September 8, 2018

Ohio State Football Postgame Press Conference: Rutgers

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OSU acting head coach Ryan Day speaks to the media following the Buckeyes' 900th win in program history over Rutgers.

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Ryan Day | Dwayne Haskins | Tate Martell

Ryan Day

COACH DAY: 900 wins in Ohio State football history is humbling to be part of a tradition like that. To see our student section out there, to all the Buckeye Nation coming out to a game like this in the rain in the fourth quarter, the student section on both sides is going crazy, chanting and they’re staying in there having a blast.

Again, really honored to be representing such a great university and a great football tradition. I thought our guys came out and played hard today on both sides of the ball. Defensively they were smothering their offense so we got in a rhythm early in the game and thought we came out playing fast.

Q. Every week it’s maybe a new home run hitter. It’s good to be an offensive coordinator instead of on the other side of the ball.
COACH DAY: Yeah, I mean, you know, the thing that we talk about all the time is that you just don’t know what’s going to happen. So like, for instance, last week Terry McLaurin has a big game. Then we turn around and now Johnnie Dixon hits two home runs. And J.K. hit for a couple of plays. And we had a long pass that got called back.

And so you don’t know who is going to get the action. But when you’re team players and you don’t care who gets the attention, that’s when you can be a special group.

Q. Ryan, given all that with all the playmakers, you got Parris involved early, got him the ball on the running play. Was that any idea, four touches last week, and got him off to a quick start, was that something you wanted to try to do?
COACH DAY: You know, overall, we wanted to throw the ball a little on first down. We did that. It was more about what they were giving us. And sometimes when you call a play you don’t know where it’s going to go. Sometimes you do. Obviously anytime Parris touches the ball good things happen for us. That’s always an emphasis for us.

But I thought that we did a nice job of throwing the ball early and then kind of running it late.

Q. Dwayne at this point, we talked about this week the way he gets the ball out quick and all that. You guys are going to a crazy environment and a big game next week. Just Dwayne handling everything, whether that’s reading a defense in a play, whether it’s just during the week, how is Dwayne Haskins just sort of handling everything so far?
COACH DAY: Growing every practice, every game. And building as we go. It’s not going to be perfect. We know that. Trying to prepare every week for the game and get everybody off to a good start. But I think his preparation was good this week and he came out and played well.

Q. What just stands out in your mind, when I say Johnnie Dixon? It seems like every other catch is a touchdown, et cetera. And then following that up, were those just reads by Dwayne; if the post is there, hit it, and then back down? Or was it were you targeting Johnnie all the way on those?
COACH DAY: Johnnie is really a special young man. He gets up in front of the team, guys listen. He has the respect of his teammates. Very well thought out when he’s around the team. So much respect for everybody. In terms of his ability, he’s a big play guy. He’s down the field and he can track the ball. On those plays, we were trying to take a shot. There was a young corner there on the field. We thought if we got the right look, we’d take that match up.

Q. Chase Young, did you speak with him after the game about the situation, the two unsportsmanlikes we know he’ll be able to play next week no matter what. But what was your message to him, I guess?
COACH DAY: I didn’t have a chance to speak with him. Obviously anytime we want to play with emotion and not let emotion play with you see. So that will be addressed.

Q. What’s your assessment of the way that Tate played today, long touchdown pass, long, really good run, just his development and just the way that and extended action he played?
COACH DAY: I thought you got a chance to see what Tate can do today, which is great. He’s 10 for 10, throwing the ball. And ran for I think 90-something yards. And he can beat you with his feet and beat you with his arm. And that’s what makes him a special player. And we got him in the rhythm early.

Same thing, couple of quick passes here and there and hits the long shot down the sideline on third down, stepped up, made a great throw. And Terry did a good job there. He’s getting better as well. And so if we can just keep building, then we’re going to have something really good.

Q. I know it’s been a balancing act for you guys getting him development time on the field but also protecting your depth at quarterback. What were your thoughts when you saw him get hit late in the game, stayed down for a little bit, and how do you feel that’s coming along in terms of the evolution of how you guys think about that?
COACH DAY: Never good to see a guy take a shot like that. Really proud of the way he jumped right back. Got the wind knocked out, hard shot there, but shows the competitiveness and toughness that we know he has. That was great.

In terms of the depth, we’re just working on it. We know we’re trying to get Chris and Matt and Corey involved in this thing more and more so we can keep building depth as we move along through the season.

Q. I know Ohio State scored a lot of points for a lot of years, but it just feels like this is a different or more evolved or more explosive one than the last few years. Does it feel that way to you all, when you’re involved with this day to day, that the offense has hit another gear?
COACH DAY: I think we have a great group of guys here. We have a lot of talent on offense. And I think that combined with the tempo has been great. We did play fast at times today but not as fast as against Oregon State and that was a little bit by design. I thought we got into some good plays based on what they were giving us and we took some shots in the pass game and then hit them.

Q. Last week the defense gave up 31 points. I know they were not particularly happy with how they played. Would you assess their play and did you sense a resolve this week with them?
COACH DAY: Yeah, obviously Greg and all the guys on defense have a high standard that they hold themselves to on defense. And they didn’t like to put up that number like that. So this week we called up Nick at the end of the — at our, you know, at our meeting there right at the end we brought the team up, he addressed how this week it was a tough week of practice. And they got after the guys.

You could see it during the game. They were in the backfield, I felt like, every other play, really creating havoc. I thought they played with an edge, which was great moving forward.

Dwayne Haskins

Q. Dwayne, what did you learn today? Second straight outing, second straight big QB rating — four touchdown passes. What went well today and how did you have to hone your game because of the weather?
DWAYNE HASKINS: Because it was raining outside, I had to be really good with ball placement. No turnovers, no fumbles anything like that. Great job by the “O” line today. Really good (indiscernible) and pretty successful.

Q. This seems like must be a pretty fun offense to be running right now. You guys can attack just about any way you want. From your perspective running the show, is that the case? You guys do anything that you might want to do?
DWAYNE HASKINS: It’s a whole lot of fun. I want to run so many series, so many plays that we ran out of time, and up so many points we can’t do what we want. But it’s like every series there’s opportunity to go score, there’s me throwing it, me running it or giving it to somebody else to do something with it. It’s a lot of fun.

Q. (Indiscernible) last week about, if you thought you could have had the performance you did, 313 yards last week, now this week only three incompletions. So I’ll ask you again did you think this performance that you had today that you were capable of?
DWAYNE HASKINS: I think so. Just before the game I was really, like, upbeat tempo, and I felt really good about how it was going to go today. Regardless of the rain, receivers did a great job catching the ball and it’s a testament to how good our offense is.

Q. Dwayne, what’s been the biggest adjustment for you in this role as a starter?
DWAYNE HASKINS: Probably the biggest adjustment is just being prepared every day as the guy and just going into practice, going into meetings. You know, being ready for that game that week. And just like Coach Day has done a great job preparing me for that. That’s probably the biggest adjustment for me.

Q. Kind of switched the focus around. Last week it was Terry McLaurin. This week, Johnnie. All of those guys capable of going deep at any time?
DWAYNE HASKINS: Everybody, the thing I told the receivers that doesn’t matter what game it is or what day of practice it is, anybody can get the ball. And whether it’s Terry one week or anybody else another week, I just want them to run the routes like they’re getting the ball every single time and calling the play.

Q. You’re kind of like room service; you lay it right in there. It’s like room service. You just —
DWAYNE HASKINS: Yeah.

Q. (Inaudible) the man coverage and —
DWAYNE HASKINS: We’ve seen a lot of quarters film, so we were trying to plan up some post routes today. Just being able to, with the weather and seeing Johnnie get open like that, it’s a lot of fun for me. Basically he’s wide open for me from that perspective. Johnnie did a great job today.

Q. You got your first two starts under your belt, a lot of touchdowns, very few mistakes, excuse me. You’ve been a part of this team for a few years now, you’ve seen big time atmospheres been a part of runs deep in November. How excited are you for next weekend to step into a prime time game that the entire country’s going to be watching? And how ready do you feel after the two games that you had for a challenge like that against TCU?
DWAYNE HASKINS: I’m very excited. Team’s very excited. We’re going to use this week as a great preparation for TCU on Saturday, and we’re ready for them.

Q. I think everybody knew your arm and everything coming into this season. Seems like you’re seeing the field really well. Just how comfortable are you looking out there and seeing where your guys are and deciding where to go with the ball?
DWAYNE HASKINS: Yeah. Probably being here for three years now just being able to see guys like Marshon and Malik and Gareon in practice, and then going to the game and seeing the field, this doesn’t feel — it feels like second nature really. Just whether we call a play, me and Coach are on the same page, we want to go with the ball every single time (indiscernible) with coverage and just dialing it up.

Q. Dwayne, speaking of Johnnie, some crazy stat from last year — 23 catches, 10 touchdowns. Have you ever seen a situation like that where a guy that so efficient every time scores a touchdown?
DWAYNE HASKINS: Johnnie is definitely a home run maker every time he touches the football. That’s with everybody; give them a good spot with the ball, they can take it to the house any time. That’s the thing for me is ball placement.

Q. You have a lot of new faces on the offensive line, guys in new spots and they’re getting ready to go against a TCU team known for its defense and has a good defensive coach and a good defensive line. Just what have you seen from the five guys in front of you here through two games, shows you that they’re ready for what they’re going to get next week?
DWAYNE HASKINS: I think they’re doing a great job. Today is a lot of blitzes and trying to pick up protection. So it’s getting ready for TCU, just calling the IDs out and getting the blitzes picked up, be ready for next week.


Tate Martell

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Tate Martell.

Q. Tate, I guess, first of all, how did it feel to be finally out in the stadium and show people what you can do with that long touchdown run and that long ball to Terry?
TATE MARTELL: I’ve been waiting for quite some time now ever since, I think, really the end of my senior year, after redshirting last year, it was just fun getting out there.

Q. What’s your understanding, I guess, of your role right now? Obviously you play when the game is out of hand in in the second half, but they also get you in in the first half with the first teamers. Are you like — is this a package? Are you part of the plan, or are you just getting in when the game’s a little out of hand?
TATE MARTELL: I feel Coach Day is going to put me in the best situation when I go out there. And whenever that is, that’s really up to him. I feel they know how to use me and whatever they do is what they do.

Q. How much do you feel like today shows that you and Dwayne can complement each other with the way you’re able to run the ball in addition to how you both threw the ball?
TATE MARTELL: I just want to go out there and just play. That’s just how I go out there. I’ve improved a ton as a passer. And I want to be able to go out there and show that, and I just went out there and made plays with my legs when I had to. And obviously Dwayne is our starter. That’s how it is. And I’ll be there if something goes wrong. Whatever, whatever goes on with the coaches, whatever they want to do.

Q. Fourth quarter, how did you bounce back from that, able to come up so quickly and score a touchdown?
TATE MARTELL: When I took the shot — I wasn’t really ready for it, obviously. And then I got knocked on my back. And I started getting over, and I started like kind of crawling because I couldn’t breathe, but I knew I wanted to get back up.

As soon as I could breathe, I was like, all right, let me up, I got to go back over there, make plays. So that’s what happened.

Q. Did you think that was a cheap shot?
TATE MARTELL: He saw me going out of bounds. But I just wanted to make sure I got back up, was able to go play.

Q. Can you give us an honest assessment, personal assessment of where you are as a passer in your mind?
TATE MARTELL: I mean, I guess I just gotta go see after watching this game. That was the first time I really got to go out there and throw the ball and throw in rhythm. I know what I’m doing when I’m out there, which is a huge difference than what it was last year, when I was going out, like in practice, I was kind of second-guessing myself, where this year I know exactly what I’m doing. I know protection and stuff like that, and just a whole different ballgame now. I mean for me at least.

Q. Tate, on the long ball, you could have easily run for the first down. Did you kind of give him a glimpse and say I could get it there?
TATE MARTELL: So on that play, I knew — I kind of saw Terry running with him. Then I saw him get a little separation. And that was my only play so I could go — kind of like pressed up a little bit. And he was running past him. But I felt the rush was coming behind, so I had to step up kind of fast and I just knew I was letting it fly.

Q. What did that do for your confidence swag as a Buckeye quarterback?
TATE MARTELL: It was cool going out there with the 1s and getting my first college touchdown. It was really cool.

Q. Tate, how much was that touchdown run, though, a little bit of a feeling of touché for what happened on the sidelines a few plays earlier? Do you ever have those kind of thoughts in your mind?
TATE MARTELL: It wasn’t going through my head when I was running the ball. I was just going out there and playing.

Q. Did you think of touché?
TATE MARTELL: I’m just going out there and playing, to be honest. I’m just happy to be out there finally and going out there and getting back on the field.

Q. What would you rather do, score throwing the ball or running?
TATE MARTELL: Definitely passing the ball.

Q. Which one felt better today?
TATE MARTELL: Passing the ball to Terry.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.