Following the Buckeyes' season opening win over Oregon State, the attention switches to Big Ten play against Rutgers this Saturday.
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THE MODERATOR: We’re going to open it up for questions for Coach Day.
Q. Ryan, it’s such an interesting dynamic. Can you clarify now that Urban is back, is your role as simple as you’re in charge game days and he’s in charge through the week?
RYAN DAY: Coach came back today, we had a meeting earlier this morning, and he’s been meeting with some of the players, so things are back to normal.
Q. You touched on the offense after the game, said it might be a little too fast at times, but if it keeps the defense — they were extremely uncomfortable, and you guys were a little uncomfortable. Is that a trade-off? Does that make sense to you?
RYAN DAY: It was really hot, it was humid, even in warm-ups, and even leading up to the game, so it took a toll on both sides, so it got sloppy there for a while, but we did play some depth in there. I think that was to our advantage in the game. We have shoot almost ten deep at receiver, and we’re three deep at tight end and we actually rolled the offensive line a couple times, so that was to our advantage.
Q. What was the reaction when Urban came back today? Was it strictly normal or was there any —
RYAN DAY: A lot of the coaches hadn’t seen him much, again, so embracing and great to see you back, but we got back to our meeting. We had our meeting; it was business as usual.
Q. How was his demeanor? How would you describe him today?
RYAN DAY: Coach is Coach, you know? Talked to the staff about moving forward, going to the game. We debriefed on Saturday’s game and now we’re working at game planning today.
Q. Coach, I’ve heard more than once that the biggest jump you will every see a player make is between their first game and their second. I’m wondering if you think the same is true of head coaches and if so where your biggest area of improvement might be going from week one to week two?
RYAN DAY: Everything was for the first time on Saturday, so there were just some things made some notes on some things going from offense to special teams to defense, like even at the end of the half, being aware of the situation, making sure I was right there in case we needed timeouts or communicating with Greg and the guys on special teams, so, yeah, anytime you do something for a second time, it becomes easier and more efficient.
Q. How long this week do you make sure that this isn’t the equivalent of Urban writing the first 14 chapters of a book and leaving you to write the big finish?
RYAN DAY: I said it last week, that so much of coaching is done during the week. Today the game planning, the decisions that are made up to the game is really where most of the coaching is done, and then once we get on the field the game plan is in and now it’s just a matter of calling the plays and going from there.
So yeah, it’s kind of Coach is back, and we’re going with Coach, and once we get to the game the decisions are almost made before we get there.
Q. Ryan, I asked you about the tempo after the game and I know it changes throughout the game situation and score, but coming into the season was there any desire to want to play faster, at least at the beginning of the game, and is there anything about that that suits Dwayne better?
RYAN DAY: We like to play with tempo. We played with temp last year as well. I think that our guys are suited for that. What Mick has done with those guys in the summer, getting them in shape, especially the guys up front, they run well, they’re athletic, really good. So that was our thought process going into the season was that we wanted to play with some tempo, and also for a young quarterback at times you get a feel for does it stress him out or does he feel more comfortable in that environment. We found it does make him feel more comfortable, they like playing fast, and in the no-huddle offense I think they feel comfortable playing at that speed.
Q. And with you on the sideline and Kevin in the box and Urban not there to be part of the collaboration, how do you feel the play calling went and how did that maybe impact the speed at which you were able to play?
RYAN DAY: I thought it was pretty efficient. It seemed like we were moving at a good clip. We were snapping the ball pretty fast. I think guys were getting up and getting set. Talked to the receivers, the quarterbacks and the guys carrying the ball to get to the ball to the official a little bit better, so we could be more efficient. We looked at that on film. I thought that was good, but the overall operation I thought was clean.
Q. Ryan, when it comes to Jordan Fuller, do you have an update on how his hamstring is doing, and when you looked at the tape of some of the breakdowns in the secondary, what did you guys see there? Was it young kids making mistakes or easy fixes?
RYAN DAY: Greg is going to come up later, and Greg can address some of that stuff, but Jordan was a game-time decision coming down to the field. Shaun and the guys were working him out to see if he could do it. We felt like it was better to hold him, so we made that decision, and he’s getting treatment today and obviously this weekend so looking forward to getting him in practice this week and going from there.
Q. Demario McCall is somebody that a lot of people are very interested in, and I know he was supposed to be a return man, and he didn’t really see the field much. What’s his status in terms of, is it just too many people returned, is it going to be hard to get him on the field? What’s your viewpoint of his role on this team?
RYAN DAY: He’s part of a group that’s pretty deep right now. He’s working his way up. He had a nice return in the game. I think it was 26 yards, really did a nice job there, ball was high, nice and tight, so ball security.
Anytime you put that on film that’s going to give us more and more confidence to put him back out there.
Q. You mentioned receivers and the depth, and I know one guy that will have a big game this week might be a little quieter next week. Terry McLaurin one of your leaders on the team, we have only known him for a couple of years, but he’s come a long way. He has worked so hard, and he has a game like he did last week, what does that do for you as a coach? How did that make you feel?
RYAN DAY: That was probably one of my — in terms of looking at the game and watching the film, something that was — I was proud of him. Because Terry has put a lot of work in here. He’s a captain. He’s one of our best practice players. Practices really hard, he blocks really, really well, does all those things.
Like you said, there have been times in his career where it’s faith without results, where — just keep running the route, Terry, the ball is going to find you, and it did. Very happy for him, well deserved, and I think that he is a great start to a great year for him.
Q. What does it says about that group where they can go a game without a catch, but nobody seems to mind?
RYAN DAY: Says a lot about that room and the leadership in that room. I think sometimes as receivers, you can get selfish. I don’t think that’s a selfish group. They pull for each other, and they know that if we are playing fast and we are playing depth they need each other, so it does say a lot about that group.
Q. Ryan, obviously Mike Weber had a great day. Were you happy looking back on it, the way that those guys, Weber and J.K. were rotating, and is that what we’re likely to see this week?
RYAN DAY: It is, kind of like we talked about going in, I keep saying it’s a two-headed monster. You’ve got two guys going there that are really, really talented. Sometimes it is the way that the play was blocked, you know, where we got Mike to the safety a couple of times, but Mike, you know, made those plays count.
He made those safeties miss on several occasions. So he was running downhill, but J.K. played well, as well, so we will continue with that kind of rotation and they need each other. Like we said, same thing. When you are playing — I think we had 91 plays to film, I don’t know how many of those were penalties but it was high. You need the play depth. And then you saw Brian and Master get in there and also run the ball when they had a chance as well, so good group as well.
Q. Obviously a unique situation you taking over for the weekend. When do you get the reigns back Friday night or Saturday, and are you doing anything different to make sure that transition goes smoothly?
RYAN DAY: No, we’re going to pick it up from when Coach was here. He will be with the team on Friday, he can’t be with them on Saturday, but other than that we will keep the routine, which is what we did last week. We did everything we would do normally, and now it’s just great to have Coach back so we can keep things rolling.
Q. Did he beat everybody to the office this morning?
RYAN DAY: I don’t know. I know he was excited to get back here.
Q. Ryan, now that you have a game as a head coach under your belt, do you feel like as you go into these meetings with Coach Meyer and the rest was the coaches on the staff that you can take a little bit more influence or you have more input than you did before?
RYAN DAY: No. I think it’s been a group effort the whole time, and I’ve referred to these guys and everybody on this staff, like I said a million times, how unbelievable this coaching staff is, and it’s been a group effort all along. I don’t think I’ve done anything more than what is required in this situation. Now we have Coach back, kind of keep that going, it’s a group effort as we move forward.
And I also think that when you look at our staff, you know, the way that our staff is built, on offense it’s Kevin and I working together.
Then we have, you know, Greg, Tony, Brian and the whole offensive staff. It is a collaborative effort. We take a lot of pride in that. Everybody has a certain area that they work on, so somebody might have third downs, somebody might have short yardage, somebody has the run game, first and second down, so everybody adds that into the game plan and that’s what you see on Saturday.
Q. Did Coach Meyer give you an assessment on your performance this morning?
RYAN DAY: I think the comment he made was, “You only had to punt once, huh? That’s a pretty good day.” I said, “Yeah.”
Q. Ryan, one of the first things Dwayne said when he came out on Saturday was talking about the interception, not the good stuff that happened. I imagine as a coach that’s what you would rather hear, that they’re looking at the mistakes not what they did well. When you guys look at that play in particular or maybe some others for Saturday, where do you see room for him to grow?
RYAN DAY: I think what happens is as you step up into the conference and some of the games get a little tighter, the decisions that you make become more and more consequential, so he needs to understand that. We all do. It wasn’t just the throw, either, there was a little bit of breakdown up front, he got forced to throw the ball a little bit sooner than he should have. So that’s how you can lose a game. So we have to understand that. As a whole offense, one play can ruin your whole afternoon, and we have to be aware of that, so as the games get closer and closer, we’re on top of that and, you know, we’re making good decisions to manage the game.
One thing I do want to say about that interpretation that was remarkable was the effort on that play to tackle the ball carrier. It was a crazy play, and the ball squirted out and two guys in particular if you go back and watch the film ended up getting him down was Binjimen Victor and Isaiah Prince and to see 59 running the length of the field to make that tackle was really amazing. It wasn’t a fun play to watch, it was a mess, but the effort on that play to get him down was remarkable.
Q. When it comes to getting Tate involved, was that — where he came in that first time, was that always part of the plan or take me through how you approach maybe not disrupting the offense, getting Tate involved, how that plan will go moving forward?
RYAN DAY: I think it will change as we go into each week and what we see with the defense. We want to kinda get him in the game. How it plays out, can’t really predict how that’s going to work, but we definitely want to get him in the game and let him go play.
Q. Ryan, just to clarify, did you move your stuff out of Urban’s office last night or this morning? (Laughter.)
RYAN DAY: I think you know the answer to that.
Q. It seems like Dwayne throws in rhythm, middle of the field, those intermediate throws. How comfortable is he making those throws? How good is he at sort of just evaluating this is where this should go, my guy is there, let’s do it?
RYAN DAY: The ball comes out of his hand quick as you can see, and he is a rhythm passer. So much of that has to go with the protection. When he has a nice pocket and the guys are doing a good job in protection, the spacing is right, the separation with the receivers is right, then that’s when you can see we get into a rhythm and a tempo. That part is good.
If there is a breakdown anywhere along the line that’s where, you know, you can disrupt a passing game. So we spend a lot of time talking about that and our offensive line and Coach Stud does a great job in protection. We have to block some really good guys on defense every day so that helps us in these situations. It is a collaborative effort. He does get the ball out quickly though, and he’s accurate when he throws it.
Q. Why didn’t he just, like, throw 50-yard dep throws? He has a big arm. Why aren’t you calling shot after shot after shot?
RYAN DAY: Based on what the defense is giving you, so if that corner is playing really, really soft, and they’re giving you stuff underneath because maybe they’re respecting our speed, then you have to take the stuff that’s underneath. Secondly, when you’re playing fast, if you run a guy call all the way down the field and possibly miss the throw, that takes a long time for him to get all the way back so all that stuff goes into consideration, but you have to take what the defense is giving you.
You can’t force things down the field, and some young guys want to do that. They want to take their shots. They get hungry, want to take a shot down the field, if there is a safety sitting in the middle of the field at 25 yards, you can’t throw a post, so that’s all part of maturing.
Q. Coach, did Coach Meyer give you any advise on what he thinks you could do better this Saturday, and, secondly, any reaction to Joe Burrow’s first game and the outpouring he got from his former teammates?
RYAN DAY: Really happy for Joe, texted Joe and his parents to let him know how happy I was for him, seeing him out there playing and really happy for he and his family. It was great to see him get a win.
I don’t know what happened but in the scuffle before the game in the mix, didn’t surprise me. He’s a competitive guy, so it was funny seeing him out there. And the other question, there wasn’t much conversation about that with Coach.
Q. Follow Saturday you mentioned the 50/50 split for J.K. and Mike. How necessary is it to make sure you don’t need to pull one of those guys out for a series, because you want to keep that tempo? I think it was only one drive when you had the first team in that you switched in between from one back to another, do you need those guys to go that full drive to have that tempo going?
RYAN DAY: Good question. We just talked about that in meetings. Sometimes when you go with a series that there is four plays. They’re just rolling. You know, we had a couple of those drives. But then if it gets into six, seven, eight, nine play range, it also depends on what he’s involved in. If he just had a run for ten, and he turns around and runs the ball over here for another ten, and now you get to play four and five, and he starts to show fatigue, then that might be a time to get him out.
So we’re communicating on the headset, talking about when we can take a guy in and take a guy out, because when you sub, the referees will show you down. When you don’t sub, we can go as fast as they can put the ball down, and the referee gets out of the way. But if we sub, they will slow the game down.
Q. Second start for a quarterback is always interesting because now there is a full amount of game film on him. As a coach who works with quarterbacks, how do you manage that chess match knowing that now the defenses have a little bit more knowledge and how do you have to mask tendencies and continue to evolve to make sure they’re not keying on anything that you were doing on Saturday?
RYAN DAY: I think you talk about. I think that you try and figure out early on what they were doing, like we said going into the game last week. We had to figure out in the first quarter what we were doing, and also on third down, they’ll have something cooked up on third down.
Just making the quarterback aware there may be something new, and if there is, and maybe, you know, we weren’t prepared for it, it’s something that’s catching us off guard, the first time you see it, it can’t ruin the game. You check the ball down, maybe we have punt. We get on the sideline, we make the end game adjustment and get it fixed.
Q. Chris Olave is a guy who is under the radar in recruiting but he’s clearly made an impression on the staff and his teammates. How was he able to do that and what kind of a role can he have this year?
RYAN DAY: I was fortunate enough to recruit Chris. I was out recruiting a quarterback out in California and they said, we have this great receiver here who didn’t play his junior year, so we watched him play his senior year and really just tore it up the first few games and we fell in love with him. Comes from a really good family, four-sport athlete, and we knew right when he got here that he was special. He’s got really good speed.
Great hand-eye coordination. So his work ethic, to go along with that has been excellent. And he’s got great guys in a room to follow. When you’re sitting right next to Parris Campbell and Johnnie Dixon and Terry McLaurin everyday, watching they way they go about their business, then it gives you a great role model moving forward. Proud of where he is, and you’ll see him at some point have an impact on the season.
Q. Ryan, as you look back on Saturday, what is the biggest thing you learned as a head coach in game? What is that thing that sticks with you right now that you didn’t know 48 hours ago?
RYAN DAY: I don’t know if there is one thing. I think that, again, like I was saying before, being aware of everything that’s going on, so, like, for instance, if we’re trying to make an adjustment on offense and maybe the defense needs a timeout, you know, the coach has to call the timeout, so being available to have communication with special teams, being available to have communication with the defense, are we looking to go after a punt, are we not looking to go after a punt, are we going to return it, those type of things while we’re trying to make adjustments on the sidelines with the offensive line, running backs, quarterbacks and such, so I think that whole thing was probably the biggest thing that kinda caught me a little bit, and so you learn from it, be better this weekend.
Q. Did you see anything that told you Oregon State is respecting the passing game more than maybe other defenses previously or in different ways, meaning with Dwayne back there, with a better gun, for want of another term, than J.T. had? Did you see anything that was —
RYAN DAY: I know what you’re asking, yeah, you’re saying was it softer coverage or the box less loaded? No, didn’t see that. We did come out early and throw the ball a little bit, so I think that may have affected it, but then you’ve still got to deal with Mike and with J.K. It was soft, the corners were soft, there wasn’t as much challenge on the line of scrimmage, and that may have been the respect for our receivers, but we didn’t see anything there that caught us as unusual.
Q. And who — God forbid something happened to Dwayne or Tate, who is your third quarterback now?
RYAN DAY: Well, we have three guys there. Matt Baldwin, this week, will start doing some more, so we will see how he does this week. He’s getting closer. Chris Chugunov is a graduate transfer, just kinda showed up. He’s kind of like a guy who got signed off of waivers, and he’s here, but he just got here, so he’s learning the offense. We will see how he does this week.
Then Kory Curtis was our third string quarterback in preseason camp, so all three of those guys are helping out a little bit. They’re all working to improve, and I think as the next couple of weeks progress we will have a better idea who that guy is.
Q. When Urban showed up today was it obvious in meetings and stuff that he didn’t just sit around for a month? Could you tell he was up on Rutgers, up on Texas Christian, what was the sense you got from him about the homework he did in his off time?
RYAN DAY: Coach was up with everything right from the start today.
Q. With regard to the deep passes, was it a plan to attack deep, given Dwayne’s arm or did you have to go into the game and take what the defense gives you and approach it that way?
RYAN DAY: Yeah, we want to challenge people horizontally, so some of the bubble passes that we got out to Parris, and then the speed sweep that you saw him going sideways, that was a way to stretch it horizontally, and then we want to stretch it vertically, and that’s with the shots down the field, but if they’re playing soft, then you can’t force the action, you’ve got to keep us in rhythm.
If you’re playing fast, and you’re playing in rhythm and the guys are taking the underneath stuff — we called some plays that in certain coverages would dictate throwing a post or seam or down the field but because the coverage was softer you saw us come underneath and get some completions.
Q. How have you liked Dwayne’s deep ball throwing? I know you track the completions. How has he done with that?
RYAN DAY: He’s been good. He’s been good. Practice, and we work on it a lot, and the receivers do a good job of tracking it. We’ll see the more we do that in the games, then we will see where it’s at.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you very much. We’ll have Coach Schiano here in a second, folks.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll open up questions for Coach Schiano.
Q. After you reviewed the film what disappointed you most about your defense?
GREG SCHIANO: There was a lot of good stuff on the tape, so I wasn’t disappointed other than there were some plays that I was disappointed in. There was actually I think it was 82% of the offense came on seven plays, 82% of their production. We can’t allow that. Have to go back a long time to remember two long runs like that, not only here but anywhere. It’s unacceptable.
We made a small error on the one long touchdown pass, couple small errors but when you’re playing RPO’s and people are spreading you outside line to sideline you can make a mistake and they can may you pay. So good lessons to be learned. It’s not an acceptable performance, but there was a lot of good things, too. Two sudden changes and you make them attempt a field goal on both of them, they made one, and missed one, and that’s your goal when you go out after a sudden change on the plus 25 or in, can you make them attempt a field goal. They did it both times. I thought that was excellent.
Scoring on defense, that’s one of our goals, you score on defense. And it really is the way we like to play football here, we had a great punt, 50-something yards and pinned them back and had an opportunity to score as a defense on the sack fumble. There are a lot of good things. We got to play a ton of people.
As I said early on we have a young group, four or five of their guys that was their first significant action. I think we learned a lot, always people say between week one and week two is when you make your most improvement and when you’re an awe young unit that even multiplies. We need to improve, that’s for sure, that’s not what we want to see out there, but the opportunity is there.
Q. You mentioned some young guys and that was maybe their first performance. Tommy Togiai, looked like he played well, is that correct, and maybe some of the other first-time guys that flashed?
GREG SCHIANO: Well, yeah, we played a lot of guys, so young guys got some opportunities. I thought Tommy played strong. He is strong. I thought Tyler Friday did his job, nothing spectacular, but I always look at young guys when you watch them on tape do they look like they belong.
That to me is the measuring stick. Tyreke Smith got in there early and played and I thought did a good job, and I’ll probably leave somebody out but, you know, it’s good to get ’em out there playing. That’s the benefit of getting a big lead like that.
We played, I don’t know how many defensive linemen, we maybe played 14 or 16 guys on the defensive line, which is always a positive.
Q. How do you scheme against a guy who has only made one collegiate start?
GREG SCHIANO: A lot of times you hear that question about the individual, the quarterback, per se. More than that it is what does it allow the offensive coordinator to do? As a coach you have to scheme against the plays that all 11 guys are going to do. I’m familiar with the quarterback because he’s a Jersey kid, and I knew him back when, and then obviously through recruiting. He is a big, strong arm drop-back passer with good mobility. He’s not a stiff back there, so you have to be ready to be able to have ways to get him down when he does move.
So it will be interesting, Coach McNulty and I go back a long way. He was on my staff twice. Once at Rutgers, where he was my offensive coordinator and once at Tampa, where he coached the quarterbacks. So he’s familiar with us defensively, and we’re familiar with him. Some of that can be an issue.
He knows the verbiage, and I’m sure he’s going to tell his players that, so we’ll have to change some of the words we use on the field, some of the calls, so they’re not aware exactly what’s happening.
Q. Could you assess the play of the safeties. Obviously you didn’t have Jordan. Do you expect him back? Can you assess the way Josh and Isaiah played?
GREG SCHIANO: First, we hope to have Jordan back. That was a game-time decision. There was a lot of good things they did, and there was a lot of learning that they can take from that tape and that performance, which is good. They’re going to have to — anytime you start two guys at the same position which is the middle of your — going into the game we knew we were going to have a brand new “Mike” linebacker and two brand new safeties. That’s like starting a new catcher and a new shortstop and a new pitcher in baseball, right up the middle.
So we knew that there could be some growing pains there. Overall I thought they were solid and made some mistakes, but now at least we have a leaping off point. Now we have to go and see how fast we can ascend, and if we get Jordan back that makes a big difference.
Q. Just about Urban Meyer coming back today, what was it like in the room when he did return?
GREG SCHIANO: It was good. Excited to have him back, everybody is. Coach is a very focused guy, as you know, and we hit it running, got back to it.
Q. Greg, what’s the plan with Tuf now moving forward since he was able to get in, and when you have young guys at linebacker, how can a presence from Tuf help settle things down a bit for those young guys experiencing new things?
GREG SCHIANO: You saw Tuf, I think he had ten plays and that was his pitch count and it’s all part of his recovery. There are different stages, right? He went through the rehab, then through independent running and change of directions, and then he went into individual technique work and then into some team stuff, and part of that is going and playing live football, and he did that for ten plays. So we look for that to increase. How much, we will work with our training staff and our medical staff to figure out what’s optimal.
I thought that Baron did a nice job in there. So as we progress, they’re both going to play, they’re both really good football players. How much you kinda got to see how the week goes. Not only will we up his reputations in the game, we will do that in practice as well. We’ve been fortunate, there has been zero set-back so far, but you never know.
Q. I think Dwayne was an 8th grader in South Brunswick when you were at Rutgers. Were you familiar with him at all? I know he is close with Mo Sanu. He talked about how much he liked the program when you were coaching there. Do you guys talk about that at all, sort of you had a role, and he was a kid watching you guys play?
GREG SCHIANO: Sure. We have a connection. I remember when I started at Ohio State and we were recruiting him, his dad sent me the picture of him and I at camp together. He came to our camp. And Mo is — very close to Mo. So yeah, there definitely is a connection with Mohamed, his family. He grew up right across the river from Rutgers, so he’s a local guy, so we know a lot of the same people. Great to see him have the performance he did.
Q. Did you ever think maybe if you were still there he would end up being a quarterback at Rutgers some day?
GREG SCHIANO: I haven’t thought of that, but he was in our little guys camp, and so were my twins. I remember them coming down to my office, he was playing wide-out in the pick-up, 7-on-7 games, and they said there is one kid up there we can’t cover. Nobody can cover him. So it was kind of prophetic.
Q. You touched on how Baron played. I think as Tuf continues to recover I think people have this vision that he’s going to be the guy that steps in and takes a big role on this team. Can you be more specific about what you saw out of him and do you think that he played well enough to continue with that role moving forward?
GREG SCHIANO: How Baron played? Like I said last week, I think we have more than three linebackers that should play, so we’re going to do that. We’re going to try to work those guys in the lineup and Baron is one of those guys. As Tuf comes back I can see them ham and eggin’ it, there are certain things that each of them do well right now.
That’s our job. That’s not the only linebacker position where we need to do that. We have other guys that can play as well. Dante Booker is coming back from his injury, how does he fit into playing. Justin Hilliard, I think Justin is playing at a high level.
So it’s a good — I don’t call it a “problem,” it’s a good situation to have. We have to figure out optimal way to get the best performance from everyone. You saw in package ages, third down packages who goes in, we were talking about that this morning, how do we get everybody on the field and get everybody a role. Inning that’s be important. I know this for a fact you prepare better when you can visualize what your role is going to be. The role may change second play of the game, but I think it helps you in preparing for the game. And now we’re into game weeks, they really go fast, Saturday turns into Saturday really quickly.
Q. Coach, I know you personally have a soft spot for Rutgers, but what’s your value to the week to having an improved Rutgers? Some would say having a top heavy league you can still get a team to the national championship, what’s the value of having teams like Rutgers and Minnesota and teams that seem to be on the upswing? What’s the value to having them play well?
GREG SCHIANO: Well, general terms the more competitive teams you have the better the league, right? That’s general terms. I think Rutgers specifically, its location is key. It is right across the river from New York City, it brings a huge market with it and when Rutgers is doing well that market gets behind it.
It’s like so many urban areas, though, when you’re winning, the hot thing, people want to be there. I can remember when we started winning, now all of the sudden the Giants are on our sidelines, the Jets and the pro baseball players. When you’re not winning, they’re not there. They’re not going to be seen at an event that’s not an event. So I think that’s good for the league to get that far east coast going. That’s nothing but good for the league.
Q. I hate to be stupid, but I don’t understand the value of balance. Because if you had a league that was Ohio State and Alabama and all of the rest of the teams were Podunk U, it would still be a great team worthy of a national championship, so what’s the value of having week in and week out a really tough opponent?
GREG SCHIANO: Well, couple things. One if you’re a fan, right, of a league or a conference, you love to see competitive games. At least I do as a fan of other sports.
And this sport. I love going home and watching college football when we’re done. But I think also, you know, the old saying iron sharpens iron. When you play in a league that every week you better buckle it up or you’re going to get beat, it makes you better, it improves you as a whole organization.
Q. Greg, is there any sentiment or anything that crops up whenever you guys play Rutgers with your connection and does that factor into game week at all? Do you have somewhat of a relationship with Rutgers? Do you talk to Chris and any of those guys?
GREG SCHIANO: Sure. As far as it applies to game week there is no factor. You’re going to prepare when you’re a coach at Ohio State it’s a very high standard and you’re going to do everything in your power to meet that standard. As far as is it sentimental? Sure it is. We built that program and really, you know, to come back to your question, from 2002 on, that was always my goal, you know, is we gotta get Rutgers in the Big Ten. I believed that’s where it belonged, the kind of academic institution it is, land grant institution, so I’m really proud that Rutgers is in the Big Ten.
So when we get ready to play, I know people that are still there, Coach Ash and I are friends. Sure, when you built something you never forget about it, but now it’s our job to beat them, and our job — my job is to make sure that the defense plays the way they’re capable of playing against them.
And they’re better. You look at the offense, we’re game planning as we speak. They’re a much better team, and I think Coach McNulty was a great acquisition. Chris had the ability to get Coach and to be his offensive coordinator, and I really think what they’re doing, it gives us challenges.
Q. Obviously you have a big game coming up against TCU, in Texas. I know you guys like to focus on one game at a time, but maybe phrase it this way: What’s the biggest couple of things you would like to see change on the defensive side of the football this week versus Rutgers, especially with a big game like that down in Texas looming next week?
GREG SCHIANO: Well, first, I know people say, coaches they — we really do that, because coaches as a group, it’s all about here. Certainly as the leader you have to have some plans of what is going on in the background, because you’re always a week ahead, but all our focus is on one team and that’s the team we’re playing this that week. But what we need to see get better on defense, there is plenty of that. I think anytime you miss any tackles, that’s expected a little bit in the first game, but we really need to work on our angles of entry in our tackles, because that was an issue.
There were some issues in the past game. We had two DPIs called on us, defensive pass interference, which I’m not a lunatic when we get a DPI. That he happens. You’re covering guys that are on scholarship too, and they’re good players, but if they’re avoidable, those are the ones that bother you. Some are unavoidable. You’re being aggressive, you make a play and you get a flag thrown, that happens. So we need to make sure that gets cleaned up.
We had too many big plays. It’s okay if a guy misses a tackle or makes a mistake, but we should have overlap and have guys there that can get him down. If it’s 16 or 18 yards that’s fine, but it can’t be an 80-yard play. You don’t live very long as a defense if you are giving up 80-yard plays.
Q. Did Urban tell you how he spent his last three weeks, especially Saturday afternoon?
GREG SCHIANO: No. Like I said, we got right down to business. Today is a big day as a coach. Monday is your big game planning day, and Coach was sensitive to that. We got together as a staff and met, and it wasn’t very long and then get together and being work on the game plans.
Q. Ryan said maybe the biggest area he learned or challenge he had as a head coach was balancing all three phases while making adjustments on offense. How did he juggle those things and did you give him any pointers on that?
GREG SCHIANO: I thought Ryan did an excellent job, not only on game day, but as I said last week, leading up to all of the decisions he had to make, and the leadership he provided. But game day, when you’re calling the game as a head coach is different than when you’re not. I’ve done both. Because you’re ultimately you’re responsible for the call that goes in in a timely fashion, but you’re also responsible for game management and keeping an eye on the other side of the ball and the kicking game. I’m sure his plate was full, but he did a great job.
Q. Greg, with the pass rush that you guys have, I know Saturday is just one game. Do you anticipate that the screens and the quick throws and misdirection, that’s going to be how teams decide to attack you and negate that and how do you adjust to that?
GREG SCHIANO: Without a doubt it will be. Some of those screens we didn’t exactly do things the way we want them done, so we have to improve and get that done. The risk you have, you have to be careful because when you are evaluating your performance, did we do when we set out to do schematically and from a technique stand point. If we did and it didn’t worked then we gotta find a new way to do it. If we didn’t, then let’s go do what we said we were going to do and then evaluate it. There is a little bit of that. We need to make sure we’re on point with our details.
Some of it, like I said, first game, uneasiness for some guys, but another opportunity this week, because they screen in every way we saw Saturday, this team did it to their opponent last Saturday. So we know we have them all, and I’m sure they have a few we haven’t seen.
Q. How much of those “teachable” moments do you expect from a team or a first-time guy on a Saturday. How much do you have to live with as a coach when you see them go out there and do that?
GREG SCHIANO: Not as many as we had. That’s not, to me, acceptable. It all comes back to coaching. We have to limit those. We had too many.
Q. What did y’all miss with Jordan Fuller not being there? Obviously he was elected captain. I think he does a lot of calls. What do you think y’all missed in the secondary with three young starters back there, making adjustments, as you analyzed the video?
GREG SCHIANO: You know, we did a pretty good job with the adjustments. I think one thing Jordan gives you is kind of a sweeper back there, an insurance policy. He’s a very good tackler in space and, again, I don’t know if he’s there, do we get some of those plays? Can’t live in the speculative world, but I like our odds with him. He’s an experienced player who is one of the best in the country at what he does. Certainly you miss a guy of that caliber when he’s not playing.
Q. Up front, seemed like the front had a pretty good day, but what did you see, like Nick was saying there were some mistakes made, etcetera, by the guys up front, but what did you see from them in particular that needs to get cleaned up?
GREG SCHIANO: Well, I think Nick and Dre’Mont played very, very well. When you look at their performance it was kind of off the charts, right? Some of the other things — you know, so much of what football is today with all the shotgun and the ride and read stuff it’s option football and when you don’t take care of your responsibility one of those options pops free. We had that a couple times. We need to clean that up.
Obviously the off-sides penalties are frustrating when you jump off sides and give them a free play, and if you remember one of those off-sides — actually two of those off-sides were also DPIs. And what most offenses have built in, doesn’t matter what the play is if you clearly feel, see, hear the off-sides, it’s an automatic deep shot.
You don’t need extra deep shots, that’s for sure, and we need to do a better job with that.
Q. How do you think Kendall and Okudah played?
GREG SCHIANO: I think they played solid. They didn’t have a ton of opportunities. The one was kind of a freakish on Kendall, a jump ball, underthrown ball deal, certainly like to come down with that, but it doesn’t always happen, and those DPIs on Jeff, those are close calls. Like I told them, if you put yourself in the shoes of the judge that’s watching, you might call it, too.
So our saying around here is if they throw the flag, it’s a penalty. Doesn’t matter what you think. You don’t get a vote in that one.
Q. Pete Werner, you were praising him last week. Did he live up to your expectations? Obviously caused the fumble that was the touchdown, et cetera, what did you see out of him?
GREG SCHIANO: I thought Pete played well. Did he make mistake, sure, everybody did, including yours truly, but I thought Pete played at a high level of speed and plays the game with great passion and really is a contact player. He’s going to hit you. Bright future for him. We’re looking forward to seeing him get better and better.
Q. What did Okudah do exactly on the two pass interferences? How close was he on playing that right?
GREG SCHIANO: When you look at pass interference, what I try to explain to the corners is if you restrict them, now you give the official a chance to make the call, and he just had his arm kind of — it’s called an arm bar, we don’t teach that here but a lot of guys do it naturally. They want to make sure it’s like a safety belt. We just got to keep running and make the play.
There is one play, if you freeze it, you would think Okudah was the wide receiver. He was on the outside, and the receiver was trying to play so he didn’t intercept it, but he got called because he put his arm out. So little things like that we have to work on, but I thought he was in really good position on both plays. Just gotta avoid that penalty.
Q. We know you guys have done the three-corner rotation typically here. Are you good with that? Is that working? That’s what you’re going to continue with?
GREG SCHIANO: I think it is. Shaun Wade got in there and did a nice job as well and Marcus Williamson, he’s going to. He was a little bumped up during camp, so he didn’t get all the reps he needs so, I think we have depth there, and may be more than three we play there, and then the nickel is a corner position as well.
Q. And nickel, you’re putting the top three corners out there, right? That’s your nickel look at the moment?
GREG SCHIANO: Yeah, and we were talking today there might be some mixes and matches and give everybody a role and something to focus on and know that they’re going to get in a game. Thanks, guys.