Ryan Day’s message to Buckeyes in Week 2: ‘Be on point’

COLUMBUS — Ohio State football coach Ryan Day had a simple message for the Buckeyes this week.

“Be on point.”

That is what Day is looking for as they play host to Youngstown State on Saturday.

“That’s probably the overall sentiment right now is that you’ve just got to make sure everything’s really efficient, everything’s really thought out,” Day said.

Here are four things to know about the game:

1. At least two Ohio State quarterbacks will play again.

Kyle McCord will start again, but Day wants to get a longer look at Devin Brown after the redshirt freshman played only two series last week.

“We watch Devin and I mean, he deserves to play, and he’s played that way throughout preseason camp,” Day said. “The first game came and Kyle started, and he’ll continue to play. He’s gonna start the next game, and maybe there’s more clarity moving forward, but until we get to these games, it’s really hard to do that. I’d love to say, ‘Yeah, Kyle’s the starter and Devin’s not gonna play,’ but that’s not the case.”

In Day’s view, giving Brown more of an opportunity it fair not only to him but to the entire team.

“I do not have a crystal ball. I don’t know what it’s gonna look like. I wish I did,” Day said. “I know everybody wants to know what it’s gonna look like, but we’ll just keep grinding on this thing and keep trying to find wins because we know it’s a long season. But we have to find out what is best for our team. We felt like we had to go get a win on Saturday. I wish it was cleaner across the board. It wasn’t, but we got the win. And then we identify the things we need to get better at and see what looks like this week.”

Oregon State transfer Tristan Gebbia is the third quarterback while true freshman Lincoln Kienholz is No. 4.

2. Day still wants to establish the run.

The Buckeyes threw the ball more than they ran it in 2021, and Day has seemed to be in pursuit of more balance ever since.

In the season-opener against Indiana, they averaged 4.6 yards on 31 carries, but 26 percent of Ohio State’s runs were stuffed (stopped for no gain or a loss).

More notably, they were just one for six in short-yardage situations.

“We have got to get downhill,” he said. “We’ve gotta move people, we gotta be physical.

“We can’t be relying on the pass all the time. That’s just not the way we’re going to be here. So at some point you’ve got to get up there and draw a line in the sand, and say we’re going to move people. (That) didn’t happen (at Indiana).”

3. The offensive line wants to make a big jump.

Youngstown State might not present the best test, but the Buckeyes will at least be able to get valuable snaps together as coach Justin Frye continues to break in three new starters up front.

“I’d say it was mediocre, but we’ve got a lot to improve on,” right tackle Josh Fryar said.

“I think everything was correctable. It’s just little slight communication errors that we have to fix.”

Fryar, who is in his first year as a full-time starter while San Diego State transfer Josh Simmons has taken over at left tackle and redshirt freshman Carson Hinzman is the new center, also said the group is not worried about outside criticism.

“I saw a clip where Kirk Herbstreit said Ohio State fans can be psychotic,” Fryar said, mentioning the prominent ESPN college football analyst and former Ohio State/Centerville quarterback. “I love Buckeye fans, but I think the scrutiny we’re under right now doesn’t affect us because we’re trying to win. I mean yeah the offensive line didn’t play very well. Look around the country, look on Twitter. I don’t think they said one good thing about the offensive line until you win a game and then like, ‘Oh, we won the game.’ Everybody’s going to forget about it in a month, two months from now.”

4. Jim Knowles wants to see his team against a more “conventional” offense.

Ohio State’s defensive coordinator was happy his unit stifled Indiana, but the Hoosiers helped by sticking with a ground-oriented offense to protect a pair of redshirt freshmen quarterbacks.

Meanwhile, Youngstown State ran for 302 yards in a 52-10 win over Valparaiso last week.

Penguins quarterbacks Mitch Davidson and Beau Brungard combined to complete 16 of 26 passes for 169 yards, so how “conventional” they are remains to be seen, but Youngstown State coach Doug Phillips said his team would prepare for the Buckeyes like they do every other game.

“If you probably talk to the Buckeyes, they’re focusing on them,” Phillips told reporters in Youngstown. “That’s what this month of September is all about. When you don’t have a preseason, you don’t have scrimmages, you’ve got to use the opportunities that you have in those non league games to find out who you are and then make those improvements. They say the biggest improvement you should make as a team is from week one to week two because now we’re able to go live for four quarters and watch film and see what areas we need to improve upon. We say that and I hope our kids buy into that. This week is no different.”


Youngstown State at Ohio State, Noon, BTN, 1410

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