COLUMBUS — Ohio State football coach Ryan Day likes the progress quarterback Justin Fields made in his second college start on Saturday against Cincinnati.
“I think he picked up kind of from where he left off. Still made some good decisions. I thought he was pretty good in the passing game,” Day said at his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
“He still took a couple hits in there that we didn’t like. Got to learn that way. Couple things in protection as well. And he took one bad sack,” he said.
“Overall, I thought it was a pretty clean game. He got away with a couple throws that maybe as the competition increases he won’t. But overall it was solid and we got to keep building on it.”
“I think the good thing is he’s had some success the first two games. I think he has some confidence, which is really important for a quarterback, especially going on the road in a conference game, there’s got to be confidence there. He should have confidence.
“He’s played well the first two games. We’ll keep building that as we go. I think Mike (quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich) has done an excellent job. Mike has done a really good job of putting the game plan together in terms of making it clean, clear and concise so that Justin can play the way he is on Saturdays.
“Mike has had a great history with quarterbacks. He understands how to prepare a quarterback. To see the way he’s worked with Justin here so far is remarkable.”
• OSU fans take over: The once every two years tradition of Ohio State fans buying up almost half the tickets in Indiana’s Memorial Stadium and making it feel like a home game when OSU plays there is something a lot of people talk about.
But Day didn’t want any part of calling it a home game for the Buckeyes.
“Anytime you go on the road it’s the road,” Day said. “It’s a conference game. It’s hard.”
No. 5 Ohio State (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) will go to Bloomington, Ind., for a noon game against the Hoosiers (2-0, 0-0) after winning its first two games 45-21 over Florida Atlantic and 42-0 over Cincinnati. Indiana won its opener 34-24 over Ball State and beat Eastern Illinois 52-0 last Saturday.
Playing the first road game of the season against a division rival might not be ideal, but rival might be a bit too strong a word to describe the history between the Buckeyes and the Hoosiers. Ohio State has beaten Indiana 23 times in a row and its last loss to the Hoosiers was in 1988.
Day did want to talk about how much he appreciates the support Ohio State gets in road games, though.
We know everywhere we go, we’re going to get some support. It means a lot when we go on the road,” he said.
• Okudah, Wade impressive: Ohio State’s defensive backs didn’t get a lot of praise inside or outside the program last season.
But Day said he likes what he has seen from two of them, at least, so far this season.
He said cornerback Jeffrey Okudah is “playing like a pro.”
“I think he’s playing like a pro. He’s approaching it that way. You can see that he’s playing decisive when he’s on the field. I think that’s also a guy going from his second to third year. He’s got some experience now. He knows what to expect.
He called safety Shaun Wade “very, very talented.”
“He can play outside, inside, he can blitz. Helps us on special teams. Very, very talented. I think he’s going to have a great year,” Day said.
• Harris gets playing time: Wide receiver Jaylen Harris got the fifth most snaps of any OSU receiver against Cincinnati. The Cleveland native is in his third year in the program and has not made much of an impression until now.
He made only one brief appearance in Ohio State’s final 10 games last season. So how did he work his way into the receivers rotation now?
“Jaylen has done a good job on special teams. Any time you do a good job on special teams, you deserve to play,” Day said. “Now he’s into his third year. He’s a guy that has a lot of ability as well. We’ve seen him flash at times. Now he’s got to go prove it in the game, got to be consistent. He provides us some depth. You’ll see him in the game moving forward.”
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