COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State football coach Ryan Day said he doesn’t regret playing Jackson Smith-Nzigba against Toledo, even though the star receiver missed the Wisconsin game because of an apparent concussion — and more absences are likely to come.
Day said there is no timetable for Smith-Nzigba’s return from the hamstring injury suffered in the season opener against Notre Dame. The junior has been inactive for two of the past three weeks. Ohio State has a bye week on its schedule next Saturday and plays Rutgers at Michigan State.
“I don’t think we want to move forward until we all feel really good about everything,” Day said. “Jackson still has a day-to-day mentality. We will not put any schedule on it. He and the training staff have been working hard.
“I know he’s disappointed, but we’re not as far apart as we think. You just have to have the mindset to show up every day and treat him as best you can to take care of his body and it will be behind him soon. We still have a lot of football to play.”
Smith-Nzigba played just 38 snaps this season — 15 against Notre Dame and 23 against Toledo. After racking up a Big Ten-record 1,606 receiving yards on 95 receptions last season, he has just 36 yards on four receptions this season.
Smith-Nzigba said in a Twitter post on Sunday night that he would “be back soon.”
Day said the decision to play Smith-Nzigba against Toledo came after an evaluation by team physicians and athletic trainers and the player’s own reaction. Day said the receiver “struggled” at times with his inability to contribute.
“He’s one of the competitive players I’ve ever been around,” said Day. “But it doesn’t really go the way you expect it to go. This is normal life. So life will throw adversity our way, and we control the response.
“… We try not to talk too much with (players) about focusing on expectations rather than just focusing on what they can do in the moment. It’s not easy for him, I’m sure, but if he can keep at it, it’ll be behind him. Sooner and she’ll be stronger for it.
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