Ohio State head coach Ryan Day visited with the media on Tuesday afternoon as the Buckeyes prepare to play Rutgers this weekend. Here are my biggest takeaways from his roughly 40 minute session.
No QB Controversy
Day was asked point blank: if C.J. Stroud is healthy enough to start this weekend, is he the starting quarterback?
"Yes", Day said quickly.
Further more, he was asked if he entertained the idea that Kyle McCord could have played so well last weekend that he could have taken the starting job and run with it, which he quickly said no. He's glad that McCord and Jack Miller each got some valuable game reps. He said that both of those guys pretty much played the way they've been practicing so far this year and he's pleased with what they did against Akron. But if he's healthy and available to play, this is C.J. Stroud's job.
Balancing His Emotions This Past Weekend
Day didn't get much sleep on Saturday night. He was clearly upset with the way the K'Vaughan Pope situation unfolded and he didn't have much to say about it today. It's clear he wants to put that behind the team. But by the same token, he said it was really good to see his team playing with joy against Akron. He said he really noticed how much fun the team was having, and considering that the first few weeks of the season have occasionally been not much fun, he was awfully glad to see that change.
Emeka Egbuka Is A Rising Star
Emeka Egbuka caught a short pass and turned it into an 85-yard gain against Akron, giving fans perhaps their first glimpse of what his high-end potential looks like. On Tuesday, Day lauded the young freshman star receiver. "The future is extremely bright for him" ... his approach, maturity level, you don't hear a word from him ... he's only gonna get better."
That receiver room is loaded with talent, and assuming that Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson are going to the NFL next spring, Egbuka has a chance to explode on the scene in 2022.
Buckeyes Getting Healthier
The last couple weeks, Ohio State has had a few more names on the "Unavailable List" on the Game Status Report. But Ryan Day said Tuesday that he's hopeful his team is getting closer to full health. In particular, he said Harry Miller had been dealing with some health issues and is going to rejoin the team this week.
"I hope so, but some of them are lingering a little bit ... it's the medical staff's decision, but I'm hopeful we'll be back closer to full strength," Day said.
Position Groups Improving
Day told me that he thinks the defensive backs, offensive line and running backs are the position groups that have taken the biggest step forward from Week 1 through Week 4. He also said that Jerron Cage gave a passionate speech to the team after practice on Thursday about the need for all nine units to play a collective, solid game. Saturday was certainly much closer to that.
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