September 18, 2022

Postgame Quotes vs. Toledo

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Ohio State 77, Toledo 21
September 17, 2022
Ohio Stadium — 105,398

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day

On the energy at The Shoe…

“I just want to quickly make a mention of the crowd. Unbelievable. We take a walk from the Blackwell over to the Skull Session and the Skull Session is standing room only. Then we walk over to the stadium and see everybody in the stadium. One hundred and five thousand for this night game was unbelievable. And, you know, we wanted to make sure that we played well in this game. So, I just want to thank Buckeye Nation for showing up in a big way.”

On C.J. Stroud’s preparation…

“He does have very good vision, but I thought he had a good week of practice. His attitude was excellent. His work ethic was excellent. I thought the time to put it on his own was excellent. We had a tough week of practice. We did. We were physical on Tuesday, physical on Wednesday, and got a ton of reps. We felt that we needed to do that and he embraced that. And it’s a lot, you know, as a quarterback. You take a lot on, but his attitude was excellent. His energy was excellent today and he played really well. I think he fed off having Jaxon (Smith-Njigba) and Julian (Fleming) back in the lineup too. It’s great. But I thought overall the combination of the run game and asking a lot of him early to get some momentum.”

On Stroud and the line leading the way…

“Yeah, I mean, he’s very, very talented. You saw a wide variety of variety throws. We saw some in the red zone, on third down and that’s where you make money as a quarterback is in the red zone and on third down. We talked a lot about staying on schedule and making sure we didn’t have any three-and-outs in this game. That was important. I thought the offensive line played physical and they practiced that way this week. So it doesn’t surprise me that we played that way. I thought we did a good job up front. Next week, we have a conference opponent so it’s going to be even harder.”

On the fullback and tight end play…

“We thought that with the 100-year anniversary of The Shoe that it would be good to lineup in the “I” and run the fullback for a touchdown. We wanted to get that done this year. Mitch (Rossi) is a weapon for us. We’re trying to build those packages. I think we saw what Cade (Stover) can do. We saw his versatility. Now you know how tough he is, physically on the line of scrimmage. Now you’re starting to see what a weapon he is in the passing game. We actually missed him a couple of times in the endzone that were close. And then Gee Scott Jr. is really starting to grow for us as well. He’s becoming somebody that can do a lot of things. He’s an athletic tight end for us. So that gives us a little something. And then Mitch, gives us a little bit of something as well. So that’s exciting.”

On Dallan Hayden and TC Caffey’s performances…

“(Dallan)’s practiced well. He’s taking care of the football and so is TC quite honestly. Both of those guys have done a nice job in practice. But the number one thing for those guys is that you have to take care of the football because if they can build trust with those coaches now, obviously the offensive staff, myself, Coach Alford, that’s the number one thing. Protection and take care of the football. They’ve done that, and now they let their natural ability take over. To see them in for the first time, to play like this, you can see his quickness in the hole, with good vision, with power. He’s got a chance to be really good.”

Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson 

On the way the team has finished off drives in the red zone…

“I think the emphasis was more on trying to get the run game going because it gets really hard even though we throw the ball so well. I know Coach Day, Coach Hartline and Coach Dennis always work up the best red zone plan to throw the ball but those windows and spaces get tighter. So your ability to run the ball in the red zone is really when you can be a better red zone offense. That was the emphasis of all offseason: to be a little bit better in the run game. We are building that way. I think as the run game goes, you stay on schedule, you get more manageable as you get play-action. That’s helped the low red offense. The emphasis was more on can we run the ball better and can we run the ball in tough situations. Right now, we aren’t where we need to be, but we are getting better at that and that’s good to see for our team.”

On C.J. Stroud’s ability to process information quickly…

“Sam Bradford was the first guy who I thought had the quickest mind and I would say C.J.’s rivals his. Not only the ability to have a quick mind, but the ability to see and process. I think he sees things very, very clearly. The way it works with Coach Day and Coach Dennis, he’s very much in sync with what Coach Day wants him to do, where his eyes need to be and what his looks are.”

On Cade Stover…

“He’s a real leader because he leads by actions first. His work ethic, his durability, his consistency. We GPS track those guys yardage and he’s got a lot of yards in Tuesday and Wednesday practice, but then he’s up there blocking those defensive ends who are some of the best defensive ends in the country. The wear and tear that he puts and he’s ability to consistently practice earns him great respect from his teammates. He’s a much better athlete than people give him credit for. I think he’s the quintessential tight end because he’s got size, toughness and he’s not flashy. Our team loves him. I love him and I think he’s a special player. We are just starting and we’ve got a long way to go with him and I’m counting on a big year out of that kid.”

Ohio State Quarterback C.J. Stroud

On the early offensive momentum… 

“I think we were clicking. Coach Day’s message this whole week was starting early and just trying to be more consistent with the ball when we start with the ball. We came out and we connected on a couple of throws, and I think that got our juices rolling. I don’t think we punted until the third quarter, so I definitely think that we started early which was a great thing that we wanted to accomplish.”

On his completions to Marvin Harrison Jr…. 

“I mean, we practice throws like that. Coach Dennis and Coach Fitch definitely do a great job with repetition of that in practice, going over defenders and being confident while doing it. The most important thing when making those type of throws, is being confident. Marvin did a great job of going on top and getting those. He’s a big-body receiver and every aspect of his game has been shown and he’ll continue to grow. I’m excited to see what he does the rest of the year.”

On watching film… 

“I definitely enjoy it because it’s kind of therapeutic to me; it helps me get away from certain issues I may be going through at the time or just away from the outside world. Football is definitely something that God called me to do, so if I can lock in for a couple hours and knock out some real good film study, then I can help us win. God gave me the talent, now I have to put in the work.”

On his increasing confidence… 

“I always kind of just try to keep my head down and work and I definitely think that my confidence is boosted. I think just me being a leader and a captain on the team, when they see I’m confident, I think the offense and our whole team is confident. I think that’s a great thing for the Buckeyes.”

On Cade Stover… 

“He’s very versatile. He had a great game, phenomenal game; blocked his tail off and ran great routes and had great body language. I’m just excited for him to see his work pay off. He’s the person on the team I look up to, honestly. He always puts confidence in me and I definitely think he’ll continue to be great.”

On Julian Fleming… 

“I think he showed everybody what he can do. He’s worked really, really hard in the offseason. I’m super proud of him to be able to come in and impact the game that quick. What a catch on the sideline and then that second touchdown; he just had crisp route-running and body language. I definitely think Julian has a lot more football ahead of him and he’ll continue to be great. It all starts with his hard work, and he has to pat himself on the back honestly, because he took this offseason very seriously with getting back and route-running, being more crisp and living a good life outside of the Woody.”

On having Julian Fleming and Jaxon Smith-Njigba both back this week… 

“With the type of team we have, once we get momentum rolling, it’s kind of hard to stop us and I think it starts with execution. Jaxon and Julian definitely help with that; they’re veterans on our team now. Luke (Wypler) does a great job with protections and I definitely think the O-line did an amazing job, picking up blitzes and keeping their D-line honest. We knew this was a good Toledo team coming in here; they love moments like this because that’s how they show how great they are, so I definitely think that we answered the bell when it came to that, and it’s just about execution and taking pride in it. I definitely think that we did that and we’ll continue to build, but its going to take more now because we’re going into Big Ten play and we just have to be more and more focused and stick together and just keep rolling with this good momentum. ”

Ohio State defensive end Jack Sawyer

On the defense’s potential…

“I wouldn’t say we’ve reached our full potential yet or even come close to it. We got so much left, you know, with certain guys, we can play so much better, so much sharper, even though we still are playing pretty well. Our full potential, it’s gonna blow people away and we’re gonna put it all together.”

On his first sack of the year…

“It’s cool to get that off my back and just keep rushing. I think really all of us ends have been rushing really well this season. We’ve been flushing the quarterback out, getting QB hits. I think the sacks are coming so it’s nothing to be worried about. We know we’re progressing pretty well. We’re going to start getting a little different.”

On the first turnovers of the year…

“It felt great. We’ve been wanting to get a couple of turnovers here and there. The last couple weeks we weren’t able to do it. So we’ve been harping on that, attacking the ball and making sure we’re catching overthrows and stuff like that. So we knew they were coming. We were playing really good defense, and it’s just a matter of time for that to happen.”

On the sideline’s energy after Ronnie Hickman’s pick…

“Oh, we were all excited. We were all really excited on the sideline, seeing the first takeaway of the year. It meant a lot to us.”

Ohio State safety Ronnie Hickman 

On the crowd’s energy…

“I couldn’t hear anything, so I know Toledo couldn’t hear anything. They got some penalties and the crowd was throwing them off a little bit. Those are the things we need as a team, and especially as a defense.”

On what he saw to get the turnover…

“It was on a play that we enjoyed a lot this week – we actually talked about it a lot. Just me being able to see the quarterback’s eyes and see wherever they like to throw the ball. I had a feeling it was going to the boundary right there. I just looked at him and knew.”

On the defensive personnel group…

“There are so many guys – it’s a grind. We go out there and work. We all want to play and that forces us to compete. You’ve got to play your best, whether it’s Tuesday leading up to the game, or in the game. Ultimately it brings out the best of all of us.”

On the defense’s camaraderie…

“Just being in the room and talking a lot, we’re very communicative. I think we do it so well because of how close we are in that room. We have a lot of good chemistry between the guys so that helps us on the field and off the field to win this game easily from start to finish.”

 On Toledo scoring 21 points…

“We have expectations. We have a standard and 21 points – it’s not the standard. We’ll get back to work tomorrow and get ready for next week.”

Ohio State wide receiver Emeka Egbuka 

 On the offense… 

I think we showcased tonight what this offense is capable of. The special thing about us is that we are never satisfied. We definitely feel like we left some stuff out on the field even though we put up 760 yards. We’re going to continue to build.”  

 

On the team comradery… 

“I’ve only been here two years, but this is one of the most tight-knit groups I’ve ever been a part of, especially this year. We focus a lot on team bonding. We’re all excited for the young guys. It just speaks levels to how tight we are as a group.”  

 

On being involved in the run game… 

I like the versatility aspect of it. I feel like it makes it harder to gameplan for us in general. Running with the ball in my hands is something I feel comfortable doing. I didn’t play running back in high school, but I was always touching the ball. I played running back up until my freshman year of high school, so it’s something I’m not a stranger to. I think it just adds another level in our offense.”  

 

On Jaxon Smith-Njigba… 

“Jaxon is a huge threat to any opponent he steps on the field with. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing Alabama or if we’re playing tonight. Attention is going to be turned to Jaxon. You can count on him to win his one-on-one battles 24/7. Just having that on the field, sometimes teams are going to double, triple him, it doesn’t really matter. That just opens up the pass game and the run game. It’s a big help.”  

Toledo head coach Jason Candle

 On the game overall…

“We’re still in the early infancy stages of the season and we have a lot of improvements to do regardless of the opponent. We obviously know that we played a monster opponent tonight that was, offensively in the first half, as good of an offensive performance by a quarterback that I’ve seen, which kind of overshadowed the brilliant play of our quarterback. I thought Dequan (Finn) was really good. He made some really tough plays, made some plays with his legs, off-schedule plays, on-schedule plays. We saw some significant improvement from week-to-week with him. Now, I thought at times we ran a decent offense but couldn’t sustain anything up front when it came to some of those longer drives. But give Coach Knowles and that defense a lot of credit. They’ve given up one touchdown all year long coming into this football game. They’re a good defense. Coach Day has them on offense clicking and playing at a high level. It was a tough task for us tonight.”

 On moving forward…

“I think in all three phases we have to get back to work. We have to get back to work tomorrow and address and fix the mistakes, and to get technical on what the mistakes were without watching the film, I don’t think that’s fair to anybody. But my overall impression is that they made some tough catches. So many balls tonight we’re caught by a receiver extended and he had to get one foot down in bounds. There were probably four or five of those. I feel like we didn’t do a good job of affecting the quarterback early on in the game with the pass rush and he was able to sit back there a little bit. It was hard and put stress on those DBs to cover for as long as they had to cover. A tough, stiff challenge as I mentioned, and we’ve got to address the tape and fix it, because we have another tough one coming up next weekend.”

 On the struggles defensively on third down…

“I mean, that’s the adversity within the game that we hadn’t had the first two weeks. We had been lights out on third down. They have a powerful front, they could run the ball in short yardage situations and they have an accurate quarterback. All of that makes them tough to stop in those in those third-and-short situations. So yeah, that’s deflating. Deflating is a good term to use because you feel like you’ve got them stopped and they just push it through.”