Highlights from Ryan Day’s Big Ten championship week press conference

Here are highlights from his weekly press conference:

By Kyle Rowland / The Blade
Tue, 03 Dec 2019 15:08:09 GMT

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Ohio State football coach Ryan Day spoke with media members Tuesday as his team prepares to face Wisconsin in Saturday’s Big Ten championship game.

Here are highlights from his weekly press conference:

On putting Justin Fields back in the game against Michigan

“I was kind of numb at that point I think. Just trying to figure out what we were going to do if he wasn’t able to play for the rest of the game, trying to come up with solutions to the issue. Then went up to him and kind of asked him what he thought. He looked up and said, Just put a brace on it, I’ll be fine. Blew me away, looking at the shot he took, how tough he was, to come back and make a play like that, one of the coolest things I’ve been a part of.”

On managing recruiting, the early-signing period, and preparing for a championship game at the same time

“Yeah, I mean, the last couple years we’ve had the same issue. So been a part of that, seen what the blueprint is for that. Certainly is a challenge because we have so many midyear guys coming in and only one week on the road, really only four days. It’s going to be a bear to try to get out there and see everybody, get all that done. Mark is working hard on it, trying to get all the plans to go to make sure we maximize all the time. Other events going on during that week. It will be a race.”

On potential for Jonathon Cooper to play again this season

“The plan won’t change, no. If left up to him, he probably would because he’s so competitive. He loves his teammates. But that’s something that the coaches have to get in front of and make sure, no, we don’t do that. He deserves to play a full senior year. I know he wants to. He was conflicted on what to do in this situation. We think it’s the best thing to just hold tight, give him another year.”

Day on the challenges of beating a team twice

" It will be really tough. It is. So much is the situation, when you played them, everything like that. But this is a very, very well-coached team. Chyrst I think is one of the best coaches not only in the conference but in the country. When you look at what he’s done, how many times they’ve been to this game, the staff, they do a great job. Very, very well-coached. They’ve gotten better as the season has gone on. It’s going to be a big challenge, it’s going to be hard, go all the way to the fourth quarter. We need to have a great practice here."

On sending tapes to the Big Ten to review how Chase Young is being blocked

“We do that as kind of a regular basis, send things in, get some back and forth with Bill Corollo, the staff there. Sometimes we agree on things, sometimes we don’t. It’s kind of part of the game, the back and forth there. I thought they did a good job with some of the things they did schematically. You kind of go back and forth with it. But I think the referees do a good job. They can’t catch them all. They’re honest. There’s great feedback there. I think they’re very professional in how they go about their business.”

On conference champions getting automatic berths in the playoff

“Yeah, I mean, all I know is we have to go win this game for a lot of reasons. The Big Ten championship game is one of our goals year in and year out. So that’s just the focus. Certainly, again, for me to speculate on all those things at this point right now doesn’t really matter. I know we got a great team. We just have to win this weekend. Everything will take care of itself if we do that, focus on that. The other speculation or talk, what-if scenarios for us, for us, for me, doesn’t do us any good right now. Again, just focus on that finish line.”

On how he felt after the win over Michigan

“Relief, yeah. It wasn’t even close. I didn’t know what I would feel, but it was absolutely relief, yeah (smiling).To say that I didn’t internalize a lot of emotions that week, leading up to that game, would not be accurate. A lot went into that. It’s not just me, it’s my family, it’s the staff, it’s this team. There’s just so much that goes into that.Jeff Hafley, he said to me the next morning, Imagine walking in the Woody with all the signage up on the walls and not winning that game, have to walk by it 365 days, not winning that game. I said, I don’t even know what that would be like.Yeah, there’s so much that goes into that, we play it year-round. To get that win the way we did means a lot.”

On his assistant coaches being potential candidates for head coaching jobs

“Yeah, I mean, one of the reasons that you come here is to be a part of this special family, but it also opens up opportunities for you down the road. I think it’s healthy and it’s good for families. I support that. The one thing I’d ask is to those guys, if that situation were to come up, make sure we finish through this finish line first. We made a commitment to these guys. Most people who are looking for coaches at this time would understand that, what that means. We got a lot of guys who want to be here. I don’t expect any changes or anything like that to come up, but it’s part of the profession.”

On not being picked to win the Big Ten this season

“The only thing that catches me sometimes is that early in the pre-season, coming into the season, they didn’t think much of us. Then we do what we’re doing now, a lot of people don’t give these kids enough credit in my opinion. A lot of people say they’re very talented. If they’re that talented, why didn’t you pick us that way early in the season? These guys deserve in my opinion a lot of credit for what they’ve done this season. Retooled the whole defense, retooled an offensive line, had a quarterback who never had a college start walking into the season. Right now we’re undefeated going to play for the whole thing. I think these kids deserve that. When I hear people say they’re just talented, they’re not just talented, this is a team with great leaders, great toughness, great chemistry. The way they’re playing disciplined football, there’s so much that goes into that. They’ve worked really hard to have this opportunity. I think they deserve the credit.”

On Fields, J.K. Dobbins, and Young being Heisman Trophy candidates

"I think this year has been unique for a lot of reasons. When you’re at Ohio State, such a high-profile place, it kind of speaks for itself. I don’t think you have to go out there and do a lot of campaigning when you’re playing in a rivalry game with 10s of millions of people watching. You get the chance to have an unbelievable platform here.But I think the thing for these guys is because of the way the season has played out, maybe they haven’t had as many reps or opportunities as some of the other guys in the country. Their efficiency on the field to me has been the best in the country.Joe and Jalen Hurts have had unbelievable years. I am not taking anything away from what they’ve done because those guys are playing tremendously. I just think Justin and Chase, all their own moments, have had Heisman moments and they deserve to go to New York.