COLUMBUS — Urban Meyer called his Tuesday practices “Bloody Tuesday.”
They were tough. They were meant to be tough and focus his players on the task at hand.
Even without the name, that tradition continues in Ryan Day’s first year as Ohio State’s football coach.
Tuesdays and every other day are about toughness. And, like Meyer, Day believes that’s a quality that is necessary if Saturdays are going to be about winning.
“I believe that if you’re going to play hard and play tough on Saturday, it doesn’t just happen magically. You can’t just give the team a really good speech and get them all fired up to play the game. It comes back to their training,” Day said on Tuesday at his weekly press conference.
“I’m not the only coach in America (who thinks that way). That’s not news to anybody, but it’s something we talk about every week. If we train really hard, if we train really tough, if we practice that way, then that’s how we’re going to play. It’s going to be tough today, really hot today, and we have to work through all of that stuff. But that’s really what it comes down to.
“I talk about we have to be tough. I think maybe they get tired of hearing it, but they can’t get tired of hearing it because that’s what’s got us to this point. Can you sustain it throughout a season, then you are tough. If you can’t, then you aren’t as tough as you thought you were. We’re not going to get away from that,” Day said. “At the end of the day it’s going to come down to how tough we are.”
Some other thoughts from Day:
• Fields and interceptions: OSU quarterback Justin Fields has not thrown an interception in the Buckeyes’ first five games, spanning 116 passes going into Saturday night’s game against Michigan State at Ohio Stadium.
“He’s done a good job of taking care of the ball. I think there’s a couple that he threw in harm’s way that maybe could have gone the other way, but they didn’t,” Day said. “He’s got to keep making those good decisions, keep taking care of the ball.”
• Talking history: Michigan State has cost Ohio State a chance to be involved in the national championship picture three times since a championship game became part of college football — in 2015, 2013 and 1998. Day said those losses to MSU will be mentioned this week.
“It’s a very good team. They don’t give you anything. They’re very sound, and obviously the history of what they’ve done against Ohio State is something that all of our guys are going to be aware of this week.”
• OSU’S improved running game: “I don’t think it’s any one thing, but I think when you look at what Stud (offensive line coach Greg Studrawa) has done and then when you look at what the guys are doing, taking ownership, they’ve all taken a lot of pride in what they’re doing. We talked about being tough and running the ball and they’re embracing it,” Day said.
“We’re off to a good start, but now we just have a bigger bull’s-eye on our chest, so we’ve got to do a great job every week because now people are seeing that we’re running the ball. We’re up against one of the best run defenses in college football in the last two decades this week, so we’re going to have to bring our “A” game.
• Vincent and Saunders status: Defensive tackle Taron Vincent and wide receiver C.J. Saunders have not played in Ohio State’s first five games.
When Day was asked if they could miss the entire season, he said, “I don’t know about that. We’ll have to see.”