Ohio State football: 3 takeaways from Ryan Day’s first spring football press conference

COLUMBUS — With most of his starters back on defense and some high-profile newcomers on offense, Ohio State football coach Ryan Day has much to do this spring.

He hopes stepping back from coaching the quarterbacks and coordinating the offense will help him keep a more broad focus on the Buckeyes, something he reiterated Tuesday when the first practice of the spring was complete.

Here are three takeaways from Day’s first press conference of the spring:

1. The new guys “flashed” to the coach.

On offense, Ohio State added Quinshon Judkins, an All-SEC running back, Seth McLaughlin, a two-year starter at center from Alabama, Will Howard, a second-team All-Big 12 quarterback from Kansas State, and Jeremiah Smith, the top-rated receiver and recruit overall from the class of 2024.

On defense, seven starters return, but former Alabama safety Caleb Downs gives the Buckeyes another first-team All-SEC player to bolster a secondary already boasting lots of experience.

Even on a roster as stacked annually as Ohio State, they did not exactly blend in Tuesday.

“You can see the talent in all of those guys,” Day said.

2. The Buckeyes are focusing on “no-talent issues.”

With few starting spots available this spring, Day can have his team concentrate on more than just using their God-given ability.

“You look at the guys and you see the potential and it gets you really excited, but then as much talent as we have, it’s going to be the no-talent issues that actually help us reach our goals,” Day said. “So that’s been the focus now.

“So once we get on the field, that’s what we focus on. It isn’t seeing Jeremiah run a go ball. That’s great, but it’s the discipline of knowing what to do. It’s the focus. It’s running to the ball. It’s effort. It’s energy. It’s all the things that take no talent, so that’s going to be the focus.”

3. The goal is to evaluate the state of the quarterbacks room about halfway through spring.

Ohio State has five scholarship quarterbacks in different stages of their careers, but they all need meaningful practice reps to get acclimated to Ohio State, the college level — or both.

“We’re trying to get as many as we can,” he said. “If we can get 150 a day… that may be a little bit different once the pads are on, (but) the more we can get, the better. We’ll put a body of work together and figure out maybe halfway through the spring where guys are at and then go on from there.”

Howard, sophomore Devin Brown, redshirt freshman Lincoln Kienholz and true freshmen Julian Sayin and Air Noland will all get reps with different units in hopes of giving each a chance for a proper evaluation.

“I think, at least in the first quarter of the spring, we’re just gonna let them go play and just get a bunch of reps and roll,” Day said. “I think as soon as that starts to settle a little bit, we’ll start to maybe make sure the guys who are getting the reps are the ones that need them.

“But we’re gonna let them compete. It’s hard for us to say to someone like Julian Sayin or Lincoln or Air, ‘Hey, you gotta come in here and compete when the first thing they do is take a bunch of reps with the threes.’ Whatever drill it might be, you’re getting reps with everybody so you can show what you do.

“So we’ll compete, and then we have the fortune to have a little bit of time right now.”

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