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OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 9, 2019
Ohio State - 73, Maryland - 14
COACH DAY: We don't take it for granted seeing another full house here on a beautiful November day, and Buckeye Nation came out they were loud and proud. It was great.
And also Military Appreciation Day, means a lot to our team and the things that we do. And, again, we don't take any of that for grand. We have great respect for everybody who serves.
Overall I want to thank, on behalf of the whole team, Buckeye Nation and the military for a great day.
Thought we came out and played well early and then really finished the game off well. But this was a game where we felt like -- we went through a little adversity this week. Adversity reveals character and our character was at the forefront of this game. I thought we came out and showed that we are made of something special here.
Q. As far as the adversity, when you look at your defense, I think they had seven sacks. Just what was the mood of the defense when they found out and I guess the overall, what the team found out they were losing?
COACH DAY: (Indiscernible), and they all wanted to show they're a team, this is a defense, and this is a defensive line unit, more than just one person. And I think they had their chests out and were proud of the way they played today, and they should have.
They played with an edge and something to prove. And any time our guys come out with something to prove, we're dangerous. So overall I thought we all had that approach, but especially the D line.
Q. Looked like you really wanted to kind of make a statement today -- the onside kick early, up 14-0, and the end of the half you called a timeout. Was there a real mentality, okay, we're going to kind of put our foot down today?
COACH DAY: Well, we always want to be aggressive. And that's just the way that we want to be around here. We did that at the end of the Northwestern game as well. But that's just our approach every week.
But you know, I think when this team faces a little bit of adversity, we have an edge and want to come after you and be aggressive and I think that's the approach.
And I think the guys really embraced that this week, and we talked to them early. If the timing is right on the third kickoff and we have the opportunity we'll take that. And I think the guys feed off of that aggressiveness, and it was great.
And at the end of the half say, we said, listen, if we get them three-out, we'll go after them as hard as we could. And Sevyn Banks missed it, I think, by this much. We'll have to look at it on film. I think the guys like that. They feed off the aggressiveness and confidence, and they kind of build on it as the game goes on.
Q. Do you have confidence that you're going to get Chase Young back?
COACH DAY: Yeah, again, this is not for me to say right now on any of that stuff.
Q. Davon Hamilton, in particular, seems to be playing with an edge again. What -- could you notice from your vantage point of the push he was getting? Obviously two sacks sums it up, too. But what he brought to the game today.
COACH DAY: I think Davon really has had such an impact on this whole season but also the game, because he's an inside presence. And when he can push the pocket, it makes all the difference in the world. And then when he does what he did today, which is just defeat a blocker and get a sack, it changes the mentality of the quarterback.
And I know, coaching quarterbacks. When you have a guy in your face, in your lap, especially early in the game, you don't want to stand in there anymore. You're not looking at the coverage. You're looking at the rush.
And I think Larry's done a great job with Davon, his development over his career here. But he's one of the most improved guys on our team and was in the offseason. And now he's playing like that. It's great to see a guy who has developed and having great success.
Q. We asked you a lot this year about first experiences, this being your first year as a head coach. You lose the best player in college football -- I know you can't talk specifically about it, but how do you approach it with your team? What experiences can you draw on to make sure it doesn't have an impact on your guys?
COACH DAY: Not necessarily this team but a lot of guys on this team have been through adversity with our coaching staff, with me as the head coach. And so this isn't anything new.
Our guys didn't flinch. And there's a part of there's a bunch of guys on our team, okay, got some adversity, let's go, let's pull this thing together. Let's show everybody how tight this team is and what we're made of and show our character. And I thought that came through today during the game.
Q. When did you decide that Rashod could play both ways?
COACH DAY: We've been looking -- Rashod came in as a linemen. And he's been doing a good things, and came to us a couple weeks ago, and based on the situation we said, let's put him over there.
And last Wednesday he went over and did a good job. He flashed a couple times. He's very talented, and moving forward we're going to try to maybe use him in different spots.
Q. Garrett Wilson was your leading receiver today. Seems like he just makes plays that are just physically inherent in him. I'm wondering, you saw during National Championship run last year where freshmen on Clemson's team were stepping in -- are you getting a sense that this is a kid that can be a difference maker for you in bigger games that are coming down the line?
COACH DAY: Garrett's still real young, but certainly his talent is off the charts. And so I don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves with Garrett. But we think he obviously has a tremendous ceiling and he's growing every week. He's understanding how to practice. He's understanding how to play within the offense.
But I feel like his maturity level -- and it's kind of like Chris Olave came on late in the season last year as a freshman. He's kind of into that swing right now where he's got some games under his belt. And the more games we can get like this with the balls in his hands and have an opportunity to make some catches downfield -- the one post got called back because of holding, but he made some plays there.
I think the biggest thing for him is how well do you practice, how well do you take care of the ball, what kind of discipline do you have during the week, because if he does that then he could be as good as he wants to be.
Q. When is it okay to get carried away with him?
COACH DAY: Not right now, that's all I know.
Q. Can Blake put the ball where he put it on that onside kick pretty regularly? Can you just take us through the idea of what --
COACH DAY: There was something that we saw on film, Matt Barnes saw, and we thought that we had a real shot at it. And the guys practiced it during the week. It wasn't one of those things that was a home run every time we did it.
But you talk about competitive excellence, that couldn't have been executed any better. That was as clean as it could be. It was cool to feel the excitement in the stadium about that kick; it was, like, wow.
It was executed well and there was just a feeling in the stadium, you could feel it was executed. And then from then on I just felt like the game kind of went like this. So anytime you can seal a possession in any game it's a game-changer. Whether it's a blocked punt or something like that, you still hold possession from somebody, it flips the scoreboard. We saw it, executed it and I thought it was well done all across the board.
Q. Did Chase's status, did that have any effect on the practice or preparations or anything?
COACH DAY: No, not at all.
Q. How did Zach Harrison do?
COACH DAY: I thought he did a good job. Unfortunately he gets the sack and they called the unsportsmanlike because he flexed over the quarterback. That was a learning lesson for Zach and we have to look at some of those penalties because the amount of penalties today was embarrassing. So we've got to get that fixed.
But a few of them are learning opportunities. That was one for Zach. We brought him over and the referee explained to him why he called that. He didn't even realize he did it; he was so excited about getting the sack.
So that's a young guy. Has to learn to play with emotion, don't let emotion play with him because we could have been out of that drive. We had, like, three penalties in a row, they score on us, and in a big game that could cost us. So, learning opportunities.
But overall I thought, from where I sat, Zach played pretty well, but we'll look at the film and grade him out and see if he was a champion.
Q. What was your initial thought and reaction when you first heard the news about Chase, and how did you initially address get the news out to the team?
COACH DAY: We were all just obviously surprised by it all and just tried to communicate to the team the best we could when it was appropriate. And then set up a plan for the week. And we're just going to take it day by day.
Q. You have to deal with the realities, but the last time you guys played, the whole country was talking about whether Chase Young is a Heisman candidate. You guys are number one in the country, and then this kind of thing just happens. What are your general thoughts -- it does happen in college football sometimes, but what is that reality like?
COACH DAY: I don't think we overthink it. Chase is dealing with a situation that we're all supporting him with, and once we get some clarity on what's going on, we'll go from there. But until then, we focus on the team the best we can.
And one thing about football that's different than almost any sport, a guy can roll an ankle or hurt himself or get a concussion at any point and another guy has to step up. It's not like you don't have the mentality of the next guy up in football. You do.
And so that's what we're going to do. And we're supporting him, and he's supporting us. And we're going to get through it together and he knows we have his back. And that's important.
Q. You had your starters out to start the second half. In the past maybe they would have played a few series into the second half. What was the decision process into that and why they didn't play at all in the second half?
COACH DAY: We haven't played a whole bunch of football, when you really think about it, this year. And we had a long talk about it. But it's November. We still have a lot of football ahead of us. We thought that was the best move.
Q. On TV they were talking about the timeouts, the onside kick, and there was an implication that this might have been personal for you, the inference being that Maryland was somehow involved in the Chase -- bringing that to light?
COACH DAY: No, nothing like that at all. No. Nothing like that at all. Nope. That wasn't anything, other than just we're always going to be aggressive in the first half.
I feel like when you're playing the first half of any game, anything could happen in the second half. So you do the best you can to be aggressive. And then if it gets out of hand in the second half, then you're smart about tempo.
You're smart about maybe taking shots, especially in the fourth quarter, and you want to run the ball and show respect.
I thought we did that. I thought we ran the ball and kind of played slow in the second half. By no means would I ever try to run up the score at all. It's just we're letting our guys play. No, that would be completely out of line.
Q. Your feel on Justin Fields's. Last year you guys had -- you weren't throwing down the field quite as much as you are this year. Are you happy with his downfield, where he's progressing?
COACH DAY: I would challenge the pass game this week. And I thought that we came out aggressive. What did we, we threw it 25 times in the first half? That's pretty aggressive for us. That would be on pace for 50 in a game. That was good.
We challenged the protection. We challenged the routes. We challenged everybody involved with it, the decision-making.
And I thought, if you look at the first half, he was 16-for-25 for 200 and three touchdowns. Is that accurate? I think that's right. That's a pretty good half.
So if you double that, that would be a game. That's one of the things, I think our guys, what they really are focused on is winning. They don't care about the other things. That's one-half of football.
So sometimes when you look at that compared to some other guys throughout the country, you'd say he only threw it for 200 yards, only played one-half of football. J.K. Dobbins runs for 90 yards, he only played one-half of football.
But that's a good thing, and I know that those guys are proud of the way they played and so --
Q. What do you think it is about this team that's allowed you guys to just come out week in, week out with this same level of energy to be able to get on teams like this even in a week like this where maybe you had some unexpected adversity?
COACH DAY: I think there's great leadership. I think the coaching staff is doing a good job week in, week out of preparing these guys. And we're playing with an edge. And we have to continue to bring it each week and we have to challenge the guys to do that.
And we know what happens if you don't. If you don't bring it every week, you can really get yourself jammed up. So we have to make sure that we're bringing it each week. But, again, I think it goes back to our leadership. And this is a team year -- it was 52, 51 last year in an absolute fighting to the fourth quarter.
And I think our defense was tired of hearing about that for a year. So it was fresh on their minds. And I think we had a lot of respect for this team coming into this game because of that game we played last year. So we started fast and I thought we played well throughout the game.
Q. You alluded to it a little bit, how is Chase doing? What's his state of mind right now?
COACH DAY: He's taking it day to day and he knows that he has the support of his teammates. He's going through a tough time. But adversity reveals character. And I can tell you right now he's a special young man that's handling his business the right way and we're all proud of him.
Q. Did he practice last week?
COACH DAY: He practiced last week and will practice this week.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports