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Quick hitters from Ryan Day Week 12 press conference

IMG_7408by:Andy Backstrom11/14/23


COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with the media Tuesday to talk about the No. 1 Buckeyes’ 38-3 win over Michigan State as well as their Week 12 home finale versus Minnesota.

Lettermen Row has the rundown of what Day said.

What Ryan Day said Tuesday…

+ Day was asked about left guard Donovan Jackson and his progress. “He’s graded out a champion these last couple weeks,” Day said. Day said it’s different when you have two new guys on both sides of you — he said that’s part of why it’s taken Jackson some time to find a groove.

+ Day was asked about Ohio State’s two-back set with Chip Trayanum and Xavier Johnson. “Those guys can do multiple things, and any time you see that, it can bring a lot of variables to the table,” Day said. Day pointed out that they’re doing all sorts of things to attack a defense, including Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka running the football. But, as for Johnson, “he’s a mismatch in a lot of different areas.”

+ Day was asked about what stood out about quarterback Kyle McCord when he was a recruit. Day pointed to his intelligence and his work ethic. He was one of the first guys in trying to learn the offense, for example.

+ Day said that every time McCord is out there, he’s had an opportunity to grow his confidence. His fast starts the last couple weeks have been momentous.

+ Day said backup quarterback Devin Brown’s “alright” after what he called just a bit of a setback in pregame warmups when Brown fell down briefly while preparing for Saturday night’s game. Brown is still working his way back to full strength after suffering an ankle injury versus Penn State.

+ When asked about safety Lathan Ransom, Day said “there’s a chance he could come back this year.” But it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll return in the next few weeks.

+ Day was asked about defensive tackle Mike Hall Jr. He said he doesn’t have an update right now.

+ Day said they decided to hold wide receiver Emeka Egbuka in the second half. He’s getting closer and closer to 100% every week, Day said. “He’s getting stronger every single week,” Day reiterated.

+ Day was asked about giving right guard Matthew Jones a series at center. They just wanted to evaluate that situation and see, if they needed to make a change, what that would look like.

+ Day was then asked about center Carson Hinzman and his progression. Day mentioned that “he’s the youngest” of the group up front. He’s handled some difficult environments as a redshirt freshman. “Every time he’s out there, it’s an investment in his future,” Day said.

+ Day noted that right now they’re going to stick with the five they have up front, but they’re always evaluating the situation at every position.

+ Day shouted out the pass protection of running back TreVeyon Henderson and noted that he protected Kyle McCord well twice on touchdown passes. It’s part of him becoming an all-purpose back, Day said.

+ Day was asked about fortifying the depth of the back end for this season, and how it’s coming in handy. Day said you have to build depth in college football, as you can’t be picking up anyone off the waivers like you can in the NFL. “Our guys are confident in the guys in the room,” Day said.

+ Day was asked about safety Sonny Styles at Ransom’s strong safety spot. They don’t want to overload him, but at the same time, he can do a lot.

+ Day said it was great to see tight end Jelani Thurman out there. “He’s got really good hands, a bright future,” Day said. “If he continues on the same path that he’s on, he’s going to have a special career at Ohio State,” he noted.

+ Day was asked about Marvin Harrison Jr. and his Heisman Trophy candidacy. “I think he is the most outstanding player in the country,” Day said. Right from the jump, Harrison came in with a work ethic that’s transcended throughout the whole team. “He makes everybody on that field better,” Day said.

+ Day said Minnesota is well coached. He said he has a lot of respect for head coach P.J. Fleck and what the Golden Gophers do as a staff. The Buckeyes have to prepare for Week 12 like it’s any other game, Day said.

+ Day said “urgency has to be at an all-time high” at this point this season. He said his team understands that. They’re preparing for Minnesota and ignoring everything else that comes around.

+ Day was asked about the development of left tackle Josh Simmons. “He certainly is progressing, you can see the talent,” Day said. “Every week it’s coming together a little bit more for him. He can be as good as he wants to be.”

+ When asked about who else “flashed” for Ohio State Saturday against Michigan State, Day pointed out that he thought cornerback Jermaine Mathews Jr. continued to impress, safety Malik Hartford graded out as a “champion,” tight end Jelani Thurman had a nice catch and quarterback Lincoln Kienholz responded well in his debut.

+ “Coming to work every day with these guys, this is a great team to be around,” Day said of this iteration of Ohio State. “We’re going to do it again this week and keep swinging.”

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