has embraced his role, he’s consistent, he takes chances, and is effective in the running game. “He’s just a guy we count on.” He has turned into a cold-blooded gentleman, which they like.
+ Jordan Hancock has been a huge plus for them. To have a cover skills corner who is also willing to mix it up in the run game… He gives them an added dimension.
+ The defense is all about confidence. When he can show the players what they’ve done well and how that matches up to what they’re going to do, that certainly beats any talk in preparation of Michigan. “We have it now, where we can be counted on.”
+ The back end of the defense feels better from week one to now. “We all feel better.”
+ The overall defense has been on his mind since last year.
+ They moved the ball well in the first half but left points in the red zone. They were off a little bit and left points on the field, but the second half was cleaner. The biggest thing is getting on those little errors early on.
+ On his performance, McCord said Minnesota made good plays and they weren’t as sharp offensively on certain plays. They moved the ball well and then stalled. They will watch film and find the reasons why they didn’t execute early on.
+ On thinking about the Michigan game, McCord said they prepare for it 365 days a year. They think about it every day and everyone is excited for it, especially with the way it has gone the last two years.
+ On Emeka Egbuka’s performance, McCord said he told Egbuka this was the best he has looked since coming back from his injury. It was good to see because he has been working his tail off to get back.
+ His confidence level has grown through the weeks as he has gotten more game reps. “We’re starting to get this thing rolling.” They’ve been making strides, and there were times everything was clicking. They are starting to get more consistent. But now with the opponent coming up, they have to elevate.
+ He feels good physically. At week 11, nobody feels 100 percent but the line has done a good job of keeping him upright. He is taking care of his body during the week.
+ On his role in the rivalry game this year, McCord said “you can’t draw it up any better than that. To be 11-0 right now, exactly where we want to be… This is how we envisioned it going, and this is what you work for.”
Photo via Ohio State Dept. of Athletics.