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OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
August 2, 2019
Q. What made you smile today? See something from Justin you hadn't seen in three months?
RYAN DAY: It was good to get everybody out there, start football again. It's all helmets today. We were kind of on and off quick. It's more about effort. It's about technique. It's about those kind of things. Not about winning or losing today. There will be time for that when the pads go on.
No, just good to kind of throw the ball a little bit, see guys moving around. Good looking team.
Q. Did they respond?
RYAN DAY: Oh, yeah. Good practice. A lot of energy early on. Just got to sustain it day in, day out.
Q. How do you balance having a physical camp while trying to avoid injuries as much as possible?
RYAN DAY: Number one thing is what you just said is right there. We got to be tough. We talk about it every day, talked about it last night. Got to talk about it every single day moving forward. Got to be a tough team, mentally, emotionally, spiritually physically.
We're going to do everything we can to make sure guys are healthy. These guys nowadays are fast, they're strong, they're powerful, explosive, violent. That's the way the game is. We have to be smart about that.
We spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out what the right reps are. We look hard at the experience of guys to figure out how many reps does he need to be game ready when we kick off on the 31st.
Guys who have a lot of experience, guys in the middle, developmental, guys at ground zero, we look at each drill and figure out how many they need. Once they get those many reps, it's time to get out.
Q. Looking at the offensive line, very early, where are you at right now? Are you concerned? Is it a strength?
RYAN DAY: I feel as good as I've felt in the last couple years in terms of our depth. We have seven or eight guys that can get in there right now and play. They'll start battling once the pads go on. Now is the time to get out there, their calls, their assignments, fundamentals, techniques. Once the pads go on, we can figure out who can block.
When you look at it, guys with experience out there, probably more than we had in the past. Then we're encouraged by some young guys. Maybe we'll be playing depth as it goes on. If guys deserve a chance to play, we would roll guys like we did at receiver last year.
Q. In the off-season, there was a lot of talk about simplifying the scheme. What is the philosophy you want to enforce with the players now?
RYAN DAY: Like we talked about, we want guys that are playing hard, running the ball. To be the toughest defense in the Big Ten, we have to be the best tackling defense in the Big Ten. That was an emphasis last night. We talked with the defense. We got a lot of experience on that side of the ball. Guys are into it.
This time of year you're looking to develop chemistry and leadership. You're looking to develop an understanding in executing situational football as we get into pre-season camp. At the end of the day it's going to come down to how tough we are and how well we tackle.
Q. You don't want to talk about injuries. Looks like with the twos early on, is it fully ready to go?
RYAN DAY: Yeah, everybody was out there that we thought would be. Some guys are in different points of their rehab. But we're going to roll those guys up front. Especially the first few days, some guys are going to rep with the ones, some with the twos. Some are on a pitch count with volume control to make sure we can ease them back into practice. You'll see a lot of guys running with the ones and twos. As camp goes on, it will be more solidified.
Q. Urban used to talk about getting the team back from Coach Moriarty right before camp.
RYAN DAY: We had our champions dinner last night. Mick talked to the team for a long time. That's kind of a mark of the timeline right there of summer conditioning is done, now it's time to go play football. Always have that meeting the night before we get going.
What those guys do, the time they spend here waking up early in the morning all summer, with the work that's been put in, it deserves recognition. We spent a lot of time on that last night. It was a good meeting.
We talked about positives, negatives, things we need to work on. It's exciting. It's part of a new journey. Like we talked about, we all have something to prove. The coaching staff, offense, defense, special teams. We got to be hungry. We got to be willing to fight every day.
Q. Last year at this time there was a lot of drama handing over the program, non-football related. Talk a little bit about what it's like, how this year is different, what it's like to have the focus be on football instead of other stuff.
RYAN DAY: I think this year is just more of a typical pre-season camp. As we all know, last year was atypical. That was a very unique situation that a lot of people pulled together and did a great job.
But this is more like it normally is, where we got a bunch of young guys, we're trying to figure out what is going on, older guys trying to solidify themselves. Now we're going to get ourselves into pre-season camp, get ready to go. This is more like the norm this year.
Q. How often have you seen Urban since the beginning of the year? What are the nature of your meetings with him? Do you talk about everything or?
RYAN DAY: We talk about everything, yeah.
Q. How often do you meet?
RYAN DAY: I don't know what exactly the regularity of it is. We talk a lot. Like I said, he's been a resource for me, for everybody here. Still involved in terms of being part of the university, everything he does there. Right across the street if we need advice. Me being a first-time head coach, unbelievable resource that way. He's been great.
Q. What time did you arrive on campus this morning?
RYAN DAY: I think it was just after 6:00.
Q. Do you feel like you have your systems installed offensively and defensively or is that a process that has to play out as your set your depth chart?
RYAN DAY: I think schematically on offense, we're probably a little ahead of defense just because we've been together longer on our side of the ball. However, we have a lot of guys that haven't played. There's some inexperience there.
I would tell you if it was Munford or K.J. Hill or Luke Farrell, J.K. Dobbins, one of the guys that have been around for a while, much further ahead there.
If you're one of the quarterbacks, Jonah Jackson, Garrett Wilson, we're just about where the defense is. It's about six months into this thing.
But I feel good. I feel good about where we are schematically right now. Now we just got to put it on the field, kind of see what schemes best fit our personnel. Sometimes you make assumptions coming out of the spring. It's more about individual development.
In pre-season you put your team together, figure out where you are as a unit and team. You make assumptions thinking you're going to be one way. As it goes along, you figure out maybe we need to go down this road. That's what these next new weeks are all about.
Q. Last year the quarterbacks didn't play to the standard Ohio State expects. What have you seen from Damon Arnette and Jeff Okudah in particular that lead you to believe, I assume, they're going to uphold that standard? How much does the new scheme affect that?
RYAN DAY: Well, I think you're looking at some guys there who are hungry, who have built a relationship with Jeff Hafley, that believe in what he's teaching. I see those guys had a great off-season with Mick, gotten stronger, faster, quicker, but have put some time in really to really master the techniques that Jeff is teaching.
Even today, just watching them out there, they're in a good place. I think they're really owning the technique and understand they have to play with technique. Again, we'll see once the pads go on and the games start happening.
I would be disappointed if all three of those guys weren't really good this year.
Q. You've been asked this a million times. Can you again give your assessment of the quarterbacks, what the situation is there? Most people assume Justin is clearly going to be the guy.
RYAN DAY: It's the same thing. We just got off the field from day one. It hasn't really changed since a couple weeks ago. We talked about it. Guys are going to get reps, roll guys early on. Based on how they play, we'll create a little bit of a depth chart and go from there.
Q. You were asked about last year, but how much do you draw from that opportunity you had to be a head coach from fall camp last year as you go into your second fall camp?
RYAN DAY: Big-time. Big-time. Now this is the first time since I've become head coach where this is the second time I've done something. We had the meeting last night, that was the second time. We did that last year. First practice on the field, we did that last year.
Good to draw upon, check your notes, things you said, things you did. That helps because, again, it's not the first time doing it.
Good day today. We'll just keep building and check our notes as we go.
Q. How much of an advantage is that to be at that point where you feel like you've done this before, it's not all hitting you new?
RYAN DAY: I think, yeah, again, very unique situation, there was a lot going on, a lot getting thrown at me, the whole offensive and defensive staff. We had to manage it the best we could.
Again, this year it's more like it is, which you plan ahead, you put the practice schedules together, you put the training camp schedule together, you kind of organize that with a lot of thought ahead of time. You just go about the business of executing it now that we're here.
Q. I know you had some evaluations of the quarterbacks that you brought in this summer. Seeing Gunnar out there for the first time out there, what are your impressions of him? Quarterback depth is probably one of the top concerns on this team.
RYAN DAY: I was impressed. I was impressed. I thought it's hard to know until you're really out there as a quarterback, until you play. It was just in helmets today. In a short period of time, I think he kind of picked up the offense pretty quick. I think he can diagnose and see the field, kind of has a good feel for it. That was a positive.
I thought he kind of moved the ball around pretty good today, made good decisions. Once he gets more reps under his belt, I think he'll get more and more comfortable, play with more confidence.
Q. Do you have a plan for how you want this to go in terms of naming a starting quarterback, how many practices? Is there an idea in your head of how you want this to happen?
RYAN DAY: No, no, because you just don't know what's going to happen. Once you practice, anything could come up. A guy could step off the curb tomorrow. You don't know. You have to get as many guys ready to roll as you can.
We want to get three quarterbacks ready to be able to play in a game because you just don't know what's going to happen. Crazy things happen. You like to think everyone is going to stay healthy. The reality of it is, you look at the numbers around the country, that doesn't happen.
So you have to get people ready. As it goes, guys start to step up, declare themselves in certain positions, then we'll go from there.
Typically the first couple weeks are competing, learning the offense, maximize yourself. The chemistry starts to build as you get into the third week.
Q. What is your philosophy on captains? How many are you looking for? When will that happen?
RYAN DAY: We usually do that in pre-season. We get through the first week, then kind of let the players vote on it. That's what we did last year.
Based on how the voting comes out, we'll try to decide. Sometimes when it's really good leadership, you can find yourself with maybe four or five captains, sometimes maybe one or two. So we'll kind of do the same thing this year. We'll let the team vote, see how the votes come in.
You like to have a couple on offense, a couple on defense. Ideally you'd like to have a couple guys up front, a couple guys back end with the skill guys. That's the ideal situation.
We'll see how the vote comes through and we'll decide from there.
Q. Do you have the deciding vote?
RYAN DAY: The coaches in the end. I think once we get the numbers, we get together and we figure out here is what makes sense. The guys who get a lot of votes, they're the ones that will go in. If there's a gap in there, we decide how many we want to go in from there. Mickey is very much involved in that as well.
Q. You've talked a lot basically throughout the spring and summer about how much you all have challenged J.K. What do you think of the way he's responded to the challenges presented?
RYAN DAY: Seems to me like he's very serious right now. I believe he lost 4% body fat when you look at him, which is significant. That means he really worked hard this summer.
But it's yet to be seen. We'll have to see how he does. I'd like to sit here and tell you I know what it's going to look like. I don't until we start playing games.
We talked about it last night in our offensive meeting, how he has to make three-yard runs, five-yard runs, four-yard runs, six-yard runs. Before you know it, you start leaning on teams, come out the back end and the home runs will hit naturally.
He has to roll with his pads down, he has to run hard. The other guys in the room have to pick up the slack for them, Master Teague, Demario, the two young freshmen. He's not going to be able to do it all himself. It's a long season. We play pretty fast. We're going to have a lot of snaps every year.
So it's about that room. J.K. is the leader of that room.
Q. As much as you talked about how much you're going to have to rely on J.K., how much of that is you don't know what there is behind him yet?
RYAN DAY: It doesn't matter. They don't have a choice. Someone is going to have to step up. We're not going to just put J.K. out there like that. One of those guys has to step up. Who is it going to be? Who gets the reps, the backup reps? It will be dependent on pre-season.
Someone is going to do it. Not like we're just going to put J.K. out there because we don't have any depth there. We recruited well. Those kids are talented, good kids. Somebody will step up.
Q. Is this a pre-season camp beard, playoffs or bust beard? Is it going to stay?
RYAN DAY: I had one going before Big Ten Media Day. I figured I was going to shave it for that. Pre-season camp, I'm going to let it go maybe for a week or so, then I'll get rid of it again, yeah.
Q. As you watched the quarterbacks today, do you feel a lot better about what you see maybe than you did two months ago? What is your sense of the group?
RYAN DAY: Quarterbacks?
RYAN DAY: Hard to tell from day one. I'll probably know better in middle of next week of kind of how much progress we've made. I think they do have a better understanding of the offense. Couldn't be any worse. They just got here. It's a sprint. Certainly Gunnar just got here. Every time he's doing something, it's for the first time.
The good news he has experience playing the game when he was at Kentucky. That part is good. He can draw upon something and say, I've done this, although we don't call it this. It's the same thing with Justin when he was at Georgia last year.
These guys have done some things, not just in this offense. We'll have a better idea next week, I think.
Q. Y'all are No. 5 in the first major pre-season poll. Do you think that's legit for this team? What do you sense about this team?
RYAN DAY: Well, I think there's obviously respect for the program, respect for the talent that's been recruited here, respect for the guys who played last year who are back here, respect for the coaching staff, respect for a lot of things.
But truth be told, we haven't done anything. Like I said, we got to prove it. What really matters is what it is at the end of the year. We got to do it. We got to prove that we're the best team in the country. That's what we're going about the business of doing every day.
Q. Chase Young seems to be asserting himself leadership-wise. What have you seen in the last two years change in him?
RYAN DAY: He's a very likeable young man. The guys like him. He has a happy-go-lucky personality. I see more seriousness now. I think he knows this is his time to step up and be a leader. Time goes fast. Talked to the freshmen about that the other day. Seniors always say, Man, this went fast. I'm just telling you, it's going to go fast. I think he understands that. This is a huge year for him.
Every team that comes together, you only get one year as that team together, then things change. People go on to the NFL, people graduate, coaches leave, whatever. This is our one chance in this year to go be special. I think he realizes that. He's going to take advantage of it this year.
Q. Were you a captain in college?
RYAN DAY: I was.
Q. What did that mean to you?
RYAN DAY: Being a captain is just the respect of your peers you go with every day. It's one of those things you remember because what you think you are is one thing, but when your peers vote you to be captain, there's a certain respect. It means a lot.
Q. You talked at Big Ten Media Days about the idea you're going to have a green quarterback, especially for the first six weeks. How does that realization sort of show up now? Is there something in how you practice, anything you said to the guys?
RYAN DAY: I think everybody understands it. I think people have to pick up the slack around him. Whether it's guys on defense, special teams, run game, whatever it is, I think they all understand what that means.
Our plan to win has not changed. The plan to win is play great defense. We have to play great defense. Playing great defense for the offense is understanding field position.
The second thing is no turnovers, understanding that we can't put the ball, give the ball to the defense. We can't turn the ball over. It's scoring touchdowns in the red zone, then special teams. If we can hang onto those things right there as we allow the quarterback position room to grow, then we'll be okay. If we start to struggle in any of those areas, that's where we're going to run into issues.
Play great defense, can't turn the ball over and create turnovers. We have to score touchdowns when we are in the red zone, do a great job down there, then we also got to play really good in special teams.
Q. All the work that guys put in in the off-season, the champions dinner, gold, red, blue, Iron Buckeyes, all the stuff you reward them, when you get into pre-season practice, how much does that stuff carry over? Do guys earn spots at the beginning of camp based on you kicked butt in the off-season? In your football evaluations, how much do you consider all the work they put in in the off-season?
RYAN DAY: Yeah, I mean, naturally what ends up happening is the guys who are gold guys, they find ways to be leaders, they find ways on the field, find ways to make an impact.
But then also it goes to show you that we take care of those guys in certain areas. For instance, when we go to the hotel next week, the guys who are gold guys, they'll actually have their keys. If they need to do something, they can go to the drugstore if they need something, whatever it is, we allow them to do those type of things. We treat the gold a little different because they're doing everything the right way. So that carries over to the season as well. It's almost like an everyday thing, if you're blue, red or gold, you get treated a little bit differently. That's why guys fight to get themselves into that gold position.
Q. You get treated a little bit differently in the battle for playing time?
RYAN DAY: Well, I think from academics to off-the-field to Coach Mick, the position coaches, when you're a gold guy, I mean, you're going to be frontline. You have to go win. It's not going to guarantee anything. It's like we say all the time, when you run a race, everybody runs a race, but somebody wins the race. You got to win the race, win a position, win the game.
Yeah, sure, those guys are treated like gold around here. At the same time you still have to play the game. You still have to win the position.
Q. In Chicago you said ideally one of the quarterbacks will kind of separate, you'd have a starter then. Are you and Mike kind of approaching this as a two- or three-week competition?
RYAN DAY: Yeah, I think so. After the first week, we'll kind of come up for air, after the first scrimmage, say where are we. Is there that much of a gap right now. After the second week, there will be another scrimmage. At that point we'll kind of get an idea where the gap is.
If it's not a big gap, then we'll just keep it going. The minute it separates, then that's when you go ahead and name it.
Naming a starter right now, naming a starter in a week, doesn't give you anything really. We want to make sure that guys are competing, we're getting everybody developed so we have three quarterbacks ready to roll if we have to play all three.
Q. We were given a tour of the new stuff in the facility. In this modern era of recruiting, how important is it to kind of have among the best?
RYAN DAY: Unbelievable. The new addition is huge for us. It's really catapulting us in recruiting, which is really important. We say we give and create an environment which is one of the best in the country in terms of taking care of a student-athlete on the field, off the field, like everything here, emotionally and socially.
With something like that, it's huge. Guys come in here, they can spend all day, play arcades, shoot baskets, play on the golf simulator, they can recover on the cryo. We want them to feel like this is their home.
Q. About the gold, the red, the blue, the program has been put in place with Coach Meyer for seven years, and yourself. He made it sound like blue was just your one step from being out the door. Do you have many people after this program has been established that are in the blue category?
RYAN DAY: We actually put the freshmen and the young guys, anybody who is new to the program, is still in blue, too. It's actually a bigger number than you think. If you've been in the program for two or three years, you're still in the blue, that is bad. You should not be in blue if you're in year two or three. Something has gone wrong.
Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN DAY: We don't. Most of those guys have moved into the red, a bunch have moved into gold.
Q. Are there any underclassmen who may potentially be in the gold that you want to point out?
RYAN DAY: No, nobody offhand. There's a lot of young guys who are talented. They just have to prove themselves. It's like anything else, they're here, they have to prove themselves on the field and off.
Q. You keep talking about the fact that the other positions around the quarterback have to step up. There's a learning process. Is there a week where that learning process needs to be picked up a little bit more?
RYAN DAY: No, no. It's every day. It's every day we got to go. It's not going to be done week one, week two, week three. You think about last year where Dwayne was. He threw some interceptions early in the season. That really didn't matter because we were in some lopsided games. He made a couple decisions that weren't great and he learned from it.
He learned from games the year before when we were playing Illinois. Just spits the ball up, they return it for a touchdown. J.T. had to come back on the field. Those are all lessons that need to be learned. In his situation it kind of worked out great the way it all happened.
There are learning lessons. The only way to learn is to fail. Only way to learn. If you are riding a bike, you don't just get on a bike and start riding a bike. You fall a few times, you figure it out, then you learn to ride a bike. That's going to kind of be the situation here, too.
Q. Obviously intrigue with the quarterbacks. When you're watching a practice, how do you balance watching certain position groups? Where were your eyes today the most?
RYAN DAY: You look at it from across the board. My eyes just naturally go to the quarterback, just because it's a new position, to kind of figure out and see what they're thinking before it happens. Sometimes it's more about the process than it is the result.
Guys can get away with a bad read, throw it in there, think they're okay, but they're not. They have to make sure their process is right. Because it's a new group, Mike and I are on top of that every snap. Also looking at it from the wider view. Especially today without pads, we're not getting them on the ground and getting hurt.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports