Latest Global News | Ohio State Ryan Day Michigan Press Conference

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with the media on Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s highly-touted clash against the Michigan Wolverines. Day — unlike any other coach this season preparing to face Michigan — offered no opening statement and very little detail in any of his responses. Even for this rivalry, this year, there seems to be a little extra vitriol in the air with the allegations of sign-stealing, P.I. firms, and both coaches dodging questions about mutual respect.

On his respect for Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff

“I think with everything going on and the things that are out there, we just kind of stayed away from all the distractions. We have and just focused on our team. And I think our guys have done a good job of it. I think when you talk to our guys, I’ve talked to them a couple of times about what’s gone on this season and going into the game, but they’re focused on this game, they’re focused on this season, they’re focused on their preparation — and we’re just going to continue on that.”

On if the lack of respect lessens the rivalry

“I was taught that the way you respect the rivalry is to work it every day, whether it’s in the weight room, whether it’s game planning, talking to your players, periods at practice during the spring, periods in practice in the preseason. And that’s it. We do. We respect the rivalry and certainly excited to play here on Saturday.”

On not letting The Game become too emotional

“Not that it’s easy, but the only thing that matters is this game, is this team, is preparing. The rest of it doesn’t matter. So, that’s what we have to do. We have got to stay disciplined enough to focus on that. It goes back to the conversation about emotion, letting emotion of the game and everything get in the way. We can’t do that. And every year, you learn more and more about this game and the preparation for it. We’re not going to let any of that stuff get in our way, in terms of distractions. We’re just going to focus on this team, this season and preparing the best we possibly can.”

On what’s changed in the rivalry to swing it in Michigan’s favor the last two seasons

“I don’t know. I think it’s a good question, but we take every year as it is and go from there. There are guys with scars, and I’m one of ‘em. So, it just drives you every day to work harder and to make sure you do everything you possibly can to win the game.”

On choosing Kyle McCord over J.J. McCarthy on the recruiting trail

“There are all kinds of things that lead into recruiting. No, I mean, J.J. is always great. He was very respectful. He was a very competitive player. I’ve got a lot of respect for him as a player and as a person. During the recruiting cycle, you just spend time with different people and different folks, and you learn about people. All my interactions with he and his family were very classy.”

On how tough road games (Notre Dame, Wisconsin) have prepared the Buckeyes for the Big House

“We have the schedule right over there, and I point to all those white blocks right there, the teams we knew we had to go on the road (to play) this season more than we had in the past. Certainly knew we had to go on the road for this one. So, like I said before, it’s all on preparation for the last game of the year. So, it’s been great to get tested, to get battle tested. Again, you talk about reference points, our team does have reference points. It’ll be loud, it’ll be a hostile, great environment. But we’ve been in those before, and so a reference point going into the game is important.”

On Michigan’s red zone defense

“Well, they don’t have very many snaps down there. So, there’s not a ton to go off of. But every yard is worth two or three down there, and then you gotta do a great job of execution. The field gets smaller. We call it the 12th defender, the end line, so you just gotta operate in a smaller area. So, you’ve gotta be efficient. That’ll be another situation that’ll be huge in the game, those four-point plays where you either kick a field goal or score a touchdown on both sides of the ball.”

On the preparation to avoid potential confrontations in Michigan’s tunnel

“Folks have been talking about it here for a couple of weeks and putting some good plans together to make sure we can focus on what matters, and that’s getting on the field and playing football.”

On the potential lessening of the rivalry with a 12-team playoff

“I’m sure it’ll always be just as much on the line when these two teams play. Certainly, it’ll be different, but I don’t think it’ll change anything, just on the format. It’s always going to be this way. The format certainly will change next year, but I don’t think the rivalry will ever be anything less than what it is right now.”

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