Ohio State has kept things buttoned up this fall, but now that game week has rolled around, acting head coach Ryan Day and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano finally met with the media to talk football.
The Buckeyes are preparing to face Oregon State on Saturday and dealing with the absence of head coach Urban Meyer, who is suspended for the first three games of the season.
Among of the highlights of today's press availability:
- Day opened with an approximately two minute statement saying that he understands what a difficult time this has been, and the team has learned from adversity. He said he would not be answering any questions about the investigation that led to coach Meyer's suspension.
- He admitted he has been "drinking from a fire hose" as the saying goes. However, what was first overwhelming has now become routine. He said scrimmages were a valuable experience, as he learned how to balance his multiple responsibilities.
- Day will be calling plays from the sideline Saturday in consultation with Kevin Wilson.
- "Dwayne will start Saturday and he is the starter, but we will play Tate [Martell]."
- He admitted that last week, he could sense the preseason and all that happened off the field had started to weigh on the team.
- Chip Kelly sent Day a text message that read, "You're built for this."
- Day said that the culture at Ohio State is strong enough that recruiting hasn't really taken a hit. He added he encourages recruits to ask the tough questions.
- Further addressing the issue of culture, Day said the team talks daily about things like treating women with respect.
- Michael Jordan is the team's starting center coming out of camp. Isaiah Prince will be the starting right tackle. Malcolm Pridgeon has earned the starting spot at left guard, and Demetrius Knox will start at right guard. That just leaves Thayer Munford and Joshua Alabi, who are still competing at left tackle. Munford has been hampered a bit by injuries this fall.
- Day says he was "caught off guard" by Ohio State asking him to step in as acting head coach.
- Brian Hartline has brought a lot of energy as wide receivers coach, according to Day.
- Asked to scout Oregon State, Day praised their first-year head coach Jonathan Smith.
- Because he has head coaching experience, it would be fair to wonder what Schiano thought when he wasn't asked to fill in during Meyer's absence. Schiano, asked about that, answered that he recognizes the complex calculus that went into making that decision, he trusts Ohio State's decision makers, and he thinks Day has done an outstanding job.
- Pete Werner, Malik Harrison, and Baron Browning will be Ohio State's starting linebackers. However, Schiano expects the backups to get extensive time. Tuf Borland could return as soon as this week, because he is "well ahead of schedule" on healing up from an Achilles injury. The team does want to be cautious, though.
- Schiano likes the additions to the staff of Alex Grinch and Taver Johnson. Johnson is replacing someone in Kerry Coombs, whose energy level was "caffeine 2.0." However, Schiano said Johnson finishes every practice drenched in sweat, and has a good energy level of his own.
- Isaiah Pryor and Jahsen Wint will both see playing time early on while the battle to be the starting safety sorts itself out. Schiano would not rule out them both sharing the position the entire season.
- Schiano's evalutation of camp was that it was "outstanding." Players did as good as good as could be expected in staying focused.
- On the third day of fall camp, Day spoke to the team and spoke from the heart, said Schiano. Prior to that, he may have been focused on logistics; but after that he just focused on being himself, and things took off as a result. Schiano had high, high praise for Day, saying his future is bright and he has the "it" factor.
- Schiano said that, when it was allowed, he spoke to Urban Meyer. He said he wanted to talk to Meyer as a friend, and all the discussions were personal. There were no conversations about football.