September 1, 2018

Ohio State Football Postgame Press Conference: Oregon State

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OSU acting head coach Ryan Day addresses the media following the Buckeyes season opening win over the Beavers (archived live press conference stream - Coach Day begins at 17:45).

COACH DAY: Really proud of the way the guys came out today. We talked about starting fast in this game. We talked about how we wanted to start fast, play fast. I thought we did that in the first half.

The guys on defense I thought were running around, playing with speed. And then going into halftime there we’re in there for a while. That was a long break for us. And it was just one of those same things that we talked to our team about. It was another E, which is an event that we couldn’t control.

And so we wanted to have an outcome of winning the game and playing strong in the second half, and making the strength staff the best in the country. They did a great job of hydrating the guys and making sure they got off their feet. And then we had a good plan, coming out in the second half. And I thought we played well in the second half as well.

Q. Could you assess the play of Dwayne Haskins, Jr.? After then can you assess Mike Weber’s? You talked about Mike Weber’s great camp. It seemed to carry over.
COACH DAY: Really proud of the way Mike has practiced. We’ve been talking about that for a while now. He’s at a really good preseason. He’s practiced hard, been taking care of the football. And so that was really good to see him play well today.

We brought three guys up in the locker room. He was one of them. Malcolm Pridgeon was another one. And Terry McLaurin was the third. And those three guys have arguably been three of the best practice players we had. And they had really big days for us today. So that was great.

I thought Dwayne started well, played well, had the one play there that obviously you’d like to have back. But overall a good start to them.

Q. Can you just talk about your emotions of the day and what it was like without having Urban here?
COACH DAY: It was a lot going on for me. First time going through everything, whether it was in the meetings or going to the skull session, the walk, pregame, going out in the field.

So there was a lot of first times. And so did the best I could. Got a lot of help from a lot of people. Obviously Greg and Kevin and the guys on the staff. But also Quinn and Brian and all the guys that helped me. And obviously Mick on a daily basis.

Got a lot of support there. And obviously the players, the way they played today and the way they’ve been playing all camp gives you a lot of confidence as you’re in front of the group.

Q. 77 points out of your offense. Just overall what did you see out of those guys? And I’m sure you saw room for improvement, but 77 points. And on the other side of the ball, the defense did give up some big plays.
COACH DAY: Well, I thought that we played with tempo today. And we were aggressive. I thought we stretched the field horizontally and we stretched it vertically, which is the goal. But I thought the tempo was really good.

We have a lot of depth at receiver. So we’re able to play multiple receivers and stay fresh, which I think you could see. Our offensive line is in tremendous shape.

But we were playing at a pretty fast clip. I’ve got to go back and look to see how fast we were playing, but we were really playing fast in that first half which was the plan going in.

But then we were playing efficiently, too. So that was good. But a lot to learn from. It’s something to build on for sure.

Greg and the guys obviously had these guys ready to roll. Obviously the sacks early on and creating a lot of disruption.

The turnover is a huge play. Anytime you can create a turnover, that flips it. Where you go from possibly getting the ball back to 7 points for us.

I think it went from 35 to 42, if I remember correctly. Then all of a sudden the game changes, the whole outcome of the game changes. So that was really big for us.

Q. You had about a near 50/50 split on snaps for J.K. and Mike. How much of that is the plan that you’re hoping to have every week even though on a day like today, for example, Mike might be better but then next week J.K. could also be the one who has the big day. Is that 50/50 what you’re aiming for?
COACH DAY: Yeah, but it kind of depends on the game. When we’re playing this fast, those guys, shoot, after they go about five plays, they need a sub anyways.

It’s not like we could leave them in even if we wanted to. We try to roll them, keep them fresh, and how the game plays and how the chips fall, they do.

But both guys are talented. And some days one guy is going to be hot. Sometimes it’s the luck of the draw based on the way that the guys block up front.

Q. (Question off microphone)?
COACH DAY: More of just what we’re seeing on defense. That was just a schematic play we came up with during the week that we thought gave us an advantage to get the ball into the perimeter.

Q. I think you had a handful of third and short and never ran the quarterback, which in the past few years that would have been the case. In fact, I think you only had one run and it was a scramble. Consciously, did you go into that: Let’s not run him as much on short yardage, let’s throw, change things up from what we’ve seen in the past?
COACH DAY: Dwayne can run. And there’s going to be times when he’s going to need to run. But sometimes just kind of based on what we’re seeing in terms of what the defense has given us. He’s still a threat with his legs. He’s obviously a gifted passer and he does that really, really well.

But there’s different ways that we can spread the field where he might possibly be reading the linebacker on one play, or there’s times when he’s reading a defensive lineman, he’ll have to run. So sometimes it’s based on what the defense is giving us.

Q. This might sound silly before the game looked like you had some whistle problems. Were you nervous at all to go out the first time? Did you sense any nerves with Dwayne either?
COACH DAY: No. No. I didn’t, actually. The whistle, I don’t know, they gave me a whistle, it didn’t work. I had to send it back. They gave me a fresh one.

No, not nervous because there was a quiet confidence about this team all along. There’s a quiet confidence about a lot of guys on our team.

When you’re surrounded with players and coaches that have your back and that you know you’ve been through some stuff with, you kind of feel good about it. And probably my two — I had three things I really, really enjoyed. First one was bed check last night. Going around and being with each of the guys in their room, that was a really cool experience for me.

The skull session and the support that we all felt going into the skull session was really awesome. And then the last one was coming out in the second half and seeing all the fans come back after a long delay. Coming out before the game and seeing the support and going through the line, and just the support that I felt and this team felt walking from the skull session to the stadium was really, really cool. And you could feel it and it was emotional.

Q. What kind of reaction do you think you’ll get from Urban on the outcome and how the game went?
COACH DAY: Well, when Coach gets back, we’re looking forward to getting him back and looking forward to those meetings and kind of building as we go to Rutgers. But it will be business as usual for us. We’ll look at the film, make corrections, go from there.

Q. How about Tate’s ability, he runs 10 yards and pitches. Was he playing under control or is that the way you want him to play?
COACH DAY: From my angle I thought he fumbled the ball. So my heart jumped out of my throat. He was actually being Tate, which is he’s a playmaker.

He can do some great things like that. Quick. Short area quickness is excellent. In that opportunity he has an option to run it, give it, or actually pitch the ball late or throw it.

That’s what he did there. He’s a playmaker. And so as the season goes on he’ll have more and more opportunities to show that.

Q. The last month has been difficult for, I’m sure, you and the players on the team and difficult for the fans who just want to talk about football and think about football.
Do you feel as if Dwayne Haskins is the perfect face for a fan base that just needs something to look forward to, and is he, based on what you’ve seen, capable of kind of just becoming the new face of this program?

COACH DAY: I don’t know about that. I think this is a first start for Dwayne. It was a good start. We’ll be building on it as we go. I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. It’s one game, and we have a long way to go.

Q. You see what he was able to do with his arm. How was he in the locker room during your guys’ long delay? How do you think he handled just his first real day on the job being this team —
COACH DAY: I thought he handled it well. I thought all the guys had a calmness about them, again. In that locker room, Mick had them in there, take off your shoulder pads, relax; it’s going to be a while, don’t panic.

When it was time to flip the switch, I think we went out, 2:58 was the time, then the music went on everybody got jacked up and we were rolling. We went through a routine and ready to go the second half. I thought everybody handled it really well.

Q. You said earlier this week that it was Dwayne’s first start; he’s going to make some mistakes. With that in mind, did today go about as well as you could have expected for him?
COACH DAY: Yeah. I mean, we laughed about it afterwards. He knows I’m going to be all over him for that third down throw down in the red zone. But, yeah, I thought it was a good start.

We’ll look at the film, see what happens. Sometimes you have a vision what it was like on the field. Then you look at it, go from there. But I thought it was a good start for him.

Q. I know you and Kevin both have a background in tempo offense. Did this seem much faster and more consistent tempo than maybe we’ve seen; is that game-specific, or is that something you’re hoping to change on the whole of the season?
COACH DAY: We have the ability — second half we actually played pretty slow. I don’t know if you saw that. At the end we were trying to eat up the clock. We were spending a lot of time eating that clock. We like to be in control of when we go fast and when we don’t.

Obviously Kevin has a big hand in all of this. And his tempo and my tempo background, we’ve combined, and obviously with the help of the whole offensive staff. There’s certain times where we think it gives us an advantage. Sometimes maybe it doesn’t.

So based on what’s happening in the game, we can make an in-game adjustment. Like I think it was, like, maybe midway through the third we decided, all right, we need to slow this thing down, snap it like 10 and try and eat up the clock. Do you want to shorten the game or elongate the game? And so I think you saw that today, how we can change that.

Q. First of all, what, if anything, did you prove to yourself today?
COACH DAY: Again, I don’t think I proved anything to myself. It was just one of those things where you gotta jump into the pool with two feet, just do it.

And it was like standing in the tunnel and looking up at Ohio State and the Horseshoe, about to run out with the team and I looked over at Quinn, and I’m like: We really doing this? He said yeah. And I had a smile on my face and ran out.

But, again, when you have those guys behind you and this coaching staff behind you, that’s what it is. And, again, I’ve said this before. My job is not to replace Coach Meyer. My job is to just keep this place until he gets back and never wanted to replace him, just want to keep this thing going in the right direction.

Q. Secondly, other than the win, what was the best thing about today and what was the worst thing about today?
COACH DAY: I thought the best thing, again, was overcoming adversity again. We had to come in and deal with this delay. That’s hard when you’re getting to the rhythm of the game and all of a sudden you have to stop. You don’t do that in football where you just take a deep breath. You’re always on edge. Then we had to ramp it back up again. I thought that was the best part of the day.

The worst part of the day, probably just again the fact that we were nervous at halftime about it was 42-14 going into the second half.

You know, how can we put ourselves in a situation where we’re not going to win this game? Well, maybe it would be a delay, something like that. We were a little nervous going into the second half. So that was a little concerning at the time. But overall it was a good day.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.