Ryan Day’s first game as Ohio State’s full-time coach is four days away, and he didn’t hide his excitement Tuesday.
“Even when you say that, it fires me up,” Day said during the first of his weekly press conferences of the season.
Fifth-ranked Ohio State opens Saturday against Florida Atlantic. The Buckeyes are a 27½-point favorite against the Owls.Join the conversation at Facebook.com/groups/BuckeyeXtraFans and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
Day knows that the Buckeyes will have some first-game jitters but wants his team to be fundamentally sound.
“The first thing is tackling,” Day said. “We have to tackle. We have to take care of the football and we have to block. Playing a clean game is very, very important.”
Justin Fields, the transfer from Georgia, will make his collegiate starting debut.
Day said that he expects as many as eight offensive linemen to see significant action on Saturday. Senior Branden Bowen will start at right tackle ahead of redshirt freshman Nicholas Petit-Frere. Bowen started at right guard in 2017 before breaking his left tibia and fibula against Maryland. He missed all of last season during a difficult rehab.
“His attitude is as good as I've been around,” Day said. “He's been through a lot. To see the way he's smiling (is great). He's got a lot of energy. I just love his approach right now."
FAU is coming off a 5-7 season in 2018 in Lane Kiffin’s second year as head coach. The former Southern California head coach and Alabama offensive coordinator was 11-3 in his first season at FAU.