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 are officially 48 hours to kickoff for the season:
Regarding the Energy Around the Team Right Now
"The guys are fired up, this has been a long time coming. It's time to go play. There's been such a lead up, one thing we have to do as a team and individually is stop with the expectations ... so many things you're preparing for during a season, thinking about all the possibilities ... you have to just go out and play the first game, play the first series, one play at a time ... huge excitement around this thing right now."
Regarding Justin Fields
"He has a great body of work under his belt and expects that the season he's coming off of will help him recognize things on the field that much faster ... his leadership has been excellent. When you look at our team in general, they led and advocated for themselves, they've been through a lot this offseason but they've stuck together ... can we be the best team when we had an offseason when we were largely apart? In the end, the best TEAM wins a championship ... it all starts Saturday."
Regarding Shaun Wade and the Secondary
"We're all glad Shaun's back, he's done a really good job getting himself where he needs to be to play at a high level ... those guys are going to have a good season, but we'll know more when you get into the game ... not every play is going to be perfect, but that's okay."
Depth at Running Back
"We've had more depth there now compared to any point before when I've been here, plus Marcus Crowley is on the mend to create more depth. We were worried in the spring because of Master Teague's injury, but he's healthy now and we love the depth we have built there with some young guys practicing hard. Master and Trey Sermon will carry the load, will be fun to watch them play. We've also been very, very impressed with Xavier Johnson on special teams and at running back. We are very fortunate to have him."
Master Teague vs. Trey Sermon's Skillset
"They have a lot in common. Both have played a lot, big strong powerful backs, good vision, versatile guys."
Nick Petit-Frere, the Buckeyes new Right Tackle
"He did a great job getting his weight where it needs to be. He used to struggle with the bull rush, not any more ... he's serious about his business ... he's matured a lot into his third year, going against really good guys every day ... he's on pace for a great season. He's also got great role models in Thayer (Munford), Josh (Myers) and Wyatt (Davis)
Strength of Nebraska Offense
"All five starting offensive linemen returning for Nebraska, familiar group of tight ends ... that's probably one of the strengths of their offense ... you'll see some downhill runs. They'll play with tempo, Adrian Martinez and Luke McCaffrey are both really solid quarterbacks too. They're impressive."
Ohio State's Back-up QB this Weekend
"Our backup QB situation is on-going and will continue to be ... not fair right now to put one in front of the other ... allowing these guys to grow on the field ... there are a lot of expectations that come with being the quarterback at Ohio State ... consequences for everything that goes on ... our freshmen are really learning what that all means right now."
Discussing his Team's Success Off the Field
The Buckeyes have 48 OSU Scholar-Athletes with a 3.0 GPA and above, 10 college grads (including all of the defensive captains). "We take a lot of pride in that ... last two semesters we've been a 3.0 as a team and we are thrilled about that ... the academic support people talk about our players the same way our strength staff does, and the same way our coaching staff does ... there's a lot of carryover there. Living with discipline matters, our guys are great examples of that."
What He'll Miss Most on Game Day
"I'll miss running out of the tunnel into a crowded stadium, the Skull Session and singing Carmen Ohio with the student section ... a lot that we'll miss, but we'll deal with it."
On How Much Time He Spends Coaching the Defensive Side of the Ball
"I'm in every special teams meeting, I'm involved in every drill, Matt Barnes is a great teacher and runs that well. I'm obviously there with the defense on team-related work, but when we split up I go with the offense ... but those coaches were hired to do a job and they are great ... I give them their room. I want them to do what's best, not what Ryan Day wants."
On Ohio State Players Following All of the Health Protocols
"At one point this was all taken away from them. It doesn't make it easier, just helps you focus a little more ... we can't get fatigued or tired of doing the right things, following the protocols and we have to do better than our opponents. Most importantly, it's the right thing to do and we need our guys to stay healthy and safe. We test 170 people on a daily basis. This is the safest building on campus. Guys are spending lots of time here."
The Tradition and History of Ohio State Football
This is the 131st football season for OSU ... both programs this week have over 900 victories ... "The history doesn't matter in terms of playing this particular game, but it matters to know where you came from. It matters to the people in Ohio and our alumni. Our entire facility is littered with championships, All-Americans, what it means the be the best in the country at your positions, etc. That's why players come here."