Q. Ryan, I’m sure you have very high expectations for your offense. What about your offense maybe is even more impressive than you anticipated?
COACH RYAN DAY: Probably our depth and just talent overall. You know, you look all across the board, we’re pretty deep. A lot of playmakers. So when you get the ball to those guys in space and you can stretch the ball vertically and horizontally, you can really be explosive. That matched with the tempo and our ability to protect right now is good. Dwayne and Tate, they have a lot of time and can set their feet, so their rhythm has been good.
Q. What about TCU’s defense presents the most problems?
COACH RYAN DAY: Coach Patterson has done a great job. They have all the answers. Any time a defense has been together that long, they have seen so many different things come their way. So they have adjustments. They make quick adjustments. They know exactly how you’re trying to attack them, so very, very talented group, as well. A lot of veteran guys back there.
They have been together such a long time that you are not going to get anything free. You’re going to have to earn everything that you get.
Q. How much input has Coach Meyer had on what to expect?
COACH RYAN DAY: Like I said last week, everything in terms of week-to-week stuff with coach, we have been game planning all together so he’s had a huge amount of input.
Q. How many guys are involved in the playaction game with Dwayne at quarterback?
COACH RYAN DAY: I think the combination of a great offensive line and J.K. and Mike, you have to account for them. Once you do that, if you can tie in the runs to make them look exactly like the runs, then they have to get somebody else into the front, whether it’s a safety or a seventh defender and then at that point, whether it’s with an RPO or play-action pass, we want to take advantage of that.
So you saw John, you see Terry down the field, one-on-one situations with cornerbacks and then it’s just a matter of making the throw and catch. So it all starts with running the football, and if we can force that seventh guy in the box, that opens up stuff in the pass game.
Q. You mentioned a couple weeks ago when special teams meetings are happening, the running backs are often with you in the quarterback room. What have you learned about J.K. from a more personal side?
COACH RYAN DAY: Great personality. Very, very competitive. Wants it really, really bad. But has a fun way about him. Kind of a happy-go-lucky. Always has a smile on his face. A lot of energy. He’s a very likable kid.
But he works really, really hard and he’s got that edge to him. He’s fun. He’s always got something to say in meetings. Outgoing personality.
But I think that, you know, they are pushing each other, too, in that room between Mike and J.K., so the competition is really good, but they also pull for each other.
Q. Regardless of what’s gone on this year, Urban’s suspension, things have seemed to go rather smoothly. What do you attribute that to?
COACH RYAN DAY: The culture of our team. We said from the beginning that this team has been trained for this — for this type of adversity. We talk about winning the moment. We talk about E+R=O. We talked about that before. The training that’s happened over the last year and obviously what Coach has done here for the six years leading up to this, there’s been a foundation set here.
So when you go through something tough, if you have a good, strong foundation, then you can make it through the other side and that’s what’s happened.
Q. Are things going well without Urban, because of Urban?
COACH RYAN DAY: Like I said, the culture Coach has set here with all these guys, it’s amazing. The locker room and the character, not just with the players, but their families, you know, sticking together, our recruits, the whole thing. So because of that, we’ve been able to come through the back end of this thing.
Still got a long season to go. But going through that stuff, like we said, makes us stronger, as well. But the leadership right here, the coaching staff, we have all stuck together. But there’s no way you can get through that without a strong foundation to start with.
Q. How much authority does Dwayne have to alter plays?
COACH RYAN DAY: Yeah, he knows, whether it’s in the running game, he has the ability to make a check or in the pass gale, he can change the protection and slide it one way or the other. He has a good handle on that. Sometimes we’re playing fast and he has to make a decision where the ball goes. Sometimes it’s to the running back and sometimes he has to run it and sometimes he gets thrown to the receivers. Whether it’s before or after the snap, he has to make decisions.
Q. Do you worry at all them getting too confident going into a game like this?
COACH RYAN DAY: I think that, you know, when the games get tighter, every play matters even more. And so the mistakes are still there. We talked about that in the meeting yesterday. The mistakes are still there.
You know, we can’t — like for instance, the interception in the red zone two games ago, or, you know, a play with false starting or sack on third down; those plays in a big game are going to show up even more. They are still there and we have to correct them and that’s the sign of a mature group is you can win a big game, kind of like we have last two games but then come to work and be critical of yourself and take the coaching so that we make the corrections to keep building.
Q. As well as Tate performed the other day, does that make you more inclined to want to get him involved in the offense in some way?
COACH RYAN DAY: I think Tate showed what he can do. But we’ve seen that through camp and through practice. So nothing he did surprised us. He’s done a great job running. He’s done a great job passing. So his skill-set is excellent for, you know, attacking the defense. They have to account for him with his feet and then with his arm.
So you know, like we said before, we plan to play Tate. How much kind of depends on the game moving forward. But it was great to see him go out there and have some success and see him running around and have some energy.
Q. You hear about in a spread offense it’s important to stretch the defense vertically — who are your main deep threats?
COACH RYAN DAY: I think that our main deep threats are Johnnie and Terry. Austin and Ben also have the ability to go deep, some of the younger guys, as well. We’ve also taken shots from the inside, as well, with Paris down the field and sometimes KJ. So any of those guys can be threats down the field.
It just kind of depends sometimes on what the defense is giving us. They decided to kind of put the safeties down a little bit early in the game and so that opened up the middle of the field and so we connected on it. There’s so much that goes into that. You have to be able to run the ball. You have to be able to protect and you have to be able to do those things to open up something like that. Otherwise they put the safety in the middle of the field and it doesn’t open anything up.
When those opportunities present themselves, we’ve got to capitalize and when you do, you look much more explosive. So then we get the effect of now they have to back up a little bit and the underneath stuff opens up. So that’s kind of how the game works.
Q. After the opener, Urban comes in and says, “What, you only had to punt once.” What was his feedback this time?
COACH RYAN DAY: It was kind of what we just talked about, how we have to make corrections and we have to be critical of ourselves moving forward; so that in a game like this, some of the mistakes being made don’t catch up to you. When you think they are okay, they are not. You have to get those things fixed.
Game week is usual. Went through the film. Made the corrections and now we are on to TCU.
Q. Now that you’re two games into this and have one more left, I was curious, you’ve spoken a lot about how the game plan and what happens on Saturday is done between Monday and Friday, with his first full week back, how did it go on Saturday in terms of staying within what you guys prepared for, and how does that change going into a game where there’s a chance you guys could actually lose?
COACH RYAN DAY: I think so much of the work that happens on Saturday is done during the week, like I said. We all sit in the meeting. Even today, sitting in the meeting room, everybody has input into what we are calling and if it makes it on the call sheet, then it’s good enough to call and we all have to be behind that and understand that. I know we have to make adjustments in game and figure out what the defense is doing and what plays give us the best opportunity.
But yeah, the input is strong from everybody in the offensive staff, including Coach, and if it makes on the call sheets, it’s good enough to call. If it isn’t, then we just take it off and don’t call it that week.
Q. No disrespect to your previous two opponents, but this is a big game and something that Ohio State fans have been waiting for for a long time. How is that different for you? Is it more nerve-wracking, being there alone without Urban and how are you anticipating handling this challenge, the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
COACH RYAN DAY: I think when you play in big games, obviously you have to take care of the football. You have to run the football. You have to play good defense and you have to really follow the plan to win even more because every play is so much more important.
In terms of preparing for it, we are going to be who we are and do what we are. I think when you start to stray and focus on other things, like it being a big game, that’s when you get distracted. We’ve got to focus on us and if we play the way that we know we can play, then that’s going to give us the best chance to win.
If we start to overthink it or anything else, then we are not putting our best foot forward.
Q. You referenced a couple times mistakes that you weren’t happy about. I know coaches weren’t satisfied. Are there things about the offense that you were actually legitimately concerned about at this point? Averaging 64 points a game; what is it that might worry you?
COACH RYAN DAY: No, I don’t think there’s any one thing. I think it’s just when you watch the film, our execution level has got to be high every play. It’s got to be what we call 4 to 6, A to B, which is relentless effort every play. It can’t be just on four out of five plays. If we are very, very critical of ourselves, then we have a chance to be as good as we want to be.
But as you’re going along, sometimes the defense gives you looks. Sometimes, you know, guys who haven’t played a lot of football are put into situations where they haven’t experienced that before. So what happens, usually the first time that happens, they fail and then they learn from it.
What makes good players great is when they do make a mistake, they can learn from it and it doesn’t happen again. But we still have a lot of first-time guys on the team, so they are learning as it goes.
Q. The guys on the offensive line, you reshuffled that a bit. How have you evaluated that through two games?
COACH RYAN DAY: Overall, it’s been solid. I think the move that Mike’s made in a short period of time, he’s done a nice job of that. Communication is getting better and better. We’re going to go into a hostile environment now on the road, so the communication will be at an all-time high.
That will be a test for all of us on offense. It’s going to be loud and it’s not going to be at home where it’s nice and quiet. We are going to have to go in that environment and go win a game, so we are going to be tested.
Q. Dwayne in the read game, is he making reads there, or is that pretty much a straight hand-off for him at this point?
COACH RYAN DAY: There are some plays where he reads the defensive end. There’s some plays where he will read the linebacker and then there are some plays where he will actually read the safety based on a play.
But typically we are having him read somebody on most of the run plays.
Q. How often is the read that he keeps it or is he going to throw it as his read if he doesn’t hand it off?
COACH RYAN DAY: Depends on what the defense gives us really. If that guy is being aggressive, there’s a chance he can pull it. If they are playing a little bit softer, it’s more of a hand-off.
Q. I’ve had Twitter fights with people. It seems like Tate has been in the fifth series both games so far. I think no matter who you are playing, he’s the fifth series and it gives defensive coordinators something to think about, but people on Twitter think that in big games, he’s not going to get in —
COACH RYAN DAY: You shouldn’t be getting into Twitter fights (Laughter).
Q. That’s modern journalism, man. Is the fifth series the Tate series?
COACH RYAN DAY: No. It’s kind of based on, again, what we are seeing in the flow of the game.
Q. Where did you see improvement?
COACH RYAN DAY: Throwing the ball, I thought he was accurate, 10 for 10. Missed that one throw that got called back on holding, but other than that he was accurate with the ball and made good decisions. Didn’t put the ball in harm’s way.
Could do a better job with ball security, but other than that, ran the offense well, managed the offense. Get down in the red zone, instead of forcing the throw, he kind of scrambled and we get a field goal out of it. That’s managing the game and that’s important to do.
Can’t force the action, and he didn’t do that. But that was good and then obviously coming back from taking that shot showed a lot of heart.
Q. TouchÃ© moment we ran for the long touchdown but he didn’t bite on that. When you look at TCU defensively —
COACH RYAN DAY: First off, a veteran group, guys who have played a lot of football at a high level. These guys are top 20 defense in the country last year. They played some high octane offenses, so they have been up against it and battle tested.
Their coach is battle-tested and one of the best coaches in the last 20 years of college football, especially on defense, in terms of what they have done. Have quick adjustments. If you get them with something, you’re not going to get them twice. They do a great job of that. They fly around. Their team speed is excellent. In the back end, front end, they are constantly running to the ball, fast and play with an edge. So that’s the challenge.
Q. Your punt return situation, how would you describe it right now?
COACH RYAN DAY: Always good to have two weapons like that. Demario has one for 26 yards the first week and then C.J. makes a bunch of guys miss last week.
You know, still getting those guys the reps. They haven’t done a lot of it. The more reps we can get on film, the more opportunities we have. But they are dynamic in different ways, so we think of it as more of a benefit that you have two guys you can put back there that can make a play.
Q. Did it help in your mind taking a team somewhere?
COACH RYAN DAY: I think there’s obviously some familiarity, just that we were there and we practiced a bunch, I don’t know how many months ago it was but not long ago. A lot of guys on the team know that stadium so that is good. A lot of guys on the team don’t — some of the freshmen coming in, and at the end of the day, it just comes down to going in to play. Obviously a beautiful stadium and they will have a great crowd, so it will be a hostile crowd.
Q. Two games under your belt now. How much more comfortable did you feel Saturday than the first week?
COACH RYAN DAY: There’s a learning curve there, you’re learning things for the first time. Some things you do well and other things you don’t so well. You just try to regroup at the end of the day and try to figure out how you get better the next time do you it. You do something for the second time, you feel a little more comfortable in that role.
It’s been a huge learning experience for me just going through it on a day-to-day basis, but one more week here and then kind of back to normal.
Q. Do you have specifics what was challenging and what came more natural?
COACH RYAN DAY: Just so much that goes into the game day, talking to the team and also having the offense in the back of your mind, the quarterbacks. Just the full plate there and trying to prioritize your time.
Q. Your role, how is that going to change a little bit? Are you able to focus on play calling? I assume you did it all, or are doing it all the last two weeks.
COACH RYAN DAY: No, I mean, it’s just, you know, obviously now that Coach is back, obviously it’s lesson my plate. Coach is running the team and doing everything. He just wasn’t there on Saturday.
So that was good. That was great.
Q. This is a high-level opponent. Do you feel any different this week? Is it business as usual or knowing that this is a big game on the road, do you feel any different as you prepare?
COACH RYAN DAY: No. If you don’t think it’s a big game, try losing it, you know. So they are all big, and you’ve got to play hard. Every game you’ve got to be ready, you’ve got to be prepared and do a great job. That’s just one of the things when you come to Ohio State and you play at the highest level of college football, you have to bring you’re a game every week. That’s not any different this week.
Q. You’ve talked a lot about Jordan Fuller and his ability to erase plays; what is it about him in that role?
COACH GREG SCHIANO: Well, he’s a very good athlete, No. 1 and has good anticipation, about vision. You know, Jordan would be good whatever he did. He came here as a corner. He could play corner. He’s got that kind of coverage skills. He could play receiver and he was a quarterback in high school. He has a real good spatial awareness and he’s a good tackler.
Q. You guys talked throughout the off-season about that other spot next to him being a big concern or maybe the biggest on the team. Do you feel like it’s settled at this point or do you still have some questions about that going, even into Game 3?
COACH GREG SCHIANO: Well, Isaiah, I thought he played well on Saturday. He’s still a young guy. Doesn’t have a lot of reps underneath him. You know, Shaun Wade is getting better and better, so he’s kind of — we’re trying to find a place for him.
But I’m encouraged by Isaiah, and I think Jahsen is going to continue, and other guys, too, at the position, that are kind of young. They are all the same age, so we’re going to keep that thing going for a bit and see if one of them can pull away.
Q. Switching over to the NFL, I don’t know if you got to see Denzel play at all, what were your thoughts on his two interceptions in his first-ever NFL game?
COACH GREG SCHIANO: I did not get to see it because we were working, but did hear from the players a lot. Really excited for him. There’s not a nicer guy in the world and he’s a tremendous athlete and to do it in his hometown has to be pretty cool for him.
Q. Middle linebacker, you’re doing some shuffling there. What’s your assessment? Only two games. What’s your assessment so far?
COACH GREG SCHIANO: As I said throughout, I think we have more than three linebackers, so more than three will play. Both those guys I think are getting better and better. Tuf, obviously, coming back off the injury and Baron getting his feet underneath him as a middle linebacker. I anticipate that to continue; that they will both play.
Tuf has got just such a sense for the football. He seems to be around the ball all the time, and Baron has an unbelievable ability to cover ground. If you look at him, for a big man, or for anybody, he runs extremely well.
Q. Shaun Wade, can you explain what his role is, and how do you envision his role going forward?
COACH GREG SCHIANO: We are just going to try to find ways to get him on the field. So he can play corner, he can play in the nickel as he did this week and I think eventually he’ll be able to play at the safety position. That’s good for him because that’s as many opportunities as you can have in the secondary to play.
Q. Tyreke, is he hurt? I don’t think he’s played yet.
COACH GREG SCHIANO: No, Tyreke is just — not everybody can play. It’s a competitive environment. He’s doing well, though, especially in the last ten days, I think he’s really catching on. Hopefully somewhere down the road he will play.
Q. What do you see in the TCU offense?
COACH GREG SCHIANO: They are a really talented offense. It all starts with the offense and defensive lines. Their offensive line is as good as any in the Big Ten. It is that kind of offensive line, very, very good. Skill people. They are fast. It’s a very fast football team. You look at their receivers, you know, it’s one, it’s two, and these are really athletic kids in the backfield.
33 and 6 are really good running backs; and their quarterback, the guy is new this year. Johnson, No. 3, I mean, we recruited him. He’s a really good player who is multi-dimensional, who can throw, he’s a strong arm guy. He’s a huge test for our defense. This is a very athletic, fast, productive offense.
Q. He’s the first real running quarterback you’ve faced this year. How does that challenge your defense?
COACH GREG SCHIANO: Well, it’s a big challenge. No. 1, it changes all the math. When the quarterback carries the ball and can do it well, then you know, the defensive math changes and really, playing good defense is getting people to the point of attack and then making the tackle.
So when the quarterback runs it you need to get another guy to the point of attack and obviously he doesn’t run it all the time. He reads it. It’s like option football. So it changes.
And on the passing downs, if he has the ability to scramble, you have to account for that, and what I’ve noticed, and it’s really — I think you had one start last year and obviously these two this year and — he’s a very good runner.
But it’s not where he just tucks it to run right away. We’re going to have to hold coverage when he does start to move out of the pocket and be ready once he crosses the line of scrimmage to come up and try to come down which is easier said than done. He’s a 230-pound man who runs very well.
Q. With that said, Turpin (ph) their punt return guy, what special problems does he spent from a speed standpoint, etc.?
COACH GREG SCHIANO: It’s speed, elusiveness, he’s as quick as a cat. Like I said, their three wide outs all present different issues but the common denominator is they all can run and that’s usually not a good thing. We’ve really got to be on top of our game.
Q. When you take a team back to where it just won a game, like nine months ago and stuff, is that better than going on a true road test, or road trip, to that other team’s stadium? That’s a chance that the stands could be half and half with the Buckeye fans. What’s your take on that?
COACH GREG SCHIANO: I haven’t given that a lot of thought. It’s a good point. It’s a good question. Certainly there will be a familiarity with the stadium and having played there, the locker rooms, all that stuff. So I guess any time that you’re more familiar with something, it’s a little bit easier, but it’s really a home game for them. It’s 30 minutes down the road, so I wouldn’t get too excited about it.
Q. Chase Young, what lesson do you want him to learn out of a game like that with the emotions?
COACH GREG SCHIANO: I don’t want to make too big of a deal of it to be honest. I think just you need to control yourself so you don’t get a penalty. Like I said after the game, if it were a tight ballgame, a penalty or losing a player of that magnitude could really hurt us.
But I love the excitement that he plays with, the passion that he plays with. Just got to kind of harness it just a little bit. Let’s not — but my thing to the defense is I want us to play with that edge. You know, I think playing great defense, part of it is having an edge. So just got to be careful we don’t overdo it in tempering it.
Q. How have you seen opponents block Nick so far? Are they doubling him? Are they helping? Is he getting a lot of one-on-ones? What’s the first two games?
COACH GREG SCHIANO: He’s not getting a ton of one-on-ones. If you saw Saturday, Rutgers started their tight end out wide and motioned him down and really cracked him once pretty hard. So Nick is going to have to be aware of that. We are going to have to be aware of that because I think it will get more and more creative every week because he is such a special player.
We need to do a good job of moving him around and not just leaving him in one spot because then you can target him, right. But if you put your tight end out there to bring him in and all of sudden he’s not there, it gets hard to block him. So we need to help him and he needs to be a little bit more aware; his teammates need to help him. When there’s someone motioning that’s in a position to crack him, we have to let him know because they are doing things special for sure.
Q. Just as things progress, especially on third down packages, when they are performing do they make it harder for teams to put people on Nick?
COACH GREG SCHIANO: As I was saying defensively, it’s all about math, the numbers. It’s the same thing in protection. If you commit six to protection or you commit seven to protection, it’s less people in the route; and less people in the route means that you can cover them better because there’s more people that are able to get in the throwing lanes and that kind of thing.
It is a trade off in everything you do on offense, as well as on defense and so if they choose to keep a double on Nick and a double on Chase, then the single on Dre’Mont. And they have to kind of pick which ones they want to double on.
But a lot of that is based on concept of passing game, how fast the ball is coming out and where the ball is coming out. You always want to protect the blind side of your quarterback. All that goes into it in the protection scheme and that’s what we try to attack. We try to attack the protection scheme with the players we have.
Q. Just context on Nick, he looks good through two games. What’s the context on how much he is affecting games as a pass rusher and how good he’s splaying?
COACH GREG SCHIANO: He’s playing at a high level, very high level. He affects — as on offensive coach, you’re going to know where he is all the time.
But as you mentioned, there’s other guys out there, too, and that’s the beauty of it when it comes to rushing the passer; so what we are seeing is some things in the run game to try to slow him down.
When you face a player of Nick’s talents, it’s not just that play where you’ve got to protect him and what people try to do is slow him down on other plays, on run plays and make him play off this block and that block and just try to distract him. So that, I’m sure Nick will see more and more of.
Q. Not here to launch a Heisman campaign, but when a guy like Nick can change a game, is it time for a defensive guy to be in that discussion? What are your thoughts on the Heisman and a defensive player?
COACH GREG SCHIANO: I’d love to say, yeah, let’s get a defensive player in there but I think there’s been one in how many years. The reality is it’s more of an offensive award because it’s easier to chart. It’s easier to make a big deal of touchdowns and rushing yardage and passing yardage, and I understand that.
Nick is a dominant player in college football right now for sure. There’s awards for that, as well. Now, usually what happens in a year, when — well, it’s happened once — what am I saying, usually, but it would take a year where no one really had tremendous stats offensively for a defensive player to win it, but —
Q. Best player in America —
COACH GREG SCHIANO: I like him on our team, I know that. Thanks, guys.