Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day made his weekly appearance on 97.1 The Fan on Thursday afternoon, then sat down with the media for around 15 minutes for a lighting round to discuss the 77-21 win over Toledo and preview Saturday’s game in the hours of prime time with Wisconsin.

The following is a bulleted recap of everything Day had to say:

Ryan Day Radio Show

  • By taking the ball first against Toledo. “We wanted to come out of the gate strong and we felt that was a priority for us.”
  • There were a lot of positive things against Toledo, but there are still things to work on in each position group. He said those are things the Buckeyes couldn’t get away with in conference, even though they worked against the Rockets.
  • Day said it was good to have wide receivers Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julien Fleming against Toledo. Fleming added that he was looking forward to getting back on the court.
  • Day noted how the sixth-year senior Mitch Rossi gives the Buckeyes a different look at the tight end and creates different packages, like his touchdown run as a fullback.
  • Day said having 18 true freshmen play so far this season is something they haven’t been able to do during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and will be beneficial for their development.
  • The day said freshman safety Sonny Styles “has a chance to be special.” He added that he is an example of someone who found his way on special teams before making an impact on offense or defense.
  • On the ability to build depth in the last two games, especially in terms of security. “We will need it as the season progresses.”
  • On the rookie walk-in TC CaffeyThe long touchdown run: “No one expected this to happen.” Noted how he and his fellow freshman Dallan Hayden – the most important – took care of the ball.
  • Day said the team seemed to be adopting a warmer practice on Wednesday, with their black alternate helmets making it even warmer on the field.
  • Day said they’ve been trying to get 10-15 “good-on-good” reps in practice and 20-25 reps from the scout team in practice this week.
  • Day said the Buckeyes need to do a better job defending against a dual-threat quarterback like Toledo’s Dequan Finnalthough Wisconsin Graham Mertz is more likely to stick in the pocket this week.
  • Day thinks the defense can take advantage of the turnovers they forced against Toledo, which they haven’t had in the first two games of the season.
  • Day says quarterback C.J. Stroud has a great personality and is very loyal. He “doesn’t let a lot of people in,” but he’s close and very defensive of other signallers and has helped them develop.
  • On Wisconsin: “Paul (Chrystus) does a great job on offense and really understands how to attack defenses. They said they embody a Big Ten team because they are physical and want to establish the run.
  • Added as the Badgers defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard does a good job of mixing looks and that he has a lot of respect for their unit.
  • Day said the attention the wide receivers command allowed the short end Cade shorts become a new weapon for the offence. He said that he, Rossi and Gee Scott all have invested in the position despite starting their careers elsewhere on the pitch.
  • Day noted that the defensive line will likely use fewer players at the start of conference games. Said the unit will be critical this weekend.
  • Day said the scoreboard wasn’t important in last week’s game. That the players must continue to play as if it were a draw. “We always feel like it’s about us.”
  • Director of Daily Loans of Football Operations Quinn Tempel to keep practice organized. “He gives us a lot of energy in training and he’s a big part of what we do.” Things don’t work the way they do without support staff like Tempel.
  • Day said that when you cross the Scarlet Line to train, you have to leave everything else behind and just focus on the football. Note how difficult this can be for younger players.
  • When asked if there were any downsides to playing a game at night, Day noted that you sit all day for the game to start and then don’t come home until after midnight and that you weren’t sleeping well because of all the adrenaline.
  • On how he balances his own sanity, Day said he hits tennis balls or turns off all the music in his car for the drive home. “The days are hectic, the stress is high.” Says players feel that too. “It’s good to get away from it all and pull yourself together.”

Ryan Day Flash Round

  • Physically, the Buckeyes will see against the Badgers: “They’re well coached, have good players, play with a physical nature, have a great identity – and have been for a long time.”
  • “If we’re going to make a run for the Big Ten championship, we’re going to have to beat Wisconsin.”
  • Day said the only way to prepare for games like this is to train with the same mentality. He said that didn’t guarantee anything, though.
  • Day said you can see Stroud’s continued progress every week. “It’s been a steady evolution over time…I don’t think he has any intention of slowing down.” Says that when you stop trying to prove something, you fail to improve. “I know he sees it that way.”
  • On the freshman cornerback Ryan Turner, who lost his black band on Wednesday: “Ryan has been training well for the past few weeks. I made games, I made progress. Told him and his freshman classmate Jyaire Brown got reps with the first- and second-team defense. “Both of these guys have shown improvement.”
  • On Smith-Njigba and Fleming, who he says are all-out against the Badgers: “We’ll continue to take it day by day and see how they do, but so far so good.”
  • On Stroud and Stover’s relationship: “It’s very important…Over time you have to build trust on both sides, and I think that’s happened.” Says it can be a huge weapon for them as they head into conference play.
  • On the Buckeyes running the ‘I’ formation against Toledo and how it brings a physical mindset to offense: “Having that as part of your game, I think it’s a healthy thing for offense and defense.”
  • Day said there were things they needed to improve in all phases of the game. “I don’t think our whole team played a full game… That’s the standard we hold ourselves to.”
  • On Mertz, who the Buckeyes recruited out of high school, and Allen: “I think those two guys are really talented… They’ve got a good group there, so that’s going to be our biggest challenge on defense.”

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