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August 31, 2019

Ryan Day

Columbus, Ohio

Ohio State - 45, Florida Atlantic - 21

COACH DAY: First off, I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who showed up to the game today. I think it was over 103,000 people showing up, awesome for a noon kick. Unbelievable, the skull session today. They were rocking. We felt it early on. And everybody stayed late.

So it was really humbling to just go out of that tunnel with our guys with a packed house. That means so much to our players with an early kickoff, having a packed house, coming out and feeling them early on. And I think that helped to our great start.

I thought we came out to a great start early on. We were clicking on both sides of the ball. Hit a bit of a lull there. But overall a great start. We wanted to play clean. Watched a lot of football the last week. And there's been a lot of teams out there who haven't played as clean as they like.

A couple things here and there we have to fix, but I thought tackling was good. The ball security, other than one play, the fumble by J.K. we gotta fix. The bubble screen, it was kind of a freak play, we'll get that fixed fast. But other than that and a couple of penalties I thought it was pretty clean and a good start.

And on defense, again, I thought we ran to the ball early on. And then our second team came in a little bit and let them come down the field and we can't let that happen. We've got to play with depth this season.

So a lot to learn from. First step. But we're 1-0. Good start. But first step in a long journey.

Q. First of all, what was it like your first official game as head coach? And then also can you, what do you attribute the lull to after the fast start?
COACH DAY: I don't know -- first off, the experience was unbelievable. It was awesome, especially with the start we came out with. It was great and a memorable experience.

Looking at it here, I think at one point it was 28-3, and I think we were still in the first quarter. It was 28-0 and there was 6:50 to go in the first quarter. I don't know if I've ever been part of a game like that. It was kind of strange that we came out to such a quick lead and maybe we took a deep breath there, I'm not sure.

But we can't let that happen. We've got to keep the pedal to the metal and keep going. And then I thought, in the second half, on offense we kind of leaned on them a little bit. Kind of pounded them. Justin made some good reads throwing the ball.

But when you're coming out of preseason, one of the things is you spend so much time going against your defense. Whether it's bowl practice, spring ball, preseason, you're going at the same looks over and over again. And in first games you're getting something that's different. So it's new and I think that's why you see a lot of teams play sloppy in that first game. But I thought we adjusted as the game went on and, again, it's a start.

Q. (Off microphone?
COACH DAY: I thought he performed well playing with great energy, making good decisions, but more importantly managing the game, taking care of the ball. That's the biggest thing. So the big plays will come.

I didn't think they were coming that fast; they were coming fast and furious early on. But a lot of times today the defense we were seeing was very different than what we see in practice. It was a three-down front and they were dropping eight some. And so the windows weren't as clean. And he had to scramble sometimes, had to keep us on schedule.

Maybe if the window wasn't there, he kind of scrambled and got us to second-and-six and kept the drives alive. Overall I thought that was well done. There's still some things in there that protection-wise we've got to clean up. Got a long way to go. But for a first start it was well done.

Q. We talked so much about the defense in the offseason just in terms of guys getting the ball and staying connected. Did they do what you were looking for there?
COACH DAY: What I was looking for was guys running to the ball and hitting. I felt that. I was watching Pete Werner and Malik Harrison and Jeff Okudah come into the ball and you could feel the violence on the field. That's what we want. We want that toughness.

And I felt that. I felt those guys flying around. And it was, to me it was intimidating. It was downhill, it was what we want.

I didn't feel that at the end of the game with the second group in there. We've got to get that going. But a lot to learn from and get on film.

Q. Can you talk about the (indiscernible) good and bad. (Indiscernible)?
COACH DAY: It's a start. We got a really good team coming in here next week who is well-coached, and you guys know Luke and those guys are going to be prepared. We've got our hands full.

But the good news is we've got a lot to learn from this game. And we've got a lot of first-time starters in there, a lot of young guys we can build from.

But there's a lot of confidence to build off. Guys made plays in this game. Anytime you score 45 points or you hold the team to negative rushing yards, I'm not sure how long that was, Jerry, but it was maybe the end of the third quarter, it was negative rushing yards into the third quarter. That's something to be proud of.

Anyways, again, a lot to build from but a lot to learn from for the young guys as well.

Q. There seemed to be a good amount of, I guess, for lack of a better term, like, pro-style stuff in your offense today -- like the stretch play, the offset-I touchdown kind of thing. Ideally, how much of that will be part of your offense? How much of it is driven by the matchup in what you see? And what do you feel you got out of it?
COACH DAY: I think when you look at college football today, I think it's important to have a balance. I think it's important to be able to line up under center, run the football, play-action pass and do some things, and also run the spread and run with tempo.

And I think when you can mix those two things and you're good at both those things it's not easy to do. But I think our quarterbacks can do that and Justin can do that.

We're lucky enough to have some tight ends with some experience. And we can put those guys in there and do some things with them as well. I think it brings a different level of preparation for the defense and it's something we really haven't done a bunch of here. So I think it's an edge for us.

Q. Urban used to talk about that moment when he would take it all in. You referenced that. Was there a moment for you that you paused to enjoy it?
COACH DAY: Yeah, in the tunnel. In the tunnel. I gave a little dap to Quinn on the way out and looked up at the stands and looked up at the full house running out of the tunnel and the smoke comes out and that's my time to enjoy it. And it's unbelievable, the hair stands up on your arms and the back of your neck. And you feel fortunate to be in that situation. That's my time. I'll try to make sure we do that every game.

Q. There was a time where you guys were up 28-0 six minutes in the game and people are joking Justin Fields coming out in the first quarter, ends up playing until the fourth. Do you come into a game like this with an idea or a plan, what you're going to do with him? And can you take me through the thought process when you're scoring as quickly as you are with what to do with them?
COACH DAY: I hope our players didn't think what you just said. That worries me a little bit, that we score that fast, that many points -- does our team think that's happening? That can't happen. We're going to play. And those guys have to play until we pull them back.

And so we're going to address that this week. It's a great start. But we've gotta keep going. We've got to keep pushing. And then we'll make the decision when we take guys out.

So we don't want guys to think about that. Obviously we've got to be smart in what we do. The situation didn't come up today. Justin's a guy who hasn't played a lot. The more snaps he can play -- I think we played 74 snaps; he needs them all. I wish it was 174 snaps, but at the same time we've got to be smart and take care of him.

Q. 1-0 (indiscernible)?
COACH DAY: Right after we sang with the student section, walking off the field and getting in there with the team and we celebrate all the warriors. And we are going to enjoy this. It's hard to be 1-0. Doesn't matter how you shake it. When you're in college football, there's a lot of good coaches, a lot of good programs. And proud to be 1-0, but we know what we've got ahead of us.

We know this journey -- we looked at it with the first six weeks, we got a bye week, those two games, a bye week and then four games. The goal is to be 1-0. If we can just be 1-0 on Saturday night -- I know it's cliché, but it's real. But we are going to sleep on this tonight. But we know in the back of our minds that we have a really good team coming in here, a hungry and well-coached team. And we have to play real good to beat them.

Q. The first four possessions how many (indiscernible)?
COACH DAY: Great. I think that we came out with a good plan. What we do is we don't really do so much scripting; we do more openers, things that we like early on in the game.

And then we have to adjust from there and figure out what they're doing. And so the call sheet was pretty big this week because we weren't exactly sure what we were going to get, new defensive coordinator there at FAU, and new other people on the staff. You have to look to see what those guys and backgrounds are, and a lot of different looks can come into play.

I thought the ability for us to get in the two tight ends was good for us. And we got into the second half, we leaned on them a little bit, I thought we did a good job there. But overall I thought the game plan was good and I thought the guys handled some different looks early on really well.

Q. J.K. Dobbins got the ball 21 times today. Just immediate evaluation on how he ran the ball today.
COACH DAY: I thought he ran it good. I'm going to watch the film and see. The ball on the ground is unacceptable. We can't have that. I thought he ran hard, though, at times, harder than I've seen him run in the past.

So we'll look at the film and figure out where we can get those things in the second level a little bit faster for him.

There were a couple things in the zone game where we didn't fit it quite right up front. A couple guys coming free on that. We've got to get that fixed. But overall I thought he played hard and I thought he ran with his pads down, and that's the first of things to come moving forward.

Q. You like to say you don't improve if you don't fail. Did Justin Fields fail enough today for you? Was there enough there you can work on this week?
COACH DAY: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Q. Anything specific?
COACH DAY: Yeah, protections. Protections, reads, decisions. Lots to build from off of today. I thought overall, though, game management was decent. There was one time where he scrambled out and took a sack, could have just thrown it away. It would have been second and 10. I think it was second and 14. A lot of little things going on there.

But again, overall pretty solid. But a ton to learn from. And especially when you look at the film, you're sitting there with 74 plays you've got to be able to teach off those 74 plays.

And when you're not live it's hard to get a feel for the decisions that are being made and whether to hang on to a ball, throw it, those types of things. So overall a lot to learn from.

Q. How did the process work with the play calling? Were you happy with it the way, the minutia?
COACH DAY: I thought it was good. I thought we had great conversation in between series, between Kevin, Mike and I going over and talking to the guys on defense, when we're on defense make sure I was in tune with what's going on there on special teams and flip over and get the thoughts from those guys. I thought it was good, but it's a start.

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