Ohio State football: No lack of worries ahead of Rose Bowl

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Ohio State coach Ryan Day on Utah and making most of Rose Bowl practices

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Ohio State is set to play Utah in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

Between now and then, head coach Ryan Day has a lot to deal with on top of preparing for the Utes.

Explore5 takeaways from Ryan Day's Rose Bowl press conference

The early-signing period for recruiting begins Dec. 15, and Day and his staff are working to firm up their commitments and supplement the class where they can.

Ohio State’s 2022 class has 17 members and ranks fourth in the country and first in the Big Ten.

At the same time, there are questions about the future composition of Day’s staff after a second straight season of struggles on defense, but he declined to get into that Sunday.

“As we head into this bowl time right now, recruiting is crazy (so) we are focused on that,” Day said when asked about potential staff changes. “We are focused on these guys and the bowl game right now. That’s really where our focus is right now.

“We will always be evaluating to see what’s the best way to move forward, so if there are any updates on that, we will let you know.”

Meanwhile, the combination of the transfer portal and a new rule allowing players to transfer without having to sit out a year raises the likelihood the Buckeyes will lose some players off their current roster and the possibility they could add some.

“The amount of players in the transfer portal right now, it’s mind-boggling,” Day said. “I think everyone is just astonished by what’s been going on, and certainly I’m one of them.”

Bringing in transfers is more complicated than just adding another talented player to the mix.

Day said chemistry is always something to keep in mind.

“You have to take the dynamics of your team into consideration,” he said. “We will not be flippant about those decisions.

“The chemistry of your team is something we have to really be on top of. All it takes is a couple guys and you can get yourself out of whack. When we recruit young men, we bring them in to develop them. Bringing (transfers) in can kind of upset that, so we don’t want to do that unless we need to and we have certain needs.”

In the past, that has included bringing in quarterback Justin Fields, offensive lineman Jonah Jackson, running back Trey Sermon and kicker Noah Ruggles — all players who played huge roles for the Buckeyes in spots they were thin or had questions in the offseason.

“That’s not something we count on, but it is something we will use when we need to,” Day said.

All the while, the Buckeyes will be trying to put a humbling loss to Michigan behind them.

That the Wolverines would someday snap their losing streak against Ohio State was probably inevitable, but the manner of the loss no doubt sticks withe the Buckeyes.

Michigan — like Oregon earlier in the season — dominated the line of scrimmage to a large degree on both sides of the ball while running away with a 42-27 win and ultimately a Big Ten championship and College Football Playoff berth.

“We’ve got to obviously do a better job stopping the run,” Day said about his team giving up over 500 yards to the Ducks and Wolverines. “We weren’t able to get some stops. Our goal every game is to win the line of scrimmage and run the football and play physical and play great defense. We will continue that.

“This bowl practice, we will have an opportunity to get back out there and emphasize pad level and hand placement. Certainly, when you go on the road it is important in this conference.”

ROSE BOWL

Jan. 1, 2022

Ohio State vs. Utah, 5 p.m., ESPN, 1410

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