Ohio State coach Ryan Day: rewatched loss to Georgia 'a good amount'

Bill Rabinowitz
The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State coach Ryan Day's work began almost as soon as the Buckeyes' ended their 2022 season with a 42-41 loss to top-ranked Georgia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in a College Football Playoff semifinal.

That Peach Bowl defeat wasn't the only heartbreak for OSU. When Day's team kicks off spring drills on March 7, he hopes to see that the Buckeyes have learned from a second-straight loss to rival Michigan. That 45-23 flop in their regular-season finale kept Ohio State from winning the Big Ten title.

That's one of the topics Day discussed in an extended interview with The Columbus Dispatch. More of Day's interview at this link.

Dec 31, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day leads his team in warm-ups prior to the Peach Bowl in the College Football Playoff semifinal at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

Columbus Dispatch: An Ohio State coach who loses to Michigan twice in a row is going to get criticized. How have you handled it? What's been the toughest thing about it?

Ryan Day: Just how much it means to so many people not having that win. For 365 days, that hurts. But you can't run from it. You’ve got to embrace it. Now we've just got to work toward a solution to win it this year.

CD: I know how down everybody was after the Michigan game. The fact that you guys did rebound psychologically and played well against Georgia, what did that mean to you?

Ryan Day: People say the term culture a lot, but what it means is, I think who we have here. That was gut-wrenching. That was hard, you know. We put so much into that game and come up short. It's not easy, but I think it shows in that moment, especially with so much disappointment to go around, our guys never splintered. The players, the coaches, everybody in the Woody stuck together. We have a bunch of people here who care about each other. They know all the work that gets put in here. We went out and swung as hard as we could in that (Georgia) game and came up short. We just ran out of bullets at the end. But I think it speaks to how strong things are here. You don't build a program without a great foundation. And when you take a shot, and the foundation is still standing there, and I think you could see that in that moment, being able to play like that in that game.

CD: I'm sure you try to fight thinking of the what-ifs in that game, and you kind of alluded to it. You lost Marvin Harrison Jr. to a concussion and were down to backups and former walk-ons at the skill positions other than C.J. Stroud on that final drive. And yet you were still right there.

Taunting:Georgia's Javon Bullard signs photo of Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr. hit with 'Night Night'

RD: We talked about a lot: It's going to take everybody. We talked about it in preseason. When we see the depth chart, it's like, well, who's going to get the carries? Who's going to get the catches? But when you're talking about that many games, and as we get to the (expanded 12-team) playoff, you're talking about 14-15 games. You can't just sign somebody off waivers (like in the NFL). Guys getting get hurt is part of it. Part of the strength of your team is your depth, and our depth certainly got challenged. I thought some of those guys really stepped up. Xavier Johnson made that catch for the touchdown. Mitch Rossi played a big role. We were short-handed at running back for a good portion of the year. That was a challenge. But that comes with the territory, especially late in the season.

CD: Did you even watch the Georgia-TCU game?

RD: Not really, no. Once you get that emotionally attached to the game and you don't get it so close, it’s hard. But certainly, hats off to them. Back-to-back champs. That’s not easy to do.

CD: How much have you rewatched that Georgia game?

RD: A good amount. 

CD: What did you take from it?

RD: Just so many plays that if you make them, you win the game. But that's part of the deal. I'm disappointed in the outcome but proud of the way we played.

CD: Let’s wrap it up with this. Just in general, how do you feel about things as you approach this new season?

RD: I like our team. I like our staff. Even coming off of the mat drills this morning, I thought there was great leadership out there. I think we have really good pieces. We have to grow and continue to build. It's a unique start to the season. We have Indiana and two non-conference games and then Notre Dame. That’ll be exciting. New quarterbacks. It’s a new journey every year, a new story about to be written. I'm fired up. I like our guys. I like our staff, and we’ll keep swinging on this thing.

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