Ryan Day Talks Justin Fields, Haskell Garrett, Penn State Game

Ryan Day and the Buckeyes are focused on being at their best for the Penn State game this weekend.
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When fans looked at the revamped schedule at the beginning of the season, after recognizing the rivalry game was in it's traditional spot, the most noticeable point on the agenda was a Week 2 matchup with Penn State. 

While the team is preparing for its first road game of the season, Buckeye head coach Ryan Day joined Paul Keels and Jim Lachey on 97.1 The Fan in Columbus for his weekly radio appearance. Here are some highlights from what Day had to say this afternoon.

Great to have a win and have some things to work on

"Lot to build on for sure, lot to learn from on the film ... we have to show improvement in all different areas ... this is a tough place to play this week ... we have a great opportunity as we hit the road for the first time."

On playing in an empty stadium

"It was different ... there were times in the game where that place would've been rocking. You probably don't feel the momentum swings as much in the game. But at the end of the day, its the environment that we have to play with and we have to just handle it better than our opponents."

On having Coach Coombs back on the sidelines

"He's got a lot of energy, did a nice job after the first couple drives. Bigger challenge this week and looking forward to seeing the guys play."

Beyond the stats, thoughts on Justin Fields competing

"I think its the way we've been practicing on offense with everyone involved ... great protection, good routes, good separation/timing and spacing from the receivers ... you saw the work he put in this offseason ... he was on balance, powerful and strong in the pocket."

Nick Petit-Frere's performance at right tackle

"Good start for sure, he put a lot of work in this summer to get his body in the right place ... glad to see it pay off in his first game."

Marcus Hooker and Josh Proctor

"I thought for the first game, other than early on getting their feet underneath them, they were really solid. But we have to avoid big plays this week." He also referenced that the more reps you get playing in a game makes you better, because you can't replicate game-reps."

Third downs 62% last week, 2-for-2 on fourth downs

"It's a huge help when you have big guys in front that are getting that movement. You can't do it all the time, but when you have guys that get great movement and Justin has a feel for getting to that softer spot on the defensive line. It was good for us Saturday."

Penn State Defensive Ends

"They're both quick, good off the ball. They ran the edge well last week ... they're as good as we've seen. We have to get our hands on them early. Justin is a threat in the pocket, but they'll create disruption in the pass game. In passing situations those guys will probably be coming hard over the edges. We have to give Justin time, he's shown he can do good things when he has time."

Is someone helping you with clock management?

"At the end of the day its certainly my responsibility, but I get a lot of help from (offensive coordinator) Kevin Wilson. He and I call the game and he helps me make those decisions."

On Haskell Garrett's Impact last week

"I think the thing that's significant here is that he had such a tragic event and the fact that he played the way he did is remarkable. It's a tribute to him, but also to how quickly we got him to a surgeon, got him rehabbed, and a tribute to Coach Johnson and Coach Mick for getting him physically and mentally ready to go play in a game. Just remarkable."

The challenge that Penn State's offense presents

"Clifford really has experience now, he's won some big games, he's accurate and very competitive. He runs the ball better than when you first look at him. He's sneaky athletic. They do a lot of good things running the quarterback. Freiermuth is one of the best tight ends in the country. They're offensive line is solid and they have some good playmakers."

Threat of CoVID impacting travel plans

"Depth is critically imprtant, even this week ... we test the morning of the game now on the road ... that's terrifying actually ... if someone tests positive and we are already there, that's concerning with depth ... if it was a noon game, we'd test here, but now that it's a night game we test once we are there. We have to have spare parts at all positions and pack accordingly ... its very different this year."

Chris Booker, Xavier Johnson, Jack Miller and other walk-ons and freshmen

"Yeah its really good to see those guys get out there late in the game and compete. Jack is a great example, a guy we recruit that is a really good quarterback that can run nicely. But good to see all those guys get out there and compete."

Playing starters vs. building depth

"Have to be smart, fine line there ... have to be calculated with the number of reps, but we are going to need all hands on deck this week ... we have to find a way to win this game in the fourth quarter."

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