Ohio State continued fall camp with their 11th practice today, after which head coach Ryan Day and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison both spoke to the media. Here are the highlights of what was said:
- His first question was regarding the quarterbacks. He feels much better than he did a week ago about the position, and he feels like Justin Fields has taken some really nice strides in their most recent practices. They will name their starter Monday.
- He also indicated an announcement on captains would come in the very near future.
- Chris Olave has been off the charts in terms of his ability to make plays, according to Day, and he should now be considered an every-down receiver.
- Fields will be allowed to ad lib. "You don't want to be paint-by-numbers with an athletic quarterback."
- They are still devoting a little time on a regular basis to preparing for the Michigan game during fall camp.
- Day has no concern about offensive lineman Thayer Munford (back) not being ready for the season opener, although right now they are limiting his snaps in practice. What he has done in camp has been impressive.
- With more and more websites providing evaluation of recruits, there's a temptation to allow that to replace personal observation, but Day wants his coaches to pursue the best players regardless of their stars or national rankings.
- Day wants to have six or seven receivers ready to make contributions this season. Austin Mack is still sitting out, but is expected back in about a week's time, and when he does return will be playing as the Z-receiver. Garrett Wilson has been playing as the X-receiver, Day explains this is because he's a bigger body type that can win one-on-one battles.
- The mantra for this year's team is TOUGH love.
- K'Vaughan Pope is talented and a playmaker and having a very good camp, according to Mattison. There was also another mention of Baron Browning as being a player who has flashed this preseason.
- Amidst reports that HBO is going to start a "Hard Knocks" type show at the college level, Mattison indicated he's been a part of a similar program in the past and wouldn't have much interest in being a part of it again in the future. "I love just coaching...and you sometimes get distracted." He did add that the decision isn't his, though.
- Mattison praised the intelligence of Tuf Borland, although it's not just his smarts that impress Mattison. "I like everything about Tuf Borland." And Mattison also likes linebacker Pete Werner. "I really believe he's the top guy at his position. I've had the opportunity to see a lot of really good football players, and I'm very impressed with him."
- As with Day, Mattison was unwilling to name the starters at linebacker.
- The Buckeyes base defense will probably be with a Sam linebacker on the field, as opposed to the bullet, but that will depend on the opponent.
- The defensive coaching staff has been working well together, and Mattison trusts the other assistants enough that he can focus on strong-side linebackers during practice, which he feels is necessary for his sanity. Mattison talked glowingly about co-coordinator Jeff Hafley.
- Don't count Mattison as a fan of analytics. "I'm not a big stats guy." He would rather stress running to the football.
- Brendon White can be a safety or a bullet.
- Asked if Michigan has an Ohio State period similar to how Ohio State spends practice time getting ready for the Wolverines, Mattison merely offered, "I don't know."