COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ryan Day is very much aware of what Jim Harbaugh had to say about the Ohio State football team following its loss to Michigan last season.
He’s aware of everything that’s been said about his program after that game and a year where the Buckeyes finished 10-2, failing to win a Big Ten title or make the College Football Playoff for the first time during his tenure.
Harbaugh alluded that he was “born on third base,” and the toughness of Day’s team was brought into question. He hasn’t given it his full attention, but it has shaped the way OSU went about doing some things this offseason, especially when it comes to creating a culture of toughness.
“When you’re playing in a game like this, there’s always going to be things said,” Day said. “Obviously, you see things and read things, but there’s also a lot of it you try to ignore. Sometimes it matters who says it, too, in how much consideration you give it. But at the end of the day, we got beat in that game.
“We had to figure out why that was. A lot of people have opinions when you lose a game. We had to identify what was real and what wasn’t and go from there.”
Day has always understood how important this game is to the program. That point is even more emphasized coming off a year where you lose in a convincing fashion. He’s seen how it impacted his program in the approach coming into a 2022 edition where both teams have plenty on the line.
“You’re shaped by how you play in this game, and we have scars,” Day said. “It motivated us all offseason. We’ve worked very hard to get to this moment right here. Now it’s time to go prepare the best we can and that’s what we’re gonna focus on. Physically, mentally and emotionally, to go play the hardest game we’ve ever played. We’ll find out where we are on Saturday.”
What else did we learn from Day?
• Says Ohio State is preparing as if Michigan running back Blake Corum is playing but also preparing for its other running backs: “We expect him to play.”
• Said it’s “hard to say” whether Dallan Hayden is starter caliber, but what he’s done the past two weeks is “encouraging.”
• How many coaching changes resulted from the Michigan loss? “I don’t know if I could give you a number. We’re evaluated by the big games. That’s how it goes here.”
• Both Enokk Vimahi and Josh Fryar can be options at right guard if Matt Jones can’t play. Will depend on how they practice and pick up a game plan and how Jones feels.
• What makes Ohio Stadium a home-field advantage in Big Ten games: “First off, we have the best fans in the land. ... It’s a hostile environment and a hard place to play in.”
• Several guys on the offensive line graded out as champions.
• Figuring out if a true freshman can have an impact in the Michigan game? “The No. 1 job for Dallan is to take care of the football because turnovers are gonna be huge in a game like this. ... You never really prepare for a moment like this until you’re in it. ... It comes down to your preparation.”
• On the emphases on toughness: “We wanted to make that our identity. I think we built that as the year went on. But all that building was to get to right here.”
• Ohio State is holding off on doing Senior Tackle until the bowl season to focus on Michigan: “We felt like last year, things were a little bit rushed.”
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