Ryan Day Radio Show Notes: Jonathon Cooper's Block O Jersey, Physicality in Practice, CoVID Contingencies and More

Brendan Gulick

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day spent his typical one hour session with Paul Keels and Jim Lachey on Thursday afternoon on the Ohio State Learfield IMG Sports Network. Here are some of the things that Day chatted about as the Buckeyes get ready for their final weekend without football before the season opens against Nebraska on Oct. 24.

· Coach Day says the intensity at practice is picking up and they were very physical on Tuesday and Wednesday … "as we get closer, you have to figure out how tough your team is and get those callouses … coaches did a good job this week too. We are focusing on Nebraska now … great job the last couple days."

· On live-tackling … "we’ve tackled, we've done a significant amount of tackling drills, coaching up pursuit angles … trying to find the balance to keep guys healthy and being ready to hit the ground running for Week 1."

· On this weekend's schedule … "we’ll be at the stadium on Saturday, but not a typical Saturday … then we get going with Nebraska … we have to be smart the next few days."

· How is team handling all of the challenges that CoVID brings? "We talk about it every day, how each person you come in contact with you have to assume they have the virus … we test 170 people here every day, so you can feel pretty confident here, but once you leave here, we can't get tired or fatigued from doing this … won't last forever, but we have to hang in there for the next 8-10 weeks at a minimum."

· "Testing has gone smoothly every morning, better than expected … I can’t thank our medical team enough."

· On right tackle Nick Petit-Frere potentially edging out Paris Johnson … "yeah Nick has been excellent, so has Paris … both have worked really hard and shown great promise for the season … they’ll both play … Nick’s been in the program longer and that probably give him an edge."

· On Offensive tackle Dawand Jones … "he’s doing great, our language makes sense to him, he's playing with more confidence … takes pride in his work."

· On guys learning terminology … "we had so many zoom calls that it wasn’t a huge issue, but we fell behind a little just physically repping it out … we had so many meetings, more than typically would have, but we are learning quickly and getting better in practice."

· On two freshman QB’s … "I think it’s going well, as good as can be expected considering they haven’t had a lot of reps … communication has been good overall, those guys want to learn it. The more they can body-rep it, the better they’ll be."

· On Jonathon Cooper getting Block O jersey … "we had a lot of input, coach Mick (Marotti), our ops people, how do we want to handle this, what do we want to do? When someone first told me it wasn’t just the number 0 but the Block O, I knew it had to be earned … we decided to name it after Bill Willis because of all that he did … Cooper was a no-brainer … very cool to start a new tradition here."

· Cooper’s decision at the end of the year last year … it was hard for him, he could’ve played more coming off the high ankle injury … probably could’ve played 5-6 games … and then make the tough decision on which of the 4 games it was going to be

· Young OL and DL … "some days are better than others, sometimes wear and tear of putting on pads can beat you up a little bit … they’ll rally and learn … when you’re young, you ride the rollercoaster of extremes … one day you think you're going to the NFL tomorrow and the next you never want to play football again … OL are in that world right now."

· On Justin Fields and what gets Coach Day excited about his growth … "It started in the offseason, he was very motivated to have a great year … his work in the weight room has been excellent .. his work with the young receivers has been excellent, meeting room work has been great … you know what to expect and how to prepare when you come back for a second season."

· Last year the offense averaged 46.9 points per game, 265 rushing and passing yard per game, 530 total offense … where do you improve? "Well we are going right into conference play, we have to take care of the football … have to play with great pad level … guys up front have to win line of scrimmage … big plays will come, have to play penalty-free … play clean games, play with great discipline … focus on the basics and fundamentals, number take care of themselves."

· Who has stepped up in the WR room? "The guys coming back have done great job … Chris (Olave), Garrett (Wilson), Jameson (Williams) have all been solid … younger guys as well, Demario McCall had a great day blocking yesterday … older guys need to lead the way."

· Young guys on special teams … "both sides of the ball, if you aren’t playing on ST, you aren’t playing period … if you’re starting on a couple special teams, you can usually earn a chance to play."

· LB depth … "it’s a position of strength for us based on our experience … have some guys who have played a lot of football for us, young guys have made a push for some snaps."

· In light of the news about Coach Saban testing positive, how would you rearrange things if things go awry here? "We have contingency plans in place for everybody … good news is there are so many ways that we can still communicate if need be, but its certainly a concern … lots of plans in place … that’s why we are sacrificing so much, we are hoping to avoid those things."

· When you might envision offering visits for high school recruits? "We really don’t know … nothing can happen until January 1 … hope we are at a point we can do it then … we bring our visits to them through zoom, which has worked really well … I give these kids and their families a ton of credit … building relationships remotely is hard."

· Would you have been opposed to seeing TTUN game in prime time? "Nah that’s tradition, lets keep that normal," Day said with a laugh. ... OSU Football Color Analyst Jim Lachey pointed out that since 2012, the team is 22-0 at noon ... "Waiting around isn’t fun to play a game … it creates anxiety … let's go get some sleep, get up and go to work and then enjoy the win that night," said Day.

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