Ohio State football appears on track to play Michigan State on Saturday

Bill Rabinowitz
Buckeye Xtra

Ohio State has gotten good news from its COVID-19 testing this week, Buckeyes coach Ryan Day said Thursday, and appears on track to play Saturday at Michigan State.

“Things have happened fast and furious,” Day said on his radio show on 97.1 The Fan. “There was some concern about this week, but we've got some of these PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests back early in the week and we've gotten a lot of good news. We've now had several PCR negative tests on the team and staff.

“So we were excited to get back on the field on Tuesday, and then had a really good practice yesterday. And so (we're) looking forward to get back in there today to clean things up and get ready to go to East Lansing.”

Ohio State is hoping to play on Saturday for the first time since Nov. 21 against Indiana.

Ohio State decided last Friday night to cancel its game at Illinois after an increase in positive tests. Day is the only person identified as having tested positive. It is university policy not to divulge the number of positive tests.

Day has been quarantined this week, and defensive line coach/associate head coach Larry Johnson is serving as interim head coach.

“It's been a tough, tough week,” Day said. “It's certainly been a frustrating week. But (I'm) resting comfortably now.”

He said that no players have required medical attention or hospitalization, though some have experienced symptoms.

Big Ten football:Michigan football game vs. Maryland canceled due to Wolverines' COVID-19 issues

“We really have been fortunate that way,” Day said.

Day did not give any specifics as to how many players will miss Saturday's game. He said he has been involved in game preparation, getting video of practice almost instantaneously and giving feedback.

"Thank goodness that we have Zoom, and we have such great technology where even during practice, (video coordinator) George (Momirovic) can send me the video almost in real-time," Day said. "We were having our normal staff meetings and at the normal time. We're just doing it through zoom virtually. It's certainly not the same as being there, but we're trying to do the best we can and work from home."

Day knew as soon as COVID-19 hit in March that he and his staff would have to make contingency plans.

"You have to have Plan B, but you actually have to have Plans C and D," he said, "because when things happen, they typically happen to bunches. It's not like one guy or two guys (affected). It sometimes can be a lot more than that. So at all positions, whether it's staff or players, we've had to really plan ahead and be ready to put these contingency plans in place."

Day said the Buckeyes are fortunate to have a veteran coaching staff and an experienced team. 

"Until you're really in it, it's hard to explain," Day said. "Players are getting ready for a game (last week) and then all of a sudden have the game taken away. That hurts.

"I think the leadership of this team has just been excellent. There's been a lot of ups and downs this season. These guys just keep working at it. They keep sticking together. They keep putting great practices together. They keep working toward a final goal of winning a championship. I don't think they're getting nearly enough credit for doing that. It has been very, very difficult for them."

Day said the plan is for the team to take a flight to East Lansing on Friday night after the final round of COVID testing.

brabinowitz@dispatch.com

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