Ohio State's Ryan Day Post-Conference vs. Michigan State
COACH DAY: I want to thank everybody who came out tonight with the blackout. I thought the atmosphere was awesome and electric. Third down was really loud. And a couple of drives there in the third quarter. I thought the crowd really played into it. We get the missed field goal, couple three-and-outs.
And I thought was really important to play good in the third quarter. And the crowd was awesome all night. And really appreciate Buckeye Nation and their support.
Q. What would you say was the biggest change from the first quarter to the second quarter? COACH DAY: Well, we got off schedule a little bit. We knew it was going to be hard to run against these guys. It always is. But on third down we didn't do a great job for a couple different reasons.
And then we hit a third down in the second quarter, big third-down conversion, I think it was to K.J., and we got into a rhythm and we kind of go. And I think we wore them down maybe a little more in the second quarter.
I didn't want to play too fast and keep our defense on the field at points during the game. But there were other times we picked up the pace and we ended up getting 74 plays. That's a good day for us.
And I think when we can play with depth and we play 74 plays you can maybe wear some teams down. I think we did that at times, but they're stout in there, and it's hard to run. And so it was hard in there, but we knew it was going to happen.
But we did face adversity. It was not a good quarter of football on offense. And, again, when you're playing against a team like Michigan State, things like that are going to happen. You have to respond and I thought we did.
Q. Are you glad that you really did have a legitimate test tonight, that you're not going in the second half of the season without having been tested? COACH DAY: I feel like we (indiscernible) a Top 25 team in a great atmosphere against a really well-coached team, a really good defense, a really good quarterback -- to hold them to 285 and to have 529, that's a good day.
I think the best part about that is we all kind of got off the field feeling like we can't wait to get on the field to figure out where we can improve.
Q. J.K. Dobbins, 826 yards through the season right now. How impressive was the 67-yard touchdown from your vantage point, and have you seen a transformation in his speed from last to this? COACH DAY: Yeah, I have. Yeah, I mean that was a home run hit right there that I think really changed the game. But up to that point we started to get it going a little bit but that kind of shifted and turned it into I think almost a 300-yard quarter. And anytime you can hit home runs like that in the run game, boy, it's a huge one.
But it's one thing to go a 20-yard gain, but to come off the back end, and that was 60-something yards, 67 yards, that's a game-changer.
To your point, there were times in the past where maybe he would get a little tired when he'd get to that 40-yard range, but he came out the back end of that thing. And that was really good to see.
Q. (Indiscernible)? COACH DAY: For sure.
Q. You have a quarterback who just threw his first interception as a college football player. Is there much of a conversation when you comes over to the sideline? COACH DAY: Yes, the conversation was I told him it was my fault. The look was not the one we wanted in that look. And then I told him, I'm not always going to be right; you gotta make me right. And when the look isn't right, you gotta throw the ball in the stands and live to see another down.
That was my fault. It was not his fault. It was not to look we wanted on that play. And I'll take the blame for that one.
Q. How much more do you learn about Justin in games where it's not all perfect the way it may be was or seemed to be the first five weeks? COACH DAY: That's what I've been really looking forward to seeing, how he was going to respond, because early on there were some mistakes made. That was not a good quarter of football.
But that was good. It was hard. Kind of guys digging at each other, kind of grinding, yelling at each other, and so we've got to figure this thing out. And we did. And that was one of those boxes you check off.
Q. Before the season, you had kind of talked about the six-game chunk before the first bye, almost felt like maybe thought it would be a learning experience before you guys would sort of reach that. You're 6-0 the way you're playing. How is it going? COACH DAY: I think the chemistry of the team is very good. I think the leadership is strong. I think that we're playing tough. I think that we can learn a ton from this game, though.
And I think that this is a perfect opportunity to sit back and look at these six games, evaluate where we've gone, where we are and where we're headed. But this was the perfect game to kind of do that.
Again, you're going against a really good defense with really good players and a really good quarterback. They exposed some things that maybe we got away with in the last couple of games. The best thing now is to get on the film and work on it to get better.
Q. What is it that specifically they were getting done up front defensively that gave you all problems? How satisfying is it at this point to have almost an answer for anything a team brings at you from a big-play standpoint, if you follow my drift? COACH DAY: They do a lot of things. When I say always -- the majority of the time they have an extra guy in the box, whether you're playing 11 personnel or 12 personnel they always have another guy in the box. That's why they've been so good at run defense over the years; it's very hard to run the ball against them.
And you've got to wear them down. You have to wear them down. And you've got to cover them up. The running backs have to turn four-yard runs into six. And then eventually over time, if you can start to run on them, you can maybe start to crack some.
And that's kind of what happened. But the key to that is some of those play-action passes. Those kind of got us going a bit. The big one to Bin was huge, and I think that's some of those ones that we hit on the outside; as we go with tempo it really helped us get into rhythm.
So, again, I thought we responded well, made some adjustments and went from there.
Q. Damon Arnette didn't play in the second half. Do you have an update on what happened with him? COACH DAY: No, the staff kind of got him out of there. So he's going to be fine, but they're going to evaluate him tonight.
Q. With the way that Justin came out, kind of seems like it was a little bit easy for him at times this year with his talent level. Coming out for the first two drives and maybe sensing that first bit of "oh no" of his young career, how did he handle that? Have you guys been preparing for that moment, and what was your thought process, the way that he handled that? COACH DAY: Yeah, those drives weren't good. We didn't do a good job on third down. It wasn't Justin. It was everybody up front. Some guys on the perimeter not doing a great job. And we were kind of just moping around a little bit. But as the leader of the offense you're in charge and ultimately responsible for it, and we've got to get it right.
The same thing with me and the coaches, we have to take ownership of this too and figure the problems out. But that's what playing against a team like Michigan State in a Big Ten Conference game like this is. It's a hard. It's a grind and it's gritty. And it was great to see the guys respond especially in the second quarter.
Q. What went into the decision at right tackle tonight, and also what did you like about the way the offensive, how they played as the game went on? COACH DAY: I want to see, when we get on film what it looked like. But to me looked like they were fighting in there. Those guys are good. Up front they're as good as we'll play. And it was a fight. It's not going to be always clean, knock guys down 15 yards in the backfield and finish guys in defenses like this. I thought it was tough. I thought it was real hard. And I thought the other part is that was the first time we had to get the game in the second half. You could see guys working through that.
And I know both sides of the ball felt the fatigue. But I thought we fought through it and showed some toughness. And then the right tackle, we're rolling those guys -- I think they both deserve to play and they are.
Q. You said the defense would play good football. What have you liked best from these guys, six games into the season? COACH DAY: There's a lot that goes into it. I thought going into the game our tackling and running the ball and pursuit was really good.
I don't know if that was the case tonight. I think there was some tackling issues at points, but we'll watch the film and work through that. Again 65 plays, 285 yards, it's a pretty good night. And proud of the way those guys played, proud of the emotion they played with I think we're getting it for the quarterback.
We're playing really good coverage, you can see guys especially on third down really rocking the coverages. So I think they've been playing tough and playing with emotion. I thought to get the stop and then the missed field goal to start off the third quarter was really important to dig in right there, especially after they got a couple first downs.
Q. You've seen in the past here and other places, too, these type of quarterbacks, that if the offense is slow going and things aren't going great, if you start running the quarterback a little bit things might loosen up some. How much are you still having a conversation in your head about how much you want to expose Justin in designed quarterback runs? COACH DAY: Every second of my night. That's constant. And we called some when we needed them. When he needed to, he did a good job with his feet. He had 84 yards rushing. Those were big yards. The impact he can have is huge, as you can see. That kept us going when it was -- it was tough sledding in there. He's a competitive guy. He made a lot of plays.
And hats off to him and his toughness. He lowered his shoulder in there on the goal-line run. That was a hard run. There wasn't much there and give him a lot of credit.
Q. Every game's a chess match. Nebraska ran the wishbone. You get a wrinkle every time. Did Michigan State do anything different that you guys had to adjust to? Seems like every team does that. COACH DAY: No, they ran the same defense they have. They were blitzing more than maybe they had coming into the game but it wasn't anything we hadn't seen before.
Q. Six games in, how are you adjusting? We talked about the players. How do you feel about the play calling how you've evolved here? COACH DAY: Hard to say. It's not just me. It's the whole staff and the whole offense. I think we're all in this journey together trying to figure this out.
And I think our in-game adjustments and communication has really been pretty solid this year. And Stud and Kevin talking about the run game. And then Mike and I and Hartline talking about the past game what we like in between series and they're doing a great job because I'll click over and get over to the defense a little bit to make sure I'm in tune with what's going on there with special teams, and then I'll click over and get some real good feedback on what they like coming in to the next series. That's really important and it helps me as I'm going back and forth.
Q. You feel a lot more comfortable than you did game one? COACH DAY: Yes.
Q. You've been preaching toughness since you took over. This was a tough game. I'm wondering your assessment of that area immediately after the game. COACH DAY: I thought to beat a team like this you have to play tough. We talked about going into the game, and I thought we did. And to finish off these six games tough -- we gave the game ball to Coach Mick because he's the guy that this whole thing is built upon. He's the backbone. And he's the blood that runs through this whole program.
And to say we're tough, it's because of him and his strength staff and all the work that they put in with these guys and our coaching staff getting on the field and doing the same thing in the meeting room. It's everybody involved. We're all into this thing. And I think they're taking a lot of pride in being tough.