Ohio State Buckeyes: 5 takeaways from Ryan Day’s appearance at Big Ten Media Days

Credit: Michael Conroy

Credit: Michael Conroy

INDIANAPOLIS -- Ohio State football coach Ryan Day took the stage last among the head coaches at Big Ten Media Days.

He also hit many of the same themes as his predecessors, including vaccines, putting COVID-19 protocols in the past and the usual rebuilding/reloading process of this time of year.

Here are five things to know about what the coach of the Buckeyes had to say:

1. A majority of the team has been vaccinated.

Like every other coach who was asked about the COVID-19 vaccine over the course of two days, Day indicated he wants to see all of his players get the shot (or shots) but won’t make it mandatory.

“It’s one of those things where I think you really have to take a look at the certain risks,” Day said. “There’s certain risks with everything. I think there’s risks with the virus, there’s risks with the vaccine.”

Not being vaccinated raises the possibility of a player getting sick, but that’s not all.

Those who are not vaccinated likely would still be forced to quarantine if they are a close contact with a person who gets sick.

Last year, those who tested positive had to sit out a minimum of 21 days, but updated protocols for this season have not been finalized.

“And we have left (getting vaccinated) up to the players and we try to do everything we can to educate them with our medical people, sports medicine, but I feel like we’re in a pretty good place. I think the majority of our guys have been vaccinated, and a few more are continuing to get vaccinated.

“I know it’s something that’s unique to each guy and we have kind of left it up to them.”

2. He wants to be back at Lucas Oil Stadium later this year — and in January.

The venue will not only host the Big Ten Championship game in December but also the College Football Playoff title game.

The Buckeyes are favored to win the Big Ten East and the conference title game again, which also means they are on the short list of teams that would contend for a spot in the CFP.

“I think the easy thing to do coming off of last year is to focus on what would happen in the game at the end of the year — how do we get back to the National Championship Game?” Day said. “But more importantly this year it’s going to be, ‘How do we win that first game at Minnesota with a young team?’”

3. That means a strong preseason is important for the Buckeyes.

“We’re going to have a young quarterback, and we have to start the season really strong, so this preseason’s going to be very, very important to us. We have to really come out of the gates strong and harden ourselves as we head into the first game.”

4. He sees a good mix of youth and experience on his squad.

“When you look at the youth that we have at linebacker, you look at our youth at quarterback, that’s something that we got to make sure we’re doing a great job of addressing, but we also have really good players around them,” Day said. “We have really good depth on the defensive line. Our secondary has more depth now than it’s had in a while, and then on offense I feel look we have pretty good depth at all the other positions.”

5. He expects a battle for playing time in the middle of the offensive line.

Coach Greg Studrawa has to replace All-Big Ten standouts Josh Myers and Wyatt Davis at center and guard, respectively, but he has some experienced options in Harry Miller and Matt Jones.

“Harry Miller played in his second year (last year), something that is very hard to do at Ohio State, and has come back and he’s really changed his body,” Day said. “Had surgery on his shoulder, looks great. Had a really good offseason. Paris Johnson is moved in from tackle and done a really good job, and embraced that role. I’m really proud of the way he’s embraced that role, this is one of the (offensive tackles) in the entire country, and he decides he wants to play guard right now, which ultimately is really going to help him in his versatility and his value down the road.

“But then you also have guys like Luke Wypler, Matt Jones, Josh Fryar and Enokk Vimahi. The good news is we have a few guys in there and if they all deserve to play, we will roll those guys.”

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