Ryan Day comments on Ohio State Rose Bowl withdrawals: “I love these guys”

Usually, the day of welcoming a game of bowls is not very hectic. Monday at Disneyland, as Ohio State and Utah made their first appearances after arriving in Los Angeles ahead of the Rose Bowl, generated plenty of news.

Prior to the parade and media availability at Disneyland, the Junior Receiver Garrett wilson posted on social media that he was declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft. It wasn’t much of a surprise, as many believed Wilson would pull out of the Rose Bowl and head to the league.

What came as a surprise was when Buckeye’s head coach Ryan day announced that not only Wilson, but his colleague broad Chris Olave, offensive lineman Nicolas Little-Brother and defensive tackle Haskell Garrett not all will play at the Rose Bowl.

“We have four guys who won’t be available for the game: Garrett, Chris, Nick and Haskell,” Day said. “So definitely loving these guys and appreciating everything they’ve done for the program. But the guys have had a good month of training.

While Scarlet and Gray fans expected a few strikeouts, hearing that four players chose not to play the Rose Bowl, especially within the two hours or so, was a lot to take into account. Buckeye Nation is not used to this new era of bowl option. outs, having played in the College Football Playoff each of the past two years.

“I love these guys,” Day said of the players who have retired. “I definitely think this game is important to our team and I know the guys who play their last game want to end up with a lasting image of a Rose Bowl win and play well. And the younger ones, they want the opportunity to gain momentum next year. And that’s kind of what we’ve been focusing on right now, is that every guy has to make the decision in that role. But I know there are still a lot of guys who want to play really well in this game.

The shock was especially true for Olave, as the official Ohio State Twitter feed posted a photo of him in uniform earlier in the morning. This image was not old or falsified. As it turns out, Olave trained with the Buckeyes before the Rose Bowl.

“He trained with the team throughout bowl practice,” Day said. “He came home with us, he trained today. He came back for a reason. It’s amazing the amount of respect for Chris and what he’s been doing here and everything he’s done for this program. He always wanted to be part of the team and everything like that. Certainly he went out with the team and wants to be a part of it.

Without Wilson and Olave, receiving corps Scarlet and Gray will be deprived of two of their best wide receivers. Wilson caught the second-most passes (70) and had the second-most receiving (1,058) and receiving touchdown (12) yards for Ohio State in the regular season, despite a game failure . Olave was third in receptions (65) and receiving yards (936), but led the team with 13 touchdown catches.

These two were behind the second year Jaxon Smith-Njigba who led the team in catches (80) and receiving yards (1,259) and caught six touchdowns and will play in the game. And while those two absences mean the Buckeyes won’t have their first three 1,000-yard receivers in one season, it will open the door for some young players to play a bigger role off the coast.

“Definitely, Jaxon has had an amazing year,” Day said. “We need (tight end) Jeremy Ruckert to ramp up and also on the outside now you have Julian, you have Marvin, you have Emeka and some of these young guys and now they are going to have the opportunity to play.

Second year Julien fleming and first year student Emeka Egbouka were ranked among the best receivers in their respective categories by the 247Sports Composite. While Marvin Harrison Jr. was “only” a four-star prospect in the 2021 class, he was consistently ranked as the 14th best receiver in the country and his father is a Professional Football Hall of Fame member.

On the offensive line, Petit-Frère will be a big loss after starting every game for the Scarlet and Gray. After his stint from left-to-right tackling this year, Petit-Frere was a unanimous All-Big Ten first-team player and was named to multiple All-American teams for his game in 2021.

Without him, Ohio State will have to adjust the offensive line, but that’s nothing new for the Buckeyes.

“Paris (Johnson) has been working a bit to attack this period of bowl training,” Day said. “But for the game, we’ll see Thayer play the left tackle.”

Thayer Munford started on left tackle the past three seasons for the Scarlet and Gray, but moved up to left guard this year to open the door for Little Brother and Dawand jones. Fourth year junior Matthew Jones was not a starter this season, but has stepped in on guard and is expected to take Munford’s place.

On the defensive line, Garrett is sure to leave a hole, especially against a Utah team that was the 13th best running team in the country. Taron Vincent and Antwuan Jackson have a lot of experience in the middle of the Ohio State defensive line and, like the wide receiver, young players are waiting to step in.

“I think for some of those D linemen who were doing the rotation they’re going to see a bigger role in this game with Haskell,” Day said. “What a great opportunity for these guys to show their teammates and show themselves how productive they can be. And I think it’s very, very important for these guys like Antwuan Jackson, this will be his last game as Buckeye and he wants to play his best game. For some of the guys coming back to the front, to really kick them into the next year and build some momentum for the offseason.

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While the focus at Disneyland on Monday was on withdrawing players, there are also a number of NFL Draft-eligible Buckeyes who have decided to play the Rose Bowl. Scarlet and Gray will benefit from the likes of Zach harrison, Dawand jones, Teradja mitchell, Sevyn banks, Tyreke smith and others choosing to play.

“Every guy, we had conversations,” Day said. “I’m excited for the guys who play. For the guys who aren’t, I’m obviously grateful for everything they’ve done for the program. It’s just an era, a different era and we’re excited to play in this game and I know our team is, the guys who play in this game, it’s going to mean a lot to them and our program.

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