The Buckeyes head to Atlanta in less than two weeks.

Ohio State, ranked No. 4 in the College Football Playoff, takes on No. 1 Georgia in the Peach Bowl, which hosts a semifinal matchup that will decide one of the two participants in this year’s national championship game.

To discuss the upcoming contest, among other things, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, head coach Ryan Day and Peach Bowl CEO Gary Stokan – who formally invited the program to the bowl game – all addressed media members at a ceremony and press conference at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Tuesday.

Eleven Warriors took notes on everything all three said below.

Ryan Day

  • “It’s an honor to be invited to go to the Peach Bowl. … We’ve heard such wonderful things about the Peach Bowl over the years.” Day says Atlanta has been a great recruiting spot for the Buckeyes over the years.

  • “Our guys are working hard, I can promise you that.” Day says the Buckeye players are finishing up final exams at the moment.

  • On Kevin Wilson’s departure: “We’ll cross that bridge after the season. … We sat down and talked about this. He’s gonna continue to coach throughout the bowl game. He’s done a great job of that. He’s working 24 hours a day right now.”

  • “Keenan Bailey is just an excellent coach. He’s a really sharp young man who’s gonna do unbelievable things throughout his career.” Day says Bailey’s “turned down a lot of opportunities to go to other places over the years.”

  • Day says the Buckeyes are still in the “fundamental” phase of bowl practice so far, but will get into game planning “here soon.”

  • On his impressions of the Georgia offense: “(Stetson) Bennett is the one that kind of gets it all going. And certainly they have talent across the board.” Day says Bennett’s had an “unbelievable story” and it’s been “a joy to watch him compete.”

  • On Dallan Hayden not getting many carries against Michigan: “I thought in The Game that Chip (Trayanum) played well.” Says it was Tony Alford’s decision. Day adds the Buckeyes expect to be much healthier at running back for the Peach Bowl and that Hayden will be a big part of the bowl.

  • Asked about OG Matt Jones’ health status, Day says “for the most part, everyone’s healing up.”

  • On preparing for signing day while in the middle of bowl preparation, Day says “you just don’t sleep.”

  • “Certainly the transfer portal has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger. It’s become like free agency. And certainly we’re gonna be a part of it.”

  • Day says NIL deals have become “THE conversation” and not just “part of the conversation” for a lot of people.

  • Day says “we’re gonna do everything we can to make sure our guys get what’s fair” in terms of NIL.

  • On NIL frustrations, Day says “we’re gonna need all the help we can get, but that’s kind of the way it is across the country right now.”

  • “Nobody wanted to play more than Jaxon. I know that.” Day says “it was tough this year without him.” Day hoped he could get JSN back this year, but there was “too much risk” in him returning to the field.

  • On Mike Leach, Day says he met him a couple of times and has a “tremendous amount of respect” for him. Day says “it really makes you take a deep breath and think about life in general.”

  • On what CJ Stroud’s legacy is: “CJ was our fifth Heisman Trophy finalist in five years. Certainly there’s a lot to be proud of there. Certainly he’d like to win it, because he’s competitive.” Day says Stroud is “very, very excited to play in this game” and has “given a lot to Ohio State.”

  • On TreVeyon Henderson’s status: “I’ll probably give you an update in the next few days. I don’t really have an update right now. … We’ll get back to you on that one.”

  • “In a perfect world you’d like to be with your team this time of year. But that’s not how it works, that’s the rules.”

  • Asked about Georgia’s tight ends, Day says Brock Bowers is “really versatile” and Darnell Washington is a “massive human being” that can overwhelm opponents with his size.

  • Day says ball security issues “didn’t play into the decision” for Hayden not to receive much playing time against Michigan. “Dallan wants to play, and he’s gonna continue to play.”

  • On NIL: “There are times where you ask that question, ‘What are we doing?'”

  • Day calls Georgia DT Jordan Carter “one of the best football players in the country” and the Buckeyes will “have to know exactly where he is.”

  • On the $13 million NIL number he threw out months ago: “That’s the goal. … Our players need to know that we’re working hard for them, and we are.”

Gene Smith

  • Smith thanks Stokan for the charitable work of the Peach Bowl.

  • “We’re excited about the opportunity. It’s a place we haven’t been a place we wanted to go. It’s a place we felt like our fans could get to pretty easily.”

Gary Stokan

  • Stokan congratulates the Buckeye administration for “a very successful season.” Stokan gives “special mention” to Ohio State’s All-American players.

  • Stokan thinks the game will break the capacity record for the Super Bowl hosted at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Stokan expects 78-79,000 people in attendance.

  • Stokan says tickets went out to Ohio State fans on Monday and were sold out on Wednesday. “That might be a record.”

  • Each team will receive $6 million from the Peach Bowl, with $2 million for travel and $4 million for the actual game.

  • The Peach Bowl and Chic-Fil-A are each donating $50,000 to Ohio State to endow a scholarship for “underprivileged” students from Georgia going to OSU.

  • “This is a reward for the players. They’re the ones that worked their butts off” over the past year.

  • “Styles make fights.” Stokan says “this is gonna be a true war and a battle and a lot of fireworks on New Year’s Eve in Atlanta.”

  • On a team not winning their conference but going on to win the national title: “There’s a path, there’s a road that this has been done before. And Ohio State has that opportunity.”

  • 12,500 tickets go to each team, not including 500 each for the bands from each school.

  • Stokan says the Peach Bowl has added an additional 2,000 standing-room seats for the game.

  • “I don’t see any reason why there can’t be” a major bowl game in the north or the midwest. “It’s just a matter of somebody wanting to do it, really.” Stokan says “there’s no reason there shouldn’t be a major bowl game in the midwest.”