COLUMBUS – For most Ohio State fans, hearing coach Ryan Day say freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson – who played only the first quarter against Rutgers last week – is “good to go” for the Buckeyes’ game against Maryland on Saturday would have been almost all they needed to hear.
But Day had much more to say in his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
Some thoughts from the OSU coach:
MAKING PROGRESS: Day said he is “proud of the development over the last month” since a 35-28 loss to Oregon on Sept. 11.
“It’s been a little bumpy at times. But guys have come to work every day, the coaching staff has been steady, the leaders have been steady and we’re getting better,” Day said.
But a 52-13 win over Rutgers doesn’t mean everything is good, he said.
“We had one good week. Now we have to do it again. But there is momentum there. We still have a young team. We’re not out of the woods yet. We have to bring it every week. The question is how quickly can we get to where we know we can be, how quickly can we get to being a team that can win a championship.”
OLAVE NEEDS PATIENCE: Day said some teams are designing their defenses to take away senior wide receiver Chris Olave and he needs to be patient when that happens.
Olave had 5 catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Rutgers but had a total of only two catches in games against Akron and Tulsa right before that.
“The challenge for Chris is understanding that for us to get where we need to be as an offense and as a team he has to be unselfish,” Day said. “There are going to be stretches where the ball doesn’t come his way.
“But if he continues to do what the play is designed to do and continues to give great effort and have a great attitude, the ball is going to find him like it did Saturday. He’s got a lot of big catches ahead of him.
“But he also puts pressure on himself because he wants to be the best in the country. And that’s good. We want guys like that,” he said. – HENDERSON HEALTHY AND EARLY: During a halftime television interview at Rutgers, Day said Henderson “just got banged up a little” and would not play again in the game. But the freshman, who has rushed for 510 yards on only 54 carries, is ready to return to action this week.
Asked if Henderson had developed faster than expected, Day said he has been a bit of a surprise.
“I thought it would take a little bit longer than it has because he didn’t play his senior year of high school and stepping into this situation is a lot. But I also saw a guy in the spring who was very serious about his work, very mature and who takes care of his body. If he makes a mistake he’s the hardest person on himself. All that was good. And then you see the talent,” he said.
MITCHELL EMERGES: After having a total of only 18 tackles the last two seasons, linebacker Teradja Mitchell is second in tackles for OSU this season with 28.
“Teradja is in a unique situation because he had not played much football going into the season. While he had been in the program he did not have a ton of experience,” Day said.
“Now he’s starting to get a lot of reps (repetitions) and you’re seeing someone who is playing a lot more effectively and efficiently than he did earlier in the season.”