“I don’t think I’ve had expectations,” Day said Monday. “We always want to be further along than you are. Always. So as a coach you’re always going to go home and be like, ‘Man, I wish we were better in this area. I wish we were better over here. I wish we were better over there,’ and I do. I feel like that all the time, but that’s part of being a coach. We want to be further along, but I do think a lot of progress has been made, it’s been a good spring.
Here are five takeaways from Day’s interview and an open viewing window of practice:
1. The coach is most happy with the team’s attitude and effort.
“I think we’ve done a good job recruiting. I think we have some talent,” Day said. “I really like the guys, just in terms of their leadership, the way that their energy is on the field. I think the biggest concern I would have is just, you know we’re in terms of playing the game you know we missed the whole half a season last year. We didn’t have a (regular) preseason, and we didn’t have bowl practice all those things. We’re just behind playing the game. There’s so many guys last year that missed a lot of reps.”
2. He is still worried about lack of experience — especially given the way the schedule lays out.
The lack of practice time last year exacerbates the loss of veterans such as Justin Fields at quarterback and linebackers Pete Werner, Baron Browning, Justin Hilliard and Tuf Borland.
“We had some veteran guys that not only had great leadership but just had played a lot of football around here,” Day said. “So that’s my concern, especially when we go into the season because we jump right into conference play with Minnesota and then quickly turn around and play Oregon at home the first two games of the season. So I’d say probably that’s my biggest concern.”
3. One key offensive lineman was back while another was gone.
Harry Miller, a starter at guard last season who has been considered the most likely replacement for Josh Myers at center, is less-than-full-go this spring as he recovers from an unspecified injury. Unlike a week ago when media was allowed to watch some of practice, Miller was in uniform and took part in some drills with the rest of the offensive line.
Nicholas Petiti-Frere, the starting right tackle last season, was not seen, and Day said he had a “short-term injury.”
When the line was together for various drills, the No. 1 unit consisted of Thayer Munford and Dawand Jones at tackle, Josh Fryar and Paris Johnson Jr. at the guards and Luke Wypler at center.
As previously identified by the coaching staff, the three players getting work at center with Miller out were Wypler, Matthew Jones and Jakob James.
4. Day feels good about the depth on the line being assembled by coach Greg Studrawa.
“I think Stud’s done a really good job of recruiting, and we have different shapes and sizes and also have some versatility in there,” Day said.
With players such as Fryar, Johnson and both Joneses developing and veterans like Miller and Petit-Frere expected to be full-go by the preseason, Studrawa could have the enviable issue of more than five guys ready to play.
Day indicated that might me playing more than five regularly.
“It’s a team effort,” Day said. “We’re gonna possibly roll some guys this year because we have a lot of talented dudes in the room.
“I think things are going well. We’re going to continue to develop some of the guys in there. We have developed some guys into being good players, and it’s fun to see where that’s headed here this year because I think we have a chance to have a really good room.”
5. Not much has changed with the quarterbacks.
Redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud continued to take the first first-team reps through most of the activities that took place while the media was present, but classmate Jack Miller III and true freshman Kyle McCord are still in the mix.
All showed off impressive arms on a chilly, windy day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
“There’s a lot to improve on with all three guys,” Day said. “They need a million reps, and the minute you think one guy’s taking a step forward, he does something foolish. Then somebody else will make a play and they’re coming on and then it flips the other way.
“But that’s expected, and you know that going in.”