Despite blowouts, Ryan Day says film shows that Ohio State still needs work

Bill Rabinowitz
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, here scoring on a 3-yard touchdown run against Indiana, wasn't always sharp against the Hoosiers but still accounted for four TDs without a turnover. [Adam Cairns/Dispatch]

Ohio State may look like a college football team in midseason form after three lopsided victories, but coach Ryan Day said Tuesday that his team has plenty of room to grow.

“We played well, but we didn’t play great,” he said during his weekly news conference, three days after the Buckeyes went on the road and handled Indiana 51-10 in their Big Ten opener.

Get the news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our BuckeyeXtra newsletter

“We played hard, they played tough, but we have so many things to clean up. When you watch the film, it’s actually really frustrating to watch,” Day said. “There’s so many things we could be cleaning up. The coaches are working at it. We started that on Sunday and making sure we started addressing some of those issues.”

Ohio State has outscored opponents 138-31. That margin is likely to become even more pronounced after Saturday’s game against Miami University at 3:30 p.m. The Buckeyes are a 39-point favorite over the RedHawks.

“We have some momentum, but we have to stay focused,” Day said.

Miami lost to Cincinnati 35-13 last Saturday after taking a 10-0 lead. The Buckeyes beat UC 42-0 a week earlier.

Day has preached about fighting complacency and that might be the biggest challenge this week. So far, the Buckeyes have answered every test, modest as they’ve been, reinforcing his sense that his team can be special.

“I’ve felt that for a little while now, yeah, and I’ve talked to the team about that,” Day said. “I think we can be great. We’re nowhere near where we need to be, but we can be. We have the ability. We have the talent. We have the leadership.”

“But if we want to get to where we want to go, we have to take it one week at a time.”

The Buckeyes’ defense has been suffocating after being prone to big plays and breakdowns last year and has cast aside criticism from 2018.

“We’re not into proving people wrong no more,” said cornerback Damon Arnette, who had a 96-yard interception return for a touchdown against Indiana. “We’re into proving ourselves right."

The offense has matured quickly under quarterback Justin Fields.

“He’s come a long way, but he’s continually building on that,” Day said. “Where he is right now is light years ahead of where I thought he’d be.”

Fields was critical of himself after Saturday’s game in which he had a few off-target throws. Day attributed that to inexperience. Fields has not thrown an interception.

“Overall, he's managing the game well,” Day said.


Listen to the BuckeyeXtra Football podcast: