Both senior safeties should be ready to go when the Buckeyes face Notre Dame on Saturday night, and that makes head coach Ryan Day happy.
“Huge,” Day said Thursday afternoon. “Huge. I was thinking about this morning if you think about our defense and where they are in terms of experience going into this type of environment, this is not new for our guys when you kind of go through everybody on the defense. Lathan and Proc are are two guys that have played a lot of football, they’ve played in big games, so they know what this environment’s gonna to be like.”
Here is a summary of the rest of Day’s final mass interview before his team heads to South Bend to take on the ninth-ranked Fighting Irish:
- Asked about the possibility of using Marvin Harrison Jr. in the slot, Day said they are always looking at ways to enhance the roles of veteran players like him. However, they will still get double-teamed, so it still comes down to other guys like Emeka Egbuka and Cade Stover taking advantage of single matchups.
- In regard to potentially saving anything schematically for this game, Day indicated the early part of the season is a fact-finding mission. They have to figure out exactly what their guys can do on the field and what makes them tick off it. They want to do as much as they can without doing too much, but having a changeup and a curveball is always important.
- Ohio State has an idea of what it can be offensively, and Day said it seems like it will be very different than it has been in the past.
- The offense staying on schedule is important for the team and especially a new starting quarterback such as Kyle McCord. They’ve done that so far.
- Overall, they have some experienced guys on defense so that should help, but Notre Dame presents some real personnel challenges with their offense. They will also have changeups and curveballs. That’s the art of coaching.
- He told his players these are the kinds of games that let players leave a mark on the program.
- McCord has had another week of practice like last week, which Day said was one of his best. He is continuing to grow and doing things with more of a purpose. With less being new to him, the staff is figuring out what it can give him.
- Will games like this still be scheduled after the Big Ten expands to 18 teams next year? Maybe not. To be determined.
- He tells guys to take a break Thursday after practice because they should be mentally exhausted. He wants them to go out (or stay in) and do something other than football. They can ramp up later to be mentally prepared and in the right spot Saturday night.
- He wants his team to have a “let it rip” mentality like it did in the Peach Bowl against Georgia, to go as hard as it can and then see what the scoreboard says in the fourth quarter.