Eight days before the NFL Draft — the first sports event in the country since March 12, even if it will be conducted online — Ohio State Buckeyes coach Ryan Day talked to reporters on a teleconference Wednesday.
Normally, in late March and April, a number of Day’s players would have worked out for NFL scouts at pro days. That didn’t happen. The coronavirus pandemic has left everyone stuck at home. For Day and his coaching staff, that has meant answering more calls than usual from NFL teams about the Buckeyes who have a chance to get drafted next week.
“It seems like a lot of the people in the NFL,” Day said, “are just using the college coaches, strength coaches and different people in the program to gather information.”
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A former Buckeye, Joe Burrow, is expected to go to the Cincinnati Bengals with the No. 1 pick. Even though Burrow played his last two seasons at LSU, NFL teams have reached out to Ohio State to ask about him.
“I don’t think everybody in the league is asking questions about him,” Day said, “but there’s obviously a certain few. Obviously all the feedback’s been very very positive. They’re just asking about who he is as a person and all those things. We have nothing but the highest praise for him and his work ethic and his ability to play.”
Day touched on a number of other topics Wednesday. Here are some highlights:
On Oklahoma transfer Trey Sermon, a running back officially added to the roster this week: “With Master (Teague) getting hurt here in the spring, that put us behind the eight ball a little bit in terms of depth and then Marcus (Crowley) is coming off the ACL (injury) so when Trey became available, we did a lot of research, made a lot of calls. The people at Oklahoma had such great things to say about him. We played against him (in 2017). We saw what he could do on the field. He’s a really good player. But off the field, the people who know him have such great things to say about him. He’s a very good student.”
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On whether quarterback Justin Fields will be affected by most of the spring season getting cancelled: “I don’t think (missing) the spring practice is going to set Justin too far back. Certainly we would have liked to get those reps under his belt, but we still have preseason camp and he has a whole season under his belt. Where it’s going to be felt more is with the other (quarterbacks): the two guys who are freshmen. Just building depth in that room, that’s really where we were looking forward to coming out of spring with a lot of reps under their belt.”
On what kind of virtual meetings the team is having during this crisis: “We have different styles of meetings. The first one would be the team meeting. We’ll have one actually coming up here at noon again. Last week, we had Dr. (James) Borchers come on and explain to our team what COVID-19 is, which is great. Just really an informational session. Today, we’re gonna have people from sports psychology in the mental health area of our program speak to the team. And then just some general comments by (Mickey Marotti) and I on those meetings, just to kind of give some updates on what’s happening and then a little bit of encouragement. In the position meetings, it’s a combination of football, and then leadership and culture. You know you can only do so much football with the guys so it’s good to change it up with motivational videos and motivational talks and talk about our culture and just different things.”
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