September 26, 2021

Postgame Quotes vs. Akron

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Ohio State 59, Akron 7
September 25, 2021
Ohio Stadium — 95,178

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day

Opening statement
“First off, I think the crowd for a night game with 95,000 fans was fun. You could tell they were having fun out there. They were loud and it was great to have a full stadium. And I really appreciate everyone’s support there. Overall, in the game I thought we did some good things. I think there are still some things to build on. You can certainly see there are a lot of guys out there that need these snaps and this experience to keep building. And that’s the idea. If we keep building, then we will have a chance to get to where we want to be by the end of the season.”

On the quarterbacks
“I’ll watch the film and see. You see certain things out there, I thought there were some things that were okay, some things that we have to clean up. I was wondering where their eyes were at times. Kyle [McCord] does a really good job of preparing, an excellent job. He puts a lot of work into this thing. It was his first time playing college football. He’s a true freshman. I think the game was moving pretty fast for him and I think he was moving at hyper-speed at times. One thing we talk about with young quarterbacks is finding the speed of the game, and I think there were times where he did. I think Jack [Miller] came in and had some poise in there. I thought he did some positive things. We’ll look at it. I don’t think I’m going to make any hard decisions here, but it’s all part of the puzzle.”

On pressure from the defensive line
“I thought our confidence built up over the series. Part of some of these guys who don’t have a lot of experience, kind of the same thing we talked about with the quarterbacks, is finding the rhythm of the game. I do feel like on the first series on both sides we were feeling our way around, and then all of a sudden we kickstarted it and got rolling and played with confidence for the rest of the game. So I think that is part of it, feeling comfortable about what you’re doing and building off of it. The more times that some of these younger players start making plays, you look at the guy next to you and that builds confidence because you know he can do it. This is new for our guys, some of our guys do not have a ton of reps but now they’re building it. You can see like Ronnie Hickman is a great example, he makes that interception, and he’s an example of someone who’s playing great football right now. A lot of people didn’t know who Ronnie was four weeks ago, now he’s really doing it. Cody Simon is starting to show up, and we had some steps in the right direction and I thought we were aggressive overall and we tackled well.”

On the first drive of the game
“I tried to tell [Kyle McCord], take a deep breath, and find the speed of the game, trust your eyes, trust your reads, you’ve done a lot of preparation to get here. And then I thought he settled down a little bit.”

Ohio State wide receiver Jaxson Smith-Njigba

On quarterbacks C.J. Stroud and Kyle McCord
“I think [C.J.] has been the same leader he’s always been. He keeps working. And you know Kyle stepped up. We’ve tried to keep him motivated all throughout the week, but he stepped up tonight.”

On settling starter Kyle McCord down…
“First drives are always hectic, especially being in a position like Kyle was, but I knew things would slow down and that’s what happened.”

On McCord and Stroud…
“They’re competitors, and they compete against each other, but they are real good friends.”

Ohio State defensive lineman Haskell Garrett

On the number of sacks
“The sacks don’t even matter, it’s just the matter that we played undeniable defense tonight.”  

 On teammate Tyleik Williams
“I’m really excited for what he has to bring to the table. Tyleik wants to be a relentless player – he wants to be the best of the best and that’s why he came to O State.” 

On the team’s focus this week
“We didn’t really hone in on our playing. We honed in on looking in the mirror and how can we get better as an individual, as a unit, and as a whole team.”  

On tonight’s game plan
“Our game plan was just to play relentless, put pressure on them, play our own game, get better within our technique.” 

Ohio State linebacker Steele Chambers

On feeling at home at linebacker
“I feel like I definitely feel at home right now. We’ve got a great group in Silver Bullets. Everyone comes to do their job and that’s what I’m doing. I’m just doing my job and if I make plays, I make plays. But, I mean, you can’t do it without the rest of the guys.”

On the defense
“I think we’re just building momentum. We’ve got a bunch of great guys in spots, we just don’t have the experience in some spots. But, now we’re starting to gain it and now we’re just moving forward”

On big opportunities
“I mean, as the season goes on, obviously I’ll have to continue to grow and get better. But I mean, we’ve just got a really tight-knit group, so we’ll just continue to lean on each other. We’re just going to do what we set out to do in the beginning of the season.”

Akron head coach Tom Arth

On the game and his team
“I appreciate the effort. Our guys went out there and they fought hard and battled. They got banged up a little bit, but they just kept fighting and kept playing. They played very hard, competitive football. Unfortunately, we didn’t play as well as we would have liked to, but I do think there were a lot of really great things and we definitely showed some growth from week one against an SEC opponent in Auburn to where we are right now playing against Ohio State.”

On the difference in the game
“Unfortunately, we just gave up too many explosive plays on the other side of the ball. That is something we really talked about going into the game – ‘Make them earn it every play.’ We gave up too many big plays to survive.”

On Akron playing two Power 5 teams in its non-conference schedule
“It’s hard to come out there and get beat up like we did and lose like we did tonight. You have to be able to understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Every step is an opportunity for us to improve and that’s all that matters. Are we getting better? Are we growing? Are we learning? Playing two of the most historic programs in college football is awesome. It’s a great opportunity for our program and players. Playing against that type of speed and physicality is going to prepare us for battle in-conference. I truly believe our guys are going to benefit from playing in these games.”