The Buckeyes are headed to Pasadena for the second time in the past three years.
Ohio State will take on Utah in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, and after the matchup became official on Sunday, Buckeye head coach Ryan Day reacted to the news at a press conference at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Day previewed the forthcoming meeting with the Utes and addressed several other developments that have taken place since the Buckeyes’ regular season came to a close with a loss to Michigan on Nov. 27, including five-star freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers’ recent decision to transfer out of the program.
Here’s a breakdown of everything Day said at Sunday’s presser.
- When asked about his plans for the team’s defensive coordinator position, Day says the Buckeyes are focused on the bowl game and focused on recruiting.
- Day says it’s “mind-boggling” how many college football players are in the transfer portal right now. Day says the Buckeyes don’t want to bring guys in from the transfer portal unless it truly makes sense.
- “We want to finish this thing the right way.” Day says “we’ve had a lot of guys sick here the last couple weeks,” but that players are starting to get healthy now.
- “The goal here is to win championships … we didn’t reach that goal, however, we have the opportunity to play in a tradition-rich bowl.”
- On Quinn Ewers: “He was in a very unique situation, for sure. … We certainly wish him nothing but the best of luck.”
- “We always want to have either three or four” quarterbacks on the roster, Day says, but that sometimes the team will have less.
- On Josh Gattis’s comments that Ohio State isn’t a tough team, Day says “I don’t really think about that much at all.”
- On players potentially opting out of the Rose Bowl: “Right now I’m counting on everyone playing in the game.” Day says no players have indicated to him that they will opt out.
- Day says Craig Young “wanted an opportunity to play more.” Day says “as coaches it’s kind of hard sometimes, but we’re gonna have to adapt and move forward.”
- “You can only feel sorry for yourself for so long.” Day says the Buckeyes have to move forward after losing to Michigan. “When you don’t win, there’s a tremendous amount of pain … it’s gonna hurt for a while.”
- On Ewers, Day says “it kind of caught me a little bit, for sure. Caught me off guard.”
- Day says that after the Michigan loss, the “No. 1 thing we recognize” is that the team must be able to run the ball and stop the run.
- On motivation for the Rose Bowl: “Everyone’s hurting from the last game, this is an opportunity to change that a bit.”
- Day says he did not watch the Pac-12 Championship Game and has not seen much film on Utah.
- Day says the Buckeyes were thin at linebacker at times this year and may be thin at the position moving forward, and that they need to bolster depth at the room.
- On Cincinnati, Day says he wishes Luke Fickell and company the best of luck in the playoff, and says it’s difficult to remain undefeated for as long as they have.
- When asked about the coaching carousel in college football, Day says “I’m obviously honored to be the head coach here … this is a great place to be.”
- Day says the sickness that was spreading through the team was “significant” during the Michigan game.
- On Michigan, Day says “there were some things in that game that we could’ve done a lot better.” Day says the Buckeyes still had a chance to win the game during the third quarter.
- Day says he did not watch the Big Ten Championship Game.
- Day says C.J. Stroud’s numbers would have been higher if he played late in several of Ohio State’s blowout wins this season, and that Stroud “deserves to be in New York” as a Heisman Trophy finalist.
- “There’s definitely a tornado going on, I think we all see that right now, in general.” Day says “there’s a lot of multi-tasking going on right now, and I lot of thinking on your toes. And that’s OK.”
- Day says “it’s not like we’re not capable of not (stopping the run), we are.” Day says the Buckeyes must figure out why they couldn’t do it against Michigan in particular.