COLUMBUS — First the questions were about how Ohio State would handle transition. Now they’re about how it will handle success.
Ohio State’s first three football games have been blowouts against overmatched competition. The results with Ryan Day in charge have been similar to what they would have been if Urban Meyer were still OSU’s coach.
So, of course, the questions now have turned to how Ohio State will handle success with a different coach setting the tone.
Day’s answer at his weekly press conference on Tuesday was that OSU can be a great team but that, even as dominating as it was in beating Indiana 51-10 last Saturday, it has a long way to go to become great.
“I’ve felt for a little while now and I’ve talked to the team about that, that I think we can be great. We’re nowhere near where we need to be, but we can be,” Day said.
“We have the ability. We have the talent. We have the leadership. But if we want to get where we want to go, we have to take it one week at a time. I know that’s a cliché,” he said.
“We played well (at Indiana) but we didn’t play great. We played hard, we played tough but we have so many things to clean up. It’s actually really frustrating to watch, there are so many things we could be cleaning up.
“I don’t know how much respect we had throughout the country coming into the season but we said, ‘Ignore the noise.’ It’s the same thing now. Just because we’ve won a couple games it hasn’t changed anything for us.
“We have to produce each week. It’s a performance based business and we have to bring it this week or that all goes down the tubes. The challenge is to continue what we’re doing right now,” Day said.
Miami (Ohio), with a 1-2 record, is the next opponent for Ohio State (3-0). Saturday’s game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. at Ohio Stadium.
—FIELDS SURPRISES: Day said starting quarterback Justin Fields is “light years ahead of where I thought he’d be.”
“Nothing needed to be fixed. It’s just when somebody with that little experience comes into a situation like playing quarterback at Ohio State there’s just a lot of things that go on. There’s a lot of things he needs to handle and so far he’s handled them,” he said.
—BACKUP QUARTERBACK: Chris Chugunov has been the first quarterback to get into the game when Fields comes out the first three games.
Day says Chugunov’s greater familiarity with Ohio State’s system have kept him ahead of Kentucky transfer Gunnar Hoak so far, but that could change. “The more Gunnar is here, the more he can learn the offense, then the more he can show what he can do,” Day said. “The more Gunnar can learn the offense and feel comfortable with the terminology, the reads, the progressions, the protections, the better off he’ll be. So, no change right now but he’s learning more and more.”
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: To the surprise of no one, J.K. Dobbins was named Ohio State’s offensive player of the game after rushing for 193 yards on 22 carries against Indiana.
Damon Arnette, who had a 96-yard interception return for a touchdown, was the defensive player of the game and Chris Olave, who blocked a punt, was the special teams player of the game. It was the first time this season Chase Young was not the defensive player of the game.
Ohio State’s starting offensive linemen – Thayer Munford, Jonah Jackson, Josh Myers, Wyatt Davis and Branden Bowen – have been honored as “champions” in all three of the Buckeyes’ games.
TCU TRADE: Miami, which has played Ohio State five times before, most recently in 2012, returned to the Buckeyes’ schedule when what was originally going to be a home and home series with TCU was changed to a one-game match-up at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, last season.
NO LUCK AGAINST BIG BROTHER: Miami has lost the last 16 games it has played against Power 5 conference teams and also has a loss to Notre Dame in 2017 during that time span.
Miami is 58-112 overall since 2003, the last season Ben Roethlisberger played in a RedHawks uniform.