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Day worried as Buckeyes open on the road

Jim Naveau
jnaveau@limanews.com

COLUMBUS — Ryan Day hasn’t lost a Big Ten game and hasn’t lost a regular-season game as Ohio State’s football coach.
But he is a coach. So, of course, he says he worries about some things going into the Buckeyes’ opener at Minnesota on Thursday night.
“Going on the road is going to be a challenge for us. It’s the first time in a while we’ve played in front of a packed house,” Day said Monday as he previewed the opener.
“I feel good going into this game but you just don’t know what you’ve got until you get out there.
“I’m excited to get going and find out what we have and start to solve all the things that need fixed that you don’t know until you get out there.
“That’s coaching, that’s the fun part about coaching. The hard part is you’re not allowed to lose around here. You’ve got to win, you’ve got to find a way to win and get out of that environment 1-0,” he said.
The Buckeyes, 7-1 last season after a late start, ended their season with a loss to Alabama in the College Football Playoff national championship game. Minnesota was 3-4 last season.
The Gophers could cause some problems with last year’s Big Ten rushing leader Mohamed Ibrahim running behind a veteran offensive line and quarterback Tanner Morgan, who is a three-year starter at that position. But they also have a defense that gave up 30 points a game last season.
Some other thoughts from Day:
• NO QUICK HOOK: Starting quarterback C.J. Stroud will not have to look over his shoulder at the first sign of trouble, Day indicated.
Asked if another one of OSU’s quarterbacks might get a chance to play sometime soon as part of the game plan, Day said, “That’s not the plan right now.”
He also said he has not determined whether Jack Miller or Kyle McCord is the No. 2 QB.
“I’d like to sit here and tell you one guy is ahead of the other but that is not the case. It would make my life easier but right now I can’t say one guy is ahead of the other,” he said.
• MUNFORD READY FOR OPENER: Offensive lineman Thayer Munford, who has missed some preseason practice time because of an unspecified injury, will be available against Minnesota.
Munford, last year’s starting left tackle, could be at guard, though. During some practices in August, last year’s starting right tackle, Nicholas Petit-Frere, moved to left tackle, Dawand Jones became the right tackle and Munford played left guard.
Day did not confirm Jones has locked up a starting position but Petit-Frere later said he will be at left tackle on Thursday night, which would seem to indicate Jones will play right tackle.
• SIX RECEIVERS WILL PLAY: Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Julian Fleming, Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. all will play, Day said.
“When you look at the six of Chris, Jaxon, Garrett, Julian, Emeka and Marvin, they’re all going to play and they deserve to play,” he said.
Egbuka and Harrison are freshman.
• HENDERSON WILL PLAY ‘QUICKLY’: When Day discussed Ohio State’s running backs, he started with veterans Master Teague and Miyan Williams but didn’t take long before he mentioned freshman TreVeyon Henderson.
“They all bring different things to the table. They all have different skill sets. Miyan and Master have played the most. Marcus (Crowley) played a little bit in the national championship game.
“Tre is going to get in there quickly. We’ll roll those guys and see how the game plays out but we’re going to play depth at that position,” he said.
Henderson was ranked the No. 1 running back nationally in the 2021 recruiting class.
STILL NO NCAA DECISION: Ohio State and linebacker Palaie Gaoteote have still not heard from the NCAA whether or not the USC transfer will be eligible this season.
“The NCAA asked for some additional information so I guess they’re still looking it over but unfortunately we don’t have any more information even as we’re headed into the game,” Day said.
“It’s a difficult spot for him and us as we’re waiting to hear the decision. But we’re still optimistic. We’re patiently waiting. If he is eligible he has an opportunity to be on scholarship. If he isn’t he has to figure out what the next step for him is.”