5 things to know from Ohio State press conference previewing Western Kentucky

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

COLUMBUS — Ryan Day naming Kyle McCord the official, full-time No. 1 quarterback for Ohio State was not the only thing to happen Tuesday.

The head coach of the Buckeyes touched on many topics before being followed by Jim Knowles at the front of the interview room.

Here are five things to know from the weekly presser:

1. Day said the Buckeyes are not a finished product in any area, but third down is something that especially needs improvement.

They converted 5 of 12 third downs against the Penguins on Saturday, but Day said they need to execute better on third-and-short and third-and-medium.

They were 2-for-4 when needing four yards or less and 3-for-8 when needing five yards or more.

The quarterbacks completed 4 of 8 passes for 127 yards on third down. Seventy-one of those yards came on a touchdown pass from McCord to Marvin Harrison Jr. on the first drive of the afternoon.

2. He did not see the improvement in the running game he was hoping for yet.

The Buckeyes only ran 27 times for 123 yards, an average of 4.6 yards per carry.

They had a solid 48-percent success rate overall but were 0 for 2 running in short-yardage situations.

He said he did like how they were able to generate some perimeter runs, so he might have been talking specifically about the inside running game.

3. Malik Hartford was benched because “he just struggled a little” against YSU.

The freshman from Lakota West made the first start of his college career last week, but after the Penguins drove for a touchdown on their opening possession, he gave way to Syracuse transfer Ja’Had Carter at middle safety.

Carter missed the first game with an injury, and fellow senior Josh Proctor missed the second game with an injury.

Knowles said any issue Hartford had was natural for a true freshman in his second game and indicated all three remain in the mix for first-team snaps when healthy.

4. Knowles confirmed Western Kentucky’s offense reminds him of what he used to see in the Big 12.

The defensive coordinator said the Hilltoppers like to throw deep and attack the perimeter, get you moving sideways.

After struggling with downfield passing games last season, the Buckeyes have looked better so far, but this will be their first real test.

5. Knowles is not worried about the defensive ends having no sacks through two games.

Linebacker Tommy Eichenberg has one sack while the other two belong to tackles Mike Hall Jr. and Hero Kanu.

Knowles attributed some of that to a lack of pure drop-backs by their two opponents, who have seemed more concerned with advancing the clock than the ball at times.

With occupying gaps a greater priority than penetration for the defensive linemen, Knowles said the ends are doing their jobs but should have more chances to rush the passer this week because Western Kentucky throws the ball all over the yard.


Western Kentucky at Ohio State, 4 p.m., Fox, 1410

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