Ohio State will be back on the football field Friday night against Northwestern.
With the fourth-ranked Buckeyes coming off a week off, Ryan Day had lots to talk about in his weekly press conference, which was moved up a day because of the game being a day earlier.
Here are five takeaways from the Woody Hayes Athletic Center:
1. The week off gave the Ohio State coaching staff a chance to scout themselves.
“When you play six games, you start to create some tendencies, you do different things,” he said, noting the staff evaluated both personnel and scheme.
That means if they have the right people in the game, if they are calling the right plays and how predictable they might be with those plays.
“What are some things we need to clean up? And then as individuals, what are some things they need to get better at?” Day said. “And so we gave all of our guys three different things they need to improve so that we could (not only) say get better, but get better at what.
“There were some more targeted ideas on what we need to get better at.”
2. Ohio State is relatively healthy, at least for the middle of the season.
Most hands were on deck for the 34-10 win over Michigan State on Oct. 5, and the Buckeyes should be in even better shape after a week off.
“A couple weeks to kind of heal up, and I think overall we played some depth this this first six games and so we got a lot of guys out there, which is great, too,” Day said. “So we do have some depth at some positions, but like any team six or seven weeks into the season, there are some different things, nagging injuries here and there, but overall, we’ve been pretty healthy.”
Senior defensive end Jonathon Cooper, who missed the first four games of the season with a severely sprained ankle, said he was among the players who used the time off to heal, while Day said he hopes running back Demario McCall will be able to return to action this week after a pregame injury kept him out of the MSU win.
3. He is not worried about the Buckeyes looking ahead to a big matchup with Wisconsin.
Day has emphasized the importance of personal improvement to his players from the start of the season, and that will continue to be the case even with the Buckeyes’ opponent having just one win in five tries so far this season.
“Yeah, the same thing that we’ve been talking about all along, which is all you’re worried about is this game right here, and we all know what happens if you start to lose focus, and we cannot do that.
“So this week, we’ve talked about having a white belt mentality, which is that you’re starting from scratch and that you don’t take anything for granted. You don’t make any assumptions. And if we do that, then we’ll be fine. If we start to look ahead or start to let our egos get in the way that’s what we get in trouble.”
4. Upsets elsewhere can be a lesson, too.
If Day wants to warn his team about the evils of complacency, he only needs to look to last Saturday when 2-3 South Carolina went to Georgia and gave the third-ranked Bulldogs their first loss of the season, a 20-17 overtime shocker.
“I think anytime you see something like that, it gets your attention,” Day said. “And reminds you have how fragile this is.
“All it takes is one game where we’re not following the plan to win, we turn the ball over, we don’t tackle, we don’t show up the play and and there you go. And so we know all about that. So do we spend a lot of time talking about it? No, but it’s it’s always out there as a reminder.”
5. Day did not share any thoughts on the game being on a Friday night.
Although he conceded Ohio high school football coaches probably “don’t appreciate it,” the first-year coach of the Buckeyes stressed he does not have any say in how the schedule is made.
“I don’t I try not to worry about that,” he said. “When the schedule comes out, we’re going to go play wherever they tell us to play.”
While the Big Ten makes the schedule, game times are typically determined by the league’s television partners, in this case FOX.
“I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about that because it’s not really under my control or something that I can worry about, so we just when the schedule comes out, we’ll go figure out where they’re at and we’ll go play.”
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.