Under normal circumstances, Ryan Day would have met with the media this week to wrap up spring practice. Unfortunately, 2020 is not a normal year. Day did indeed talk with reporters for more than 40 minutes Wednesday, but via teleconference as he, the Buckeye staff and the entire college football world wonder what kind of football season, if any, is ahead. As the nation tries to get a handle on the coronavirus pandemic and when to safely reopen the economy, the college football world is discussing scenarios for when and how to return to football.
"The first concern is public health and the student-athletes welfare and wellbeing and so we have to start with that," Day said. "Once we kind of get those guidelines of return to play and return to work we can start building that, but I think we have to look at all different options. There's a lot of smart people in the world and there's a lot of smart people in college football and the NCAA and I think we'll come up with a great solution when we put our minds to it, but there are so many unknowns, it's hard to move anything."
For now, the Buckeyes continue to be scattered across the country, taking classes on line and working out on their own, following fitness plans from Ohio State strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti. Whenever the time comes for players and staff to be together again, Day said he favors a plan calling for an extended training camp of at least six weeks to allow players to get properly conditioned and prepared for the season.
"The six week return to play is definitely something that is a starting point and we go from there and the medical authorities and those type of people will help us with that exact time frame," Day said. "With that I think you can create models, whatever those are, whether its moving the season back or whatever. Those are all the things we're going to keep diving into week after week and once we get more information and more brain power together on this thing, then we'll have something we can get behind."
There has been a flurry of theories and scenarios circulating in the media lately. ESPN's Chris Fowler this week cited "informed speculation" that college football may be delayed until next spring. It has also been suggested that perhaps games could be played this fall but without fans, something Day said the Buckeyes would do but admitted it would be "eerie." Still another idea that has been floating around is postponing the start of the season until October and playing a conference only schedule.
"Any football is better than no football," Day said when asked about the various plans. Regarding having a shortened, conference only schedule, Day said, "We'll do whatever we need to do and we'll make it work whatever they tell us the parameters are. We're okay with adapting. We'd obviously love to play the whole season and are expecting to play the whole season but if that's what happens then we'll figure it out."
Day discussed many other issues regarding the Buckeyes. Here's a quick snapshot of some of the other headlines.
**Ohio State officially announced the addition of running back Trey Sermon to the roster. Sermon played for three seasons at Oklahoma and is a graduate transfer who will be eligible whenever this season starts. Of Sermon, Day said: "He can do a lot of things. He's big, strong, powerful, has good feet in the hole, he can break tackles, he can run routes out of the backfield, he can pass protect...I mean he's another versatile guy who is strong and powerful and he's very intelligent... We're fired up he's a Buckeye."
**Day spoke about the upcoming NFL draft, which begins next Thursday. Former Buckeye, and LSU Heisman winning quarterback Joe Burrow is projected to go No. 1 to the Bengals. Even though Burrow hasn't been in the Ohio State program for two years, Day said he is answering questions from some NFL scouts about Burrow.
"When people ask about our guys, they bring up Joe and obviously all the feedback has been very, very positive. They're just asking about who he is as a person and obviously I have nothing but the highest praise for him and his work ethic and his ability to play. I think he's going to have a really good draft."
**Current Buckeyes Chase Young and Jeff Okudah will have "really good drafts" as well. Many projections have Young going second to Washington with Okudah third to Detroit.
"They're both great people and good leaders who were very productive on the field. They're tough, they play, they're durable...they don't miss practice, they don't miss games, they don't miss snaps, they just play. I think you're going to get a lot of production out of both of those players and I think they're both can't miss guys."
**Young, Okudah and J.K. Dobbins are the three Buckeyes invited by the NFL to take part in what will be an unusual "virtual" draft broadcast, but Ohio State has several other players who will hear their name called and will realize their NFL dreams. Day was asked which of his draft eligible players are flying under the radar.
"To say that there's a lot of better corners in the country than Damon Arnette, I mean I'd love to see them. You talk about competitive and versatility and just toughness in the way he played all season. I want him on my team. K.J. Hill and his clutch ability to make plays and get open inside and run routes, you look at Jonah Jackson, you look at Davon Hamilton. To me these guys are going to be on rosters for a long time."
**Day admitted that coaching during a pandemic isn't easy but said Ohio State is making the most of it. He continues to meet virtually with his staff on a regular basis and said there is also constant communication with the players. He was asked if he's learned anything while coaching during this COVID-19 crisis, that will benefit Ohio State going forward, even after things return to normal.
"I think that they'll be some new ways that we go about recruiting and communicating and using these teleconference things to help us with recruits and just get in front of them. I think for our team it's going to make us stronger in that it gives (the players) some personal accountability and not always having a coach bark at them. I think the last thing it's going to do is bring our team closer together because I think when you talk to our team right now and our coaches, we just miss each other...That's the thing. I just keep telling the guys, 'I miss you guys and I can't wait to get back together.'"
Day talked much more about the team, coaching, the NFL draft, college football and more. If you're a Buckeye football fan, you might find the session of more than 40 minutes interesting. You can check out all of what Day had to say, by clicking on the link posted below.