Day says Buckeyes use transfer portal to help fill holes

Published 7:39 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2023

By Jim Naveau

   COLUMBUS – Ohio State football coach Ryan Day answered questions for nearly 50 minutes on Wednesday in his first press conference since the Buckeyes’ 42-41 loss to Georgia in a College Football playoff semifinal in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Eve.

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   He said that loss still stings.  But the focus now is turning toward the 2023 season with OSU’s 15 spring practices scheduled to begin in early March.

    “Every year you look back on situations – a play here, a play there and we could be national champs. That’s not going to go away but at the same time you can’t let it dominate your mind,” Day said.

   “You have to move forward. Life is going on. But when you get that close it hurts. It stings. Time does heal all wounds but it’s going to take a while.”

   Some other thoughts from Day:

   – The Buckeyes have added four players through the transfer portal and expect to add a fifth player who has not yet officially enrolled. All of those players were added to fill holes on OSU’s roster, Day said.
    “I think it’s been pretty clear when we bring guys in from the transfer portal it’s to fill needs.  We’re not bringing guys in just to bring guys in. All these guys fill a need for us,” he said.

   “I think there have been times where there have been prospects available in the portal when we didn’t feel it was appropriate to just bring in another guy. What we’ve done is fill holes. When you look at Justin (Fields) and Jonah (Jackson) and Trey (Sermon) and Noah Ruggles, these are situations where we’ve had a hole and we addressed that issue. My concern is when you start bringing in too many guys from different programs the culture in the locker room can start to be affected.”
   Offensive lineman Victor Cutler (Louisiana-Monroe), quarterback Tristan Gebbia (Oregon State), safety Ja’Had Carter (Syracuse) and long snapper John Ferlmann (Arizona State) have officially joined the Buckeyes. Cornerback Davison Igbinosun (Ole Miss) has announced he has committed to Ohio State and is expected to enroll.
     Day said he is excited to see Kyle McCord and Devin Brown compete for the starting quarterback job.
   “Kyle is going into year three, Devin is going into year two, so Kyle has one more year of experience and has started one game and played in more games than Devin but it’s going to be a heck of a competition.

   “They both have a little bit different of a skill set. I hope one of them emerges and we can name a stater. Some vision on who the starter is coming out of the spring would be nice. I’m hoping one of them emerges in these 15 (spring) practices,” he said.

   “They’re both going to get a ton of reps (practice repetitions).  At the end of the day it’s got to be the guy our team believes in, our coaching staff believes in, who can lead the team to a championship.”
   – Center Luke Wyler’s decision to enter the NFL draft after three years at Ohio State was a surprise for OSU’s coaching staff.
   “We were hoping Luke would not declare but he did and we wish him nothing but the best of luck and he’ll be a very good pro. Hopefully, Luke can get drafted early on. That one we didn’t really certainly expect,” Day said.
   Wypler’s departure means Ohio State will have three new starters on its offensive line in the fall.  Starting tackles Paris Johnson Jr. and Dawand Jones also entered the NFL draft.

   – Wide receivers Emeka Egbuka and Julian Fleming, defensive end Mitchell Melton, running back Evan Pryor, center Jakob James and safety Kourt Williams will not be available for spring practice.

   “I think there will be a couple more and we’ll give you an update as we get closer to spring. These guys have had some long term surgeries. We’ll have them after the spring but we’re just going to be careful with them during the spring,” Day said.
   – Day, who grew up as a New England Patriots fan, reacted to Tom Brady’s announcement on Wednesday that he is retiring by calling him the greatest quarterback ever and saying, “What an unbelievable career.”