RYAN DAY: So second signing day here. We were at 83 going into the second signing day. Got an announcement from Enokk Vimahi, which is a huge addition one of the focuses going into the second signing day. Commitment in the offensive line, really big to get him down the stretch.
Then we’re waiting on one more here later today to make it 85. So with that, I’d like to answer any questions you have.
Q. We met an impressive group of assistant coaches. Constructing your coaching staff would you say it went about as well as you could have expected?
RYAN DAY: Yeah. There were times where you’re recruiting the coaches even more than the players. That was a big part of this. It’s been a sprint to this point. Really haven’t stopped. It’s been a lot on the recruiting trail. But putting the staff together was a big part.
Really excited about what we put together as a whole staff. Had a workout today early in the morning, 6 a.m., a lot of excitement, guys were running around, coaches were part of it, too.
I really think the time spent, it wasn’t easy putting it together, really wasn’t. There was a lot of time and thought put into this thing. Really excited about it.
Q. On the recruiting trail, what was the biggest challenge?
RYAN DAY: I think the biggest challenge early on is getting to know everybody. Then when the staff got put into place, we still wanted those guys to make sure they built relationships with 2019s. The loyalty there was off the charts, the families we made connections with, recruiting, has been awesome. Then going with the 2020s.
When you look at what we’ve done as a culture since August, with the coaching change, we’ve only had two guys leave the program, Keandre Jones, Tate Martell. One was a grad transfer, one a quarterback. When you keep the retention like, it shows about the culture in the coaching change, but also it isn’t about signing 27 guys because you’re retaining guys. Guys want to stay in the program. That’s the strength of our team right now.
Q. There are reports you may be looking at transfer guys. What is your approach in terms of when you decide this program should pursue somebody in the transfer portal?
RYAN DAY: It’s ever evolving. To say where it’s going to be in two to five years, I don’t know that. We have to evolve with the times to be competitive. We need to be involved with that.
Mark Pantoni has had to make adjustments, stayed on top of that transfer portal. It might be one of those things down the road where we have to have a sign and designate part of our recruiting department just towards that. We have to make sure we’re adapting with that.
We’re very, very careful about that. It has to be a need, it has to be a fit. We spent a lot of time recruiting these kids since they’ve been freshmen and sophomores, most of them. We bring them into a culture we take seriously. To bring somebody in has to be a great fit. Justin is a great fit for a lot of reasons, we’re excited about him.
Q. When Urban Meyer was here, Ohio State didn’t bring in a lot of transfers. Could that ramp up here or is that a last resort?
RYAN DAY: We want to recruit guys when they’re freshmen, sophomores, guys who want to be Buckeyes, build relationships over time. We don’t want to rely on that.
However, since there’s been such a change with this transfer portal, grad transfers becoming available, we have to be able to adapt, look at those things in order to be competitive. At the end of the day what matters is winning championships.
Q. I don’t know if it’s a difference in philosophy or a different way of doing things, but Justin Fields is featured, like the first guy in this video you’ve put out. You must be very confident he’ll be eligible. Did you hesitate at all or is this we’ve got this guy, we’re going to feature him?
RYAN DAY: It started off when Dwayne made his announcement. That was hard on us. This is a guy you expected to get three years out of, developed him for two years, got 14 games. That was hard. That took a little time to get yourself off the canvas on that one. We thought we were going to get three years, we got one.
Then you look at it, for the program, you have to make sure you have depth there. You have to make sure you have at least three or four guys that are able to go play. We were in a tough spot.
But when he became available, we investigated it, felt like it was a great fit, so he’s done a nice job so far. Not trying to do too much early, trying to gain some respect of the guys around him. Then he’s going to get into a competition this spring, see how it goes. Matthew is coming off his knee injury, now is going to be his opportunity to go after it, too.
Matt and then Chris Chugunov will be the three guys in there. Quarterbacks right now in college football is very sensitive. You just have to adapt to it year in and year out.
Q. No hesitation in promoting him is part of that, too? Do you have a final say on those videos?
RYAN DAY: Yeah, I mean, everything goes through me. Sometimes it just by chance. But obviously we’re excited about having Justin.
Q. Justin Fields didn’t really go into so much about who approached who first or how he got here, but he did say the number one selling point before you spoke was the fact that he could get to the NFL and get there quickly. Urban Meyer first started here, he talked about how he hoped players would go after three years. Where do you stand on the mindset of Ohio State is going to get you to the league the fastest, not being shy about saying it, and what was that like during the recruitment process?
RYAN DAY: That’s part of it. We don’t apologize for developing guys. To see Dwayne’s development the last two years is pretty remarkable. I think that’s one of the selling points that we have. That’s just one part of it, though. Being able to compete for a national championship, being involved with a culture like we have here, getting around our guys, feeling who we are as a team was also important. That’s just one part of it.
But for a quarterback, that is important for them. They want to be in an offense where they’re throwing at the high efficiency that we did last year, we’re throwing in an offense where it’s very pro style oriented, mixed in with the college run game, with RPOs. We think we’re on the cutting edge that way. It’s exciting.
That’s the response we’re getting from a lot of quarterbacks around the country. That mixed in with the other guys surrounding him, it’s obviously very enticing.
Q. We’ve seen freshmen receivers both here and across the country coming in and really changing teams from the beginning from a physical standpoint, being ready to go immediately. Garrett Wilson is somebody you recruited, probably the highest rated receiver you have brought here in over 10 years. Can you put in perspective how good he is?
RYAN DAY: First off about Garrett is he comes from a great family, is a great person. When you get around him, he’s magnetic. The second thing is, he’s amazing because he’s a big-time basketball player. He’s never really spent time on just football. His potential, as good as he is, is through the roof. Now he has to go through it.
This is really the first time he’s being challenged in the weight room. Coach Mick and his staff is all over him. Already gotten better and made strides. He has a long way to go physically.
That being said, his skill set is off the charts, his ball skills, adjusting to the balls down the field, route running ability, length, as good as I’ve been around. How he does the next few weeks in the off-season program will be important, then he’ll have an opportunity to compete in the spring.
Q. Phone calls, doing updates with recruits, especially nationally, a lot of them say Urban Meyer is still going to be around, is a sales point, he’s not the coach but he’s going to be around, have influence. How do you plan on actually using Urban Meyer now? What is he actually going to be doing? How do you maintain Urban Meyer being a sales pitch when you’re the new guy?
RYAN DAY: I think the first thing is he’s built this over the last seven years. The culture that he’s built is amazing. We’ve kept so much in place. That’s been part of this thing. The philosophies that he has and I have are in line. His footprint is on this, and will be for a long time.
The second thing is, he’s got his office across the way. Coming off the road, we’ve been on the road recruiting and everything, but he’s still going to be very much involved with real life Wednesday programs, our academics, most importantly be a great resource for me moving forward.
Q. When you got promoted, you had to replace yourself on the staff. What made Mike and appealing guy to you? Do you want him to think all the same things as you, new ideas?
RYAN DAY: Firstly he was a good fit because he and his wife are from Ohio, and they wanted to come back. Wanted to make sure we had Ohio guys on the staff who wanted to be here.
The fact that he came from Oklahoma State, had done really well as a coordinator calling plays for the last six years, wanting to be here, that was the second thing. He wanted to get involved with this offense, he wanted to be part of how we were throwing the football. He brings so much to the table. He’s called plays. He’s been part of and run one of the more proficient offenses in college football the last six years. I thought that was a home run on both ends.
Q. He is learning the offense at the same time as Justin Fields. Are you coaching both of those guys?
RYAN DAY: It’s a little bit of both. We watch film. Now that we’re off the road, we’ll get into that a lot more. Even the last couple days, we’ve been watching film as a staff. We had a meeting all together, quarterbacks and coach in there, as well. So he picks it up really quick. It’s not going to take long for him to kind of understand where we’re at.
The great thing about Mike is he’s willing to teach it the way we teach it. Doesn’t come in saying, This is how we did it. He has great ideas. Been around football a long time, has good timing, understands what it’s like to be part of a staff.
Q. A couple guys asked about Justin. Is it uncomfortable to have to wait for this waiver? Does it change the plans at all going into spring ball at this point if you’re going to have him?
RYAN DAY: I think there’s nothing we can do about it right now. We’re trying to control what we can control, wait till the waiver comes back to find out where that’s at. That doesn’t change anything for him, Matthew or Chris. Once we find out what it is, we’ll go from there.
Q. Enokk has been on the road saying he wants to play a year, then go on a mission for two years. How did that play a part in your conversations and really your desire to want to pursue a guy it seems like might be a three- or four-year deferred plan?
RYAN DAY: Yeah, O-line was an area of concern for us. We had to go out there and kind of uncover all the stones. Flying out to Hawaii, staying for three hours, getting on a redeye back to Columbus was part of that plan.
But it’s started honestly in the All-American game when he got around some of our guys, including Garrett Wilson, Harry, Zach Harrison. The feedback we got about him was through the roof, he and his family. That proved to be true. Thought he’d be a great fit here.
We wouldn’t just go over to Hawaii if it wasn’t a good fit. It was. Then he came up for a visit, we all hit it off. That was great. Then we were able to spend some time out at school with he and his parents. We all hit it off. There were some connections with some of the guys on our team, too, that knew each other. That was really good.
The communication about the mission, it’s something that he and his family will decide kind of at the end of this year and go from there. If they decide they want to go for a two-year mission, we’ll support that. He’d go away for two years, then come back.
Q. Your past quarterbacks said your offense, it takes a year to feel comfortable. I don’t know how different that is from other offenses. Do you agree with that assessment? With that, how long do you think it would take Justin to get comfortable in this offense?
RYAN DAY: I think there’s a lot of things that you save in the first year. I think it’s all about what you put on a quarterback’s plate. I think they can handle so much in the first year, then you get into year two and three, they start to be able to take more on as it goes.
I think that’s part of being a coach, is understanding that. You look at what Lawrence did at Clemson this year, early on they were really careful with him, didn’t expose him to a bunch. I think that’s part of having a young quarterback.
Q. You can’t talk specifically about this, but you have a handful of offers out to sophomores in this state, more than Ohio State typically has. Is that in your mind more a reflection of the talent in that class or are you making a concerted effort to get involved and offer Ohio prospects earlier?
RYAN DAY: Both. When I was here for the first signing day, I think the question was asked about Ohio offensive linemen. I said that was going to be an emphasis, and it is. We’re all over that. I mean, that’s from when we wake up in the morning till we go to bed at night. That’s not going to change.
But there are great players in the state of Ohio. We’re out there being aggressive and going after them.
Q. Have you gotten feedback from Ohio high school coaches about the timeline with which you recruit players in the state and did that need to change?
RYAN DAY: I think the conversation was how much they appreciate our staff being out, getting to know all the guys in the area.
Q. Last time we were here you were talking about how Dwayne didn’t necessarily want to wait for his term, but he did, it worked out, being developed here. With this transfer portal, everything that goes with that, how do you as coaches combat the urge to push a quarterback’s timetable up when they aren’t ready versus letting it happen? Is that the biggest challenge now?
RYAN DAY: That is a big challenge, yeah. I mean, again, I go back to kind of the way that Clemson did it this year. They played a true freshman, put him in there, they were going to live with it. It worked out for them.
First off, it’s hard to recruit a highly recruited guy, then recruit guys behind them. If they leave, after their third year in the program, it gets really hard. That’s the constant struggle of right now with college football and the quarterback situation. It’s very sensitive. But to your point, that is a challenge.
Q. For a place like this that’s had three-way quarterback battles the last three or four years, how do you see yourself and this coaching staff adjusting in the recruiting area with that?
RYAN DAY: I think honesty is the best way to go. I think it has changed in the last year. It’s changed in the last two to three years, it has changed the last five years to the last decade. It’s changing.
I think five years ago when you could have guys stay in your program at quarterback, I think that’s changed. Guys want to play right now. The best way to combat that is to be honest in the recruiting process. To tell someone they’re going to come in and play right away is not right. I think you have to be honest with them, tell them it’s a competition. There’s no expectation problems when they get here.
Q. The passing game that you showed last year with Dwayne and those veteran receivers, Garrett Wilson was saying today you talked with him at the very beginning of recruiting about what you thought this Ohio State passing game could be like before last year. Is this what this offense is going to be? Dwayne is gone, veteran receivers are gone, but you would hope, plan, anticipate the offense to pretty much look like what the offense looked like last year?
RYAN DAY: That’s a great question because the offense that we ran with J.T., the offense we ran with Dwayne is still the same offense. What I mean by that is the plays are still the plays, the playbook is the playbook. What plays we emphasize is based on the quarterback, always has been.
The other part of it is, who is the best 11. Does it mean there’s an extra tight end, extra running runningback in the game. How does that fit. Each year we’ll put the best guys up on the board, figure out who they are, how does that match with what the quarterback can do. What makes him special.
Clearly what made Dwayne special last year was his ability to throw in the pocket, especially downfield, his accuracy. What made J.T. special was his combination of being able to throw, run. He could do a great job in short yardage situations, durable, great decision maker, took care of the ball, excellent in the red zone.
As we move forward with our new quarterback, we figure out what he does best, we’ll emphasize that. There are certain thing that will stay consistent. We believe we have to throw the ball to be able to win, whether it’s a two minute drill in the Penn State game with J.T. or the two minute drill we did with Dwayne towards the end of the season. That’s part of it.
If you want to go win the whole thing, you have to be able to throw the ball. That showed in the last two semifinals and the finals the last couple years. To win the national championship, you have to be able to throw it.
Again, all that being said, you can’t get anywhere at Ohio State if you’re not running the football. That will always be a priority here. Finding the right balance is critical.
Q. You said multiple times last year Dwayne, what he did last year, he wouldn’t have been quite ready to do that as a redshirt freshman, he needed the two years. You’re going to have a guy who is only in the second year in college starting at quarterback no matter who it is. Is there some curiosity, apprehension from you? Are you a little worried?
RYAN DAY: Yes, yes. It doesn’t just happen. What happened last year with Dwayne Haskins is an anomaly. Someone to step in 14 games, projected to be maybe the first quarterback taken in the draft, third in the Heisman. That just doesn’t happen. Someone doesn’t just step in and do that.
No, I mean, the expectations are obviously that we’re going to be really good and repeat what we did. But that’s not just going to happen. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, it’s going to take a lot of adjusting on the move. Guys are going to have to do a great job of stepping up in all areas.
I mean, for me to sit back and look at what happened last year, it’s really amazing. I think Dwayne may be one of those once in a lifetime. Someone said he’s one of six quarterbacks in college history to throw 50 touchdown passes. Amazing.
It’s a new journey. When we sat here this time last year, J.T. is gone, what’s next. Apprehension then. That’s the beauty of college football.
Q. Coaching is a business. Guys move around, that’s the nature of the beast. Everyone talks about the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry 365 days a year. Greg was at Michigan 13 years on two separate occasions. That’s a lot of Michigan guy in him. Now he’s just at Ohio State. It feels like Ohio State-Michigan is just different. Is it? The idea of bringing him here, did that cross your mind at all? Is it different with Ohio State-Michigan that this is a little strange maybe?
RYAN DAY: So when this all started, I vetted and looked at just about all the way across the country and back, looking to find what the right mix for what we have. I looked at the guys we had, wanted to find what we needed.
The first thing I decided is I felt like we needed a couple of veteran guys there, guys who have been through the fire before. They know the league, they know the conference, they know college football. Then I wanted to have three other guys who were younger, some younger guys to complement those guys.
Then you go about looking to see who the candidates are. Looked at a lot of different people. When I had an opportunity to get Jeff, that was a no-brainer to me. Really talented, six or seven NFL teams are after him to be a coordinator. He wanted to come back. Kind of same way I did, I wanted to come back in college, and for him and his family had the same reasons. Finding the right counterpart to Jeff was critical. We’re looking for a veteran guy that knows the league, somebody I know. It’s very hard to bring somebody in that you don’t know. I worked with Greg. I know Greg. I’ve stayed in touch with Greg.
Him and Jeff getting together, that was something they had to get together before we even made the decision to do it. They had to get along, understand this is going to be a partnership. It worked right from the beginning. I think it’s a home run.
Q. Michigan thing, no consideration?
RYAN DAY: It was in consideration, yeah (smiling).
Q. What made you okay with it?
RYAN DAY: Well, again, knowing him. Whether I was coaching here, anywhere else, I would have tried to hire Greg Mattison. It all comes down to who are the best coaches for our players. Whatever that was, that’s what makes Gene Smith so good, just go get them. Whatever you need, get those guys. That was the a determination we made. They just went ahead and did it.
Q. Do you see the staff is meshing? You have young pups and elder statesmen. Working so far?
RYAN DAY: I think so. It’s still early. When you talk to recruits, that’s always a good barometer, when you talk to the players. That kind of gives you a flavor of what’s going on. We had a junior day here. The feedback we got was unbelievable about all in, family. These are all the things they were saying to us.
To see the energy we had this morning at 6 a.m., we had a meeting in here right before that that was unbelievable. The energy at 5:55 that coach had with these players was tremendous. Even after the drill, the energy they had in the locker room. There’s life there. I think there’s excitement there.
But it’s a work in progress. I mean, you got to build those relationships. Our guys have to love the coaches. That’s the thing we talk about in the meeting all the time. If the players love the coach, they’ll do anything for them. So for the new guys, they’re still building those relationships.
Q. Do you think you added a new layer to the rivalry now?
RYAN DAY: Like I said, I got a lot of respect for the rivalry. That had nothing to do with anything other than trying to find the best guys. Al Washington’s dad played here, he’s from here. I was a coach when he played. He coached with me. These are guys that I’ve known. It wasn’t like I was going to try to cherry pick off of somebody’s staff. But I felt like those were the best guys for us.
Q. The NCAA waiver process is kind of a new phenomenon now in college football. What has it been like going through that, you’re essentially at the mercy of whatever decision they make? You don’t have much control. Does it make you anxious this past month?
RYAN DAY: Sure, it does. Justin Kumi, who handles our compliance, is as good as there is in the business. The way he handles his business, how on top of things he is, he does a great job. The communication between he and I have been on a daily basis to try to work through some of these issues.
Those are the guidelines that we have. We have to work those, be on top of them, work them. So, yeah. But it’s not a process that you feel great about and sleep well at night knowing that you’re involved with those processes. It’s kind of one of those things you got to deal with.
Q. Putting together your staff, what kind of traits or characteristics were you looking for?
RYAN DAY: Wanted guys who wanted to be here. Ohio ties. Big Ten ties. Again, guys that we thought were going to make our players better. The two things we talk about all the time as an assistant coach, if your players love you, they’ll do anything for you. You got to build that relationship. Guys that are relationship oriented. Then how do you make them better. If these guys think they’re getting better every day, they feel themselves getting better, they’ll go through the roof for you. Guys that are competent and do a great job at coaching and also that are relationship oriented.
Q. Three of the guys you hired for your defensive staff, you combined over two weeks to score 114 points on their teams. What do those guys specifically bring to the program that you want to see? What is it specifically about all four of those guys?
RYAN DAY: Start with Jeff. I think when I worked with Jeff, I saw a coach who was really good at what he did, understanding first off how to connect with the back end guys. I think you’ll find as things move on, you get a chance to spend time with Jeff, he’s really bright. Guys connect with him really good. He’s really knowledgeable. Understands how everything fits in the back end. I think he’s a special coach.
When you talk about Al, the energy Al brings not only on the field but in recruiting is off the charts. When you go through the state of Ohio, into areas he’s recruited, coaches just rave about him. I thought he was an excellent addition to our staff.
Anything Al decides, he’s going to put his mind to, he’s going to do. Coached the runningbacks for us at Boston College, never touching a football in his whole career. He coached a Doak Walker award winner one year.
Greg, national championships at Florida, working for the Baltimore Ravens, Ray Lewis as a coordinator for many, many years. His experience speaks for itself. He’s been successful everywhere he’s gone.
Matt stepped in at a tough spot this year. When we played against them, although was a shootout, at that point of the year that was hard. He was in a tough spot there. He was doing special teams and the defense. I’ve never heard of that before for somebody at his age. I think he’s really knowledgeable, a good, young coach. Going to bring a lot of value to us.
Q. How critical is it that you get favorable news on Justin Fields being eligible? Your quarterback situation is three deep if he’s eligible.
RYAN DAY: Obviously if that comes through favorable for us, it provides the depth that we need. Tate leaves, comes in, we’re kind of where we started. That’s not the way we designed it, but that’s where we’re at right now. You’d like to have four in today’s day and age. When you look around the country, not too many teams have four quality quarterbacks on their roster. We talked about what it means to be a quarterback in college football today. We’ll be anxiously awaiting. Then once we get the decision, we’ll go from there.
Q. Was Tate leaving a big disappointment? How would you describe it? Did it shock you, surprise you?
RYAN DAY: Without getting too much into it, obviously we wish him nothing but the best. Disappointed to see him leave. But he’ll have a good career.
Q. Yurcich, what do you expect him to bring to pollinate more of this offense? What stands out that you want from him?
RYAN DAY: They do a good job in tempo. They do a good job with RPOs. I thought they did a great job with RPOs. In the run game, they’ve inserted things where they take a tight end fullback and insert him in the run game, which is kind of a pro style way to attack in 11 personnel without getting too into X’s and O’s. I thought they did a really good job of that.
They know how to score points. Being in the Big 12, they score a ton of points. They’re aggressive. If he does a good job of coaching quarterbacks, Mason Rudolph, excited about all those things.
Q. Both you and Justin Fields talked about how they were learning the offense as new guys here. What has been Corey Dennis’ role in helping those two guys quickly develop?
RYAN DAY: He’s a bright young coach in this profession. He’s in a quality control position. He really can do very little in terms of coaching. But his expertise at the quarterback level is increasing every year. I think where he’s coming in a year has been pretty remarkable. I think he made his impact on Dwayne. I think he’s going to make his impact on these guys, as well.
Q. I know the focus since December has been offensive line, going out and finding a couple other guys. In December we didn’t get a chance to talk about your assessment overall of this recruiting class. Can you go position by position?
RYAN DAY: When you look at it, first off the quality is what I keep going back to. A couple people asked how come it’s not a bigger class. I think some people may not understand you only have 85 scholarships every year. You can only sign up to 85. Again, going back with we don’t have a lot of guys leaving the program voluntarily. We only had so many spots this year, only two going into this last signing day.
When you look at what we’ve done at runningback, I think we’ve improved there. We lost Mike. We lost Brian. We get Steele and Marcus is already here doing a good job. Steele is somebody who is very, very talented, comes from a great family. Marcus, Gatorade Player of the Year. We improved our depth there. Those guys will both compete, Marcus in the spring, Steele in the pre-season.
When you look at defensive end, that was really well done. Noah Potter is a guy who has already shown he’s going to work really hard, kind of a guy who we expect to challenge in the spring.
Zach Harrison, going through the recruiting process, I know there’s a lot on his plate. He’s come here and blossomed. Had an unbelievable day today. He’s been killing it in the weight room. Excited about both of those guys.
At linebacker, you have Cade Stover, Tommy Eichenberg and Craig Young. Craig can play a bunch of different positions. Those three guys right there, really good athletes. Cade Stover, Gatorade Player of the Year, excellent athlete. Tommy comes from a great program. Happy to get him down the stretch in December. Then Craig Young, an excellent athlete that can do a lot for us.
When you look at the offensive line, I think you have Ryan, Harry Miller, both of those guys I think have a chance to make an impact and challenge this pre-season. Having Ennok is a way to come in and play for the first year, we’ll see how that goes after the first year. We’re looking to continue with that last spot, till target an offensive lineman.
In the back end, we have Bryson Shaw and Ronnie Hickman. Ronnie is coming off of that injury, doing a good job in rehab. Bryson will be here in the summer. Great family.
Jaden McKenzie, a guy that Larry went and got down the stretch. Came late. We think he’s got great upside.
Cormantae Hamilton, tight end/off the ball, fullback, H back. Can do a lot of things for us, insert, point at the block of attack, athletic at catching the ball.
Wide receiver, Garrett and Jameson, two big-time wideouts. Jameson is a legit down-the-field threat who can play with anybody in the country. We think he’s going to be a really good player. Maybe take a year to develop. But who knows, he may come in and make an impact right away. Garrett we know.
I think that covers everybody.
Q. When was the last time you talked to Jim Harbaugh?
RYAN DAY: Probably in December.
Q. What is your relationship with him? Your offense was pretty effective against him. I’m sure you respect each other, but if I were him, I wouldn’t like you very much.
RYAN DAY: Like any time when you’re hiring somebody, you want to call their boss and talk to them, obviously get their permission before you address them. So went ahead, did that. Had a conversation. Didn’t really know coach up until had that conversation with him.
Q. You’ve been head coach for a month. What have you learned in that time, especially about things you couldn’t possibly have known until you took over the job?
RYAN DAY: I think there’s a lot of things. I think I said this before, maybe even in the pre-season. When you’re walking in these shoes, you notice things you didn’t notice before. More than when I was an assistant coach, I realized what great kids we have, from all the way across the board. When you’re just in the offense, working with the quarterbacks, you’re in the offensive world, you know those guys. You see the guys on defense, wider picture, you realize what great kids they are. What a great university this is, the power Ohio State has all over the country. Whether I’m in Hawaii, Seattle, New York, Cleveland, it’s doesn’t matter. There’s Buckeyes everywhere. You when walk in, have that block O on your shirt, people respect you. People pull for Ohio State.
You shouldn’t have to compromise when you go to recruit a student-athlete here. You should be able to recruit a great player, great families and a great student. We’ve done that here and will continue to do that.
Q. In terms of the quarterback process, you probably as much as you wanted Dwayne to stay knew that the writing was on the wall. When did it really heat up with Justin? How did that work? Tate at the Rose Bowl Media Day was firm about if Dwayne leaves, I’m going to be the starting quarterback, then he was gone. How does that whole process work?
RYAN DAY: I can’t honestly remember exactly what day and how it all worked out. Once Justin went in the portal, there was obviously communication there, there was interest on his end, interest on our end, it went from there.
Q. Can you describe Enokk as a player?
RYAN DAY: Enokk is a very good athlete. He’s a guy that we think can put on a lot of weight, get stronger. He’s super athletic. His father is one of his coaches. He from a young age has trained him to be an offensive lineman, but has done a lot of things with flexibility, body weight stuff. He’s very, very athletic, very agile. With his lower half, we think he’s got the ability to put on a lot of weight.
Q. You said what you want is four quarterbacks. Are you changing that, no longer realistic?
RYAN DAY: I think it’s year in and year out. That’s the ideal spot. You have to adjust with what you have. I think the dynamics every year, I think when you look at the dynamics of every program, you can kind of look at everybody in America and say, That’s a different dynamic, that’s an interesting situation. I got my quarterback for the next three years, then he plays 14 games, ends up third in the Heisman and leaves. You’re looking around, What have we got?
You take it year by year, do the best you can to put the best product on the field, go from there.
Q. If you don’t know what is going on with Justin, does that change the amount of reps Matthew gets?
RYAN DAY: That will be an interesting conversation. Once we get the ruling, we’ll kind of decide from there.
Q. Now that you’ve been going through this process with Justin, I don’t know what your opinion of the transfer rule was before that, has it changed? What is your opinion of should players get a free pass?
RYAN DAY: I think it’s a delicate situation. We’re kind of going with it year in and year out, trying to deal with it, adjust with it. I think there are certainly situations where a kid should be able to play. There’s certain sports where guys can transfer and play right away.
I am in favor of somebody transferring sitting out and getting the year back on the back end. I also am in favor of capping the transfers to two per institution per year, per calendar year. But willing to listen to other arguments.
As I sit here right now, that’s kind of my thought. I know there’s going to be great discussion this spring moving forward. Looking forward to be a part of those.
Q. Certainly you have indication from the NCAA about Justin?
RYAN DAY: Not really. Generally we’re hoping maybe in the next few weeks. But, yeah, not really sure right now. Kind of holding our breath.
Q. To clarify, that’s two incoming transfers a year? That’s the policy you were talking about?
RYAN DAY: Yeah, that’s what I would say. As I sit here right now, that’s what I would be in favor for, yes.
Q. You talked about seeking young guys for your coaching staff. Why was that your strategy? Where did you come up with the formula you did?
RYAN DAY: I think it’s good to have balance. When you have that balance of experience and some veteran guys on the staff, then you balance that off with some younger guys. For a lot of reasons it makes sense.
I think how that works is critical. How the staff is put together really matters as you move forward. It’s something you can’t just throw in there. Just like anybody, anybody who is working with a business or in a corporate environment, the people you work with, it’s really important, building that harmony. I think that’s a good formula to have. Also the personalities, getting to knows these guys was critical.
Q. Off the field how has your life changed? Fame can be challenging. How are you dealing with it? Have you found it to be an issue?
RYAN DAY: It’s different. It certainly is different. It’s been different for my wife, different for the kids. But, again, this is something that I’ve always worked towards, had the vision this is the way my life was going to go. It does take some adjusting.
We talk about it as a family, what that means to our family. We’re not changing anything about us. That’s not going to happen. Really being humble about the fact that — when I walk down to hallway, saw the guys, I don’t know if you saw the new picture up there, again, I go through the names of Urban Meyer, Jim Tressel, Earle Bruce, Woody Hayes, Brown, then you see your picture up there, it takes you to your knees a little bit.
I understand that’s my responsibility. I want to be up there the next 10 to 15 years, win a bunch of championships. That’s not just going to happen. A lot of people count on you in this state, a lot of people in this country are. Buckeye Nation is counting on us to put out a good product on the field. I am working every day to get that right.
Q. A lot more dinners interrupted?
RYAN DAY: I’d say so. I’ve been on my phone from when I wake up till when I go to bed at night for the last two months.
Q. You mentioned a lot about gaining the trust of players, coaches gaining the trust of players, loving them, performing well. How important has that been in the development of Zach Harrison, having Larry Johnson but also Greg and Al?
RYAN DAY: We laugh about it all the time. Zach Harrison right now is walking around with the biggest smile on his face of anybody in the whole campus. The reason for that was in the recruiting process he built relationships with Greg and Al. Obviously built a great relationship with Larry Johnson. These guys are here now, he gets Larry, at Ohio State right down the street. He kind of died and went to heaven. He’s happy about that.
Q. Coach Hafley got up there and discussed how when you were talking about bringing him here, you never once said, I need you to come in here and fix things. You’re talking about what you said about talking with Coach Harbaugh, that may have been back in December, it’s obvious from the time you became the head coach, it seems like a fix or a change or something needed to happen on defense, that defense this past year got sucked along on a championship team, maybe not the reason for it, but is that the thing that was holding you back, could have held this program back if you didn’t make the changes you made?
RYAN DAY: I appreciate the question. But that’s not really how I looked at it. I looked at it just within two to three to four years, that’s kind of the picture in your mind on the trajectory, the vision you’re trying to create. What guys allow you to get you to that vision. That’s really what I spent my time on. The one good thing about this transition was it allowed me a lot of time to think, even in the pre-season, going through the first three games, being in the situation. I kind of felt it for those two months. Then going through bowl practice, when coach retired and I got named, I had that time to kind of think it through.
Like I said, my vision was to have two kind of older guys there with some younger guys to complement them. I just went about the business of going to hire those guys.
Q. Do you feel the scheme will be better suited to not give up those — from a five mile up in the air standpoint, will these guys put things in place, those plays, while they may occur, are not going to be as prevalent?
RYAN DAY: I think anybody who is putting a defense together will tell you they don’t want to have explosive plays. That will be a part of it. It’s really good because there’s so many good ideas in that room. They’re in a laboratory right now putting that all together. Kind of the way two years ago with Urban, myself and Kevin Wilson, we were all in a room together the three of us putting together ideas, how that works. The give and the take there was really good. I think it’s going to be the same way with those guys this year.
Q. Larry Johnson is the guy who is still here from the defense. How important was that, that he’s still here?
RYAN DAY: Very, very important. Larry has been great for me. He was great for me in the summer. He’s been great for me the last couple months. He’s a guy that everybody respects. Obviously the defensive line is the heart and soul. Offensive and defensive line are the guys that run the team. Any time you want to be a championship team, if you don’t win the line of scrimmage, that’s not going to happen. More importantly you have to win the locker room. The defensive line is a big part of that. What he’s recruited to the defensive line, how those guys feel about it. More than that, he’s a father figure to everybody on the team. That was important in making him the associate head coach.
Q. Are you going to pursue a grad transfer at quarterback before the fall? Do you want a fourth?
RYAN DAY: Like I said, we want to be at four. If we get another offensive lineman, we’d be at 53 — excuse me, at 85. We’d be maxed out there. We wouldn’t be able to add anybody. That would be kind of where we’d go.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #2 by #19 at 2019-02-07 15:56:00 GMT