COLUMBUS — Ryan Day didn’t say Ohio State’s defensive backfield needs to improve or lacks depth, but when a coach says young players at that position need to prepared to play it might be an indicator things could be better.
During his weekly Zoom conference call on Tuesday, when Day was asked if OSU’s young defensive backs might be closer to getting playing time, he said, “I think they’re going to have to. It’s hard to put them in the game now because they just haven’t had the body of work leading up to this point in the season.
“You have to grin and bear it. The only way to learn is to make mistakes and we’re just going to have to live with it,” he said.
Freshman cornerback Ryan Watts, a 4-star recruit, played 22 snaps, all in the fourth quarter of a 49-27 win over Rutgers last Saturday. Lejond Cavazos, also a 4-star recruit, is another freshman who might work his way up the depth chart but he has been unavailable the first three games of the season because of an injury.
“It was good to see Ryan (Watts) out there. It will be good to get Lejond (Cavazos) back in the mix. First off, you have to get those guys ready because you don’t know what’s going on in America right now,” Day said, referring to COVID-19.
“At any point those guys might be playing. We’re going to have to put them out there. There’s going to be good plays, there’s going to be bad plays. But the only way they get better is to learn. We have to practice better, which is what we’re focusing on this week, but playing is important, too.”
Day wanted to give back-ups at every position more playing time against Rutgers but a slow start in the second half after OSU took a 35-3 halftime lead changed that plan.
“We were hoping to get one more score to start the second half and it didn’t happen. Then we were just kind of flat for a while so we never quite got to where we wanted to be,” Day said.
Some other thoughts from Day:
THIS WEEK’S GAME: “They are dangerous right now. They played well against Penn State. These guys are definitely better than they have been,” Day said about Maryland, which is 2-1 after beating Penn State 35-19 last Saturday.
BALANCED OFFENSE: Day disagreed with the suggestion OSU, which has run for more than 200 yards in its last two games, needs to run the ball more.
“To run for more than 200 yards, I don’t know how much more we need to rush. Two hundred yards rushing is a pretty good day,” he said.
HAUBEIL ‘DAY TO DAY’: Kicker Blake Haubeil might miss his second game in a row when OSU goes to Maryland.
“Blake is still taking it day by day so we’ll see how it goes this week,” Day said.
Freshman Jake Seibert was 7 for 7 on extra points and did not attempt a field goal against Rutgers.
“I thought Jake was good. It was a good start, I thought he looked confident out there,” Day said.
VERSATILE TIGHT ENDS: Tight ends Jeremy Ruckert and Luke Farrell are big contributors in the passing game and the running game, Day said.
“Ruck has done a good job blocking in the running game, first of all. He’s finishing guys, he’s getting a bunch of knockdowns.
“And he has made some plays in the red zone. So has Luke. It’s their versatility that really helps us. They have the ability to do a good job in the running game and then they’ll also make plays in the passing game. It has been a weapon for us.