Former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel and current head coach Ryan Day were the guest speakers at the 13th annual Champions Among Us fundraiser in Poland, Ohio, earlier this week, which raised more than $110,000 for the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.
In addition to their speeches, the coaches also answered questions from those in attendance, with some hoping to gain some insight as to who will be the starting quarterback when the Buckeyes open the upcoming season at Minnesota on Sept. 2.
“You got me to Youngstown, but you’re not going to get me to Youngstown to spill the beans,” Day said with a laugh. “It’s going to be an exciting year for us.”
Ohio State lost two-year starter Justin Fields to the first round of the NFL Draft and must now replace him with someone who has never thrown a collegiate snap, be it redshirt freshmen C.J. Stroud or Jack Miller or early enrollee Kyle McCord. All three players participated in spring camp, however, which is a big reason why Day feels confident they’ll be ready by the time the season rolls around.
“It’s a great situation for a young quarterback to come into,” Day said. “The hard part is it’s Ohio State. I talk to those guys all the time. Try losing a game at Ohio State. It’s not easy. You have to be ready. You have to be prepared. A big part of it is we’ll have to help him be the best version of himself.”
Day was also asked about freshman defensive end Jack Sawyer, a former five-star prospect from Pickerington (Ohio) North who begins his career in Columbus with massive expectations.
“If he continues to do what he did this spring, he’ll have an opportunity (to contribute),” Day said. “We have a great history of defensive ends coming through Ohio State. We’re hoping that he can be the next. He has to earn his way up. For our young guys, they understand they’re not going to get handed anything.”
Day appreciated the opportunity to speak alongside Tressel, who guided the Buckeyes to the 2002 national championship and a 9-1 record against archrival Michigan, and noted his desire to maintain that same winning standard in Columbus.
“There’s a lot that goes with (being the head coach at Ohio State), but it’s an honor,” Day said. “There’s a lot of people that have come before and there’s a lot of people that are going to come after. It’s our job to continue that great tradition, and keep the people of Ohio proud of their program.”
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