National Championship: Ryan Day says Ohio State will have ‘plenty of players’ to face Alabama, including Justin Fields

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, left, talk with quarterback Justin Fields during the second half of their NCAA college football game against Nebraska Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Nebraska 52-17. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, left, talk with quarterback Justin Fields during the second half of their NCAA college football game against Nebraska Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Nebraska 52-17. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Credit: Jay LaPrete

Credit: Jay LaPrete

Ohio State football coach Ryan Day confirmed the Buckeyes are still on target to play Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday night.

He offered little information in regards to the state of his roster beyond that.

“We’ll have plenty of players,” he said when asked how many would be available.

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The Buckeyes have had to go into action down multiple players — be it from positive COVID-19 tests, contact tracing or injury — the last three games but have not confirmed who would be in uniform until hours before each kickoff.

Earlier in the day, Alabama coach Nick Saban had seemed to confirm discussions about postponing the game had occurred (as reports by multiple outlets Tuesday) because of positive cases at Ohio State.

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Saban spoke in the past tense as far as discussions, though, and Day expressed confidence the game will be played.

The coach of the Buckeyes also acknowledged there is no time to relax between now and then.

“The way this has gone, the minute you want to feel good and take a deep breath and count your blessings and feel the reward of what you’ve done, something new comes at you and you just got to handle it,” Day said. “So, I know this the finish line is coming on Monday. We got to finish this thing strong, no matter what comes our way.”

Beyond that, Day said there was no update on Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who played most of the win over Clemson last week in pain after taking a helmet to the side from Tigers linebacker James Skalski.

“We don’t really give injury updates,” Day said.

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Fields followed Day in the virtual interview room and removed any doubt he would play against Alabama on Monday night, but he did not offer much clarification on how he felt.

“I’ll be good by Monday night,” he replied.

The quarterback also offered a defense of how his health situation was dealt with by Ohio State team doctors, including head physician Dr. Jim Borchers, in the Sugar Bowl.

“I have full trust in the trainers and Dr. Borchers,” Fields said. “I wasn’t hesitant about anything they gave me. They handled it the way I would want it to be handled.”

After the game, Fields had said he wasn’t sure what the diagnosis was but that he had just received two shots for pain and gone back in the game after missing one play.

“I put my full trust in those guys,” Fields said Thursday. “It was not like, ‘Oh they just shot him up and sent him back out there.’ It wasn’t like that. I think they did a full analysis of my injury and what it was and I was really comfortable with that.”

MONDAY’S GAME

Ohio State vs. Alabama, 8 p.m., ESPN, 1410

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