Ohio State's Ryan Day expects enough available players for College Football Playoff final
Ohio State expects to have enough healthy players for the College Football Playoff final against Alabama on Monday.
“We’ll have plenty of players,” Buckeyes coach Ryan Day said during a Zoom call with reporters on Thursday afternoon.
Day did not offer a specific number for those who would be available or provide further details about the state of the roster.
Earlier this week, Playoff officials discussed the possibility of a postponement of the championship game to Jan. 18 due to an increase in the number of coronavirus cases within Ohio State’s program.
But Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren told The Dispatch that they were routine conversations, and the Buckeyes have continued in recent days to hold practices and meetings at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in preparation for facing the Crimson Tide.
It’s unclear how many positive cases Ohio State has been dealing with as it does not disclose the results from its daily antigen testing of players and coaches.
When asked if they were on track to play in the title game, Day said, “Correct.”
An outbreak of virus cases previously led the Buckeyes to cancel a game at Illinois on Thanksgiving weekend, but they have had enough players for recent games. Their scheduled Dec. 12 rivalry game against Michigan was called off due to a spike in COVID-19 cases among the Wolverines’ program.
“Any time you lose people, it is a gut punch,” Day said. “But it’s not something that we’re not used to.”
Over the last two months, the team has been affected by the virus, which has contributed to nearly two dozen players being sidelined for games in December. Early in the season, it had virtually no cases, according to team physician Jim Borchers.
“We played in games with the majority of our offensive line out,” Day said. “We played the Big Ten championship game without some of our top receivers. We’ve had starters all over the place down at different times. And we’ve found ways to work through it.
“It’s just been the way it is, and you can feel sorry for yourself, or you can just continue to work on and push through it. The hard thing is at the end of the day, most people don’t care. They watch the game, and the result is the result. But for us, that’s why the story of this season is so amazing. We just continue to push through all these difficult challenges along the way.”
The Buckeyes' availability report for the title game on Monday is not expected to be made available until closer to kickoff, which comes at 8 p.m.