Ohio State football: Coming off bye week, Day looks ahead to Hoosiers; Buckeyes get commitment from defensive end

COLUMBUS -- With Ohio State beginning another game week, coach Ryan Day met with reporters Tuesday to talk about what the Buckeyes did during the open week in their schedule.

He also looked ahead to Indiana.

The matchup with the Hoosiers on Saturday night kicks off the second half of the season that could include games against three top 10 teams.

Here are five things to know from Tuesday:

1. Day thinks the Buckeyes accomplished what they wanted to in the week off.

“The first thing obviously on a bye week is to evaluate where you’re at, certainly personnel-wise and how you’re coaching, but then you also have the rest part of it. It’s the midway point of the season so you want to make sure the guys are rested up, but then you also want to get some fundamentals and get some guys some work and do some teaching.

“We did that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, so we’ll see. We’ve got a really big practice today.”

2. He expects two big pieces of the defense to be available.

Cornerback Cam Brown has been in and out of the lineup this season with unspecified injury issues, and defensive tackle Haskell Garrett left Ohio State’s last game with an apparent leg injury.

The official availability list won’t come out until Saturday, but Day said he expects both of them to be available.

3. Day was not ready to say if the Buckeyes are all set for a second half of the season that figures to be daunting.

“We’ll see,” Day said of a slate that begins with an Indiana team that surprised last season but is having a disappointing 2021 and ends with a Michigan team that could be on the upswing after a disastrous 2020.

In between, the Buckeyes will play host to Penn State, go to Nebraska then play Purdue and Michigan State in Columbus.

The Nittany Lions, Spartans and Wolverines are all in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll this week, as is Ohio State.

“I think we’re in a lot better place than we were at the beginning of the season,” Day said. “We got some rest, so now it’s gonna be a big run. All we can do is take it one game at a time. You’ve heard the cliche, but that’s all we can do. We’ve got to go on the road and it’s a night game there. They’ll have a good atmosphere. We’ll get their best shot. They have good players and a good scheme so that’s all we can do is take it one week at a time and keep building.”

4. He believes Indiana is better than its record.

The Hoosiers (2-4) entered the season ranked No. 17 in the AP poll but began to slide immediately, losing 34-6 at Iowa in Week 1 and dropping a 38-24 decision to Cincinnati two weeks later.

The last two weeks, Indiana has been outscored 44-15 while losing to Penn State and Michigan State.

“I think they’ve had some injuries and they’re trying to fill those gaps a little bit,” Day said. “I’m sure they’ll be getting some guys back here healthy. They’ve played good teams. They’ve played some really good defenses. And so combine all of those things and when you’re off by a little bit here and there and a team maybe doesn’t have a great record but is a lot better than you think.

“And I think this team is much better than their record.”

5. Ohio State added a major recruit.

This was not part of the press conference, but Day no doubt would have expressed satisfaction if he were able to comment on recruits who are still in high school.

Kenyatta Jackson Jr., a four-star defensive end from Florida, verbally committed Ohio State on Tuesday afternoon.

He reportedly chose the Buckeyes from a final three that also included Alabama and Oklahoma and became the 15th member of Ohio State’s 2022 class.

The 6-5, 235-pound Jackson is the first defensive lineman to commit to OSU in this recruiting cycle, and his choice boosted the class to No. 5 in the nation.

He is the third player from Florida to join the class, which is headlined by Alter star C.J. Hicks.


Ohio State at Indiana, 7:30 p.m., ABC, 1410

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