Weekly Football Press Conference Transcript
Oct. 25, 2011
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. I know it's a sensitive subject, but can you address the Jaamal Berry situation.
I tell you this, I know we represent in everything we do something much bigger than ourselves, that's coaches, players. Nothing goes unseen.
Wherever we are, on the field, off the field, we represent a group much larger than ourselves. Everyone on the team understands that. We take that very seriously.
Don't be mistaken that we aren't looking into it and we're taking it very seriously.
Q. Will he play this week?
Q. Did you watch the Wisconsin/Michigan State game? Your initial reaction when you saw the pass?
That's what games come down to. It's somebody making a play. You can say it's one person not doing his job or another person doing a heck of a job. Again, it's an unbelievable play, but it's part of the football game.
Q. Based on your experiences as a coach, how does a team come back from that? Do you think Wisconsin will be down because of that?
A loss is a loss and it's hard no matter how they happen. The sign of a program is getting back up and continuing to battle. I think that's what you'll see. Just like any good program, good team, sometimes that's a wake-up call and burns that fire in your belly a little bit more.
Q. With Dominic Clarke, is his situation cleared up? Do you expect him to play? Curtis Grant is in the two deep. What has he done, what has he exhibited?
As far as Curtis, he started to come into his own. Special teams-wise has shown some things. Has been a guy getting a lot more reps with us. Sometimes the personnel dictates that. That's probably why you see a little bit more of a switch with him, getting a lot more reps on the defensive side of the football.
Q. Some of your players were reacting after the Wisconsin loss. They feel like they're back more in control of their own destiny with what's going to happen in this division. Do you think that has any effect on the psyche of your team? Is that uplifting to you at all or does it not matter to Ohio State whether Wisconsin won or lost on Saturday?
We have a lot of things to play for. We understand that. Maybe it's another little something that our guys saw. Maybe they believe in themselves a little bit more. Maybe they see vulnerability. I don't know what it is.
Whatever it is, it still comes down to us handling our own business and taking care of what we need to take care of.
Q. I'm assuming during the bye you did work on the passing game?
Q. Any improvements? Anything you tinker with in your time off?
You know, we worked on things all week. We think we're seeing a lot of growth, we really do. Until it shows up on Saturday afternoon or Saturday night, it's still just talk.
But we consistently work at it. It's probably one of the biggest focuses the three days we had practice. There's still steps that we're taking. We still most importantly have to perform and show it on Saturday.
Q. In terms of what Braxton has shown you in terms of composure, poise, is that up common for a freshman in that kind of situation?
He's done a very good job. I think he's learned each and every week. We look forward to seeing him continue to grow.
Q. Russell Wilson is the opposite of that, fifth-year senior. Talk about your impressions of him, the poise and cool he shows.
You've seen what he does on the field. His patience, his cool, calm, collective ability to hold the football, scramble when he needs to, make the plays when he needs to. That's been obvious.
He is a good fit for what they do in their system. I think obviously his maturity and things shows not only in their locker room but on the field.
Q. You were talking about Russell Wilson. You talked about his cool and collectiveness in the pocket. What type of things does your defense have to do to get him rattled and make mistakes, specifically the defensive line?
Q. Coach Tressel always knew how many days there were to the Michigan game. Did you have any countdown to Wisconsin?
Q. Nothing really replaces Michigan still?
Q. Do you know how many days it is to Michigan?
Q. You've played a couple of night games already, but both on the road. You've been in the stadium for night games. What kind of atmosphere do you expect and can that make a difference in a game like that?
It still comes down to us making sure we know what we're doing. We can feed off that energy. That's a big part of it. We still need to make sure we're under control, know what we can do and enjoy the moment.
Q. Last time we saw you down here, Adams had a great game. You have two guys behind him that are pretty good. Will you find other ways to get them involved and will Boom continue to be the bell cow for this offense right now?
Ultimately you get in games, things start to happen. It's hard to change. You go with what's got you there, what's working. You feel bad for Carlos who is there ready to roll, the game kind of the way it was. Boom was warmed up, lathered up, doing well. It's hard to change a little bit.
We have a plan for them all. We have to make sure we can continue to flip that page, continue to get them all their opportunities.
Q. Continuing the conversation about the atmosphere on Saturday, you've referenced the involvement of the students, how the players fed off that after home games. Anything special you're looking forward to from the student body in attendance this Saturday?
You could see it be in effect when we were at Nebraska. Things start to roll, emotion happens, the crowd gets back into it. That's a big part of a little bit of that momentum.
Q. I think you've addressed this from time to time. If you get hot, let's say you run the table at 9-3, do you think you can have a shot to retain the job? Do you ever entertain those thoughts about the future? Do you think you still have a shot?
If we waste our time worrying about something like that, we're not giving it all to those young men, this team, this program.
Q. Has anybody told you what you have to do to keep your job, laid out any kind of outline, This is what we want to see from you?
Again, it's day-to-day. My focus is those men, this program, this team. Everything else will take care of itself.
Q. Corey Brown, what did you see out of him the last week? Did you get him a lot of rest? Do you see him stepping back to what he was pre-season?
A bye week doesn't bring everybody back to 100%. Sometimes the byes are good. Personally I don't know that I really like them. It might be more of a mental thing that allows you in a bye week to mentally regroup and gather your thoughts, those kinds of things. Your body by Wednesday will probably be pretty similar to what it was the week before.
Q. You talked about Russell Wilson. What about their Montee Ball, James White, their running game? They're putting up big numbers. What makes them so good rushing the football?
Obviously, they're going to be a little bit of a running-focused team. I think you see the consistency over the years of what they've been. They haven't changed a whole lot, which means they believe in what they do. They recruit to it and they do one heck of a job at coaching it.
Q. We talked about the linebackers earlier this year. You were talking about leadership there. What have you seen from them lately as a linebacker group, especially against Wisconsin with the run game, with Wilson's ability to move around, how big is this game to get good linebacker play?
They've grown throughout this year, got a little bit more confidence in what they've done, whether it's Andrew Sweat, Etienne Sabino or Klein. Again, they're guys that are getting better each and every week. This will be a big test for them.
Q. We've seen Tyler a lot this year. Based on this matchup do you think Sweat, Sabino and Klein will be out there?
Q. You mentioned a couple times the game is won up front. Obviously two weeks ago Hankins and Simon had a huge game. Are they to the task to help you win the game up front?
I like who we got. They know what it's about. They know the challenge they have in front of them. It's all talk until we go out Saturday and perform.
Q. Every day that passes probably gets you a little closer to the window when the NCAA sanctions could come down. Have you been led to believe when there might be anything that comes down? Is there any concern on your part that the timing of this might not be ideal for the coach?
Q. Do you ever hear the players mention the NCAA?
Q. Last year when you played up at Wisconsin, you fell behind early. The defense gave up some long drives. When you look back at what they were able to do to your defense to put you in that hole, what did you have to change up, and does that affect the way you game plan for this week?
But it's not going to be a secret a whole lot to the things they do. They don't come in trying to trick a lot of different things. They're very sound in what they do. They're going to continue to pound it, throw the ball down the field. They're going to play very good special teams.
If you look back, last time they were here they faked two punts, maybe that same year they faked a field goal. They're thorough in what they do, sound in what they do. We obviously have to come down to playing.
Q. Just how different is it playing at night versus the afternoon?
Q. Is it harder?
But it is a part of it. The atmosphere is a lot different on a night game. So our guys enjoy that as much as anything. This is why they come. I'm not sure they remember a whole lot of the noon games as much as they might remember a lot of those 8:00 under-the-lights games like they are in high school.
Q. Is it harder to wait when you're the visiting team?
Q. Read stories about players in prominent schools wanting a cut of massive TV money. I read something about a proposal of two grand for players. Do you think they deserve a bigger cut, more stipend? Would that cut down on some of the issues?
We're worried about Wisconsin.
Q. With it being a night game, such a big game against Wisconsin, is it hard finding a balance between having a big recruiting weekend and not losing man-hours for coaching for preparations?
Does it take a little bit of your time? Yeah, but sometimes it's not a bad thing to take your mind off of it before you get rolling anyway.
Q. Former teammate of yours is going to be honored, Eddie George. Your memories of him as a player, if you have a story. What does he mean to the program?
People see the Heisman Trophy, figure he was a big thoroughbred guy that was a big runningback from the get-go. Yes, he might have been a big runningback from the get-go, but things don't always go your way. I don't know in my time here that there was anybody that out-worked him. That's why he is where he is today. That's why he's going into the Hall of Fame. That's why he has a Heisman Trophy. It's not just on the ability. It's on the person, the character, the work ethic that he had to get better.
Q. On the throw-back uniforms, what are your thoughts on those? We keep on hearing the kids like having the different looks, but sometimes some of the fans aren't necessarily a big fan. Where do you fall in that category?
I think it's a good thing. I really do. It brings some excitement, different things, whether it's a marketing thing or a recruiting thing. Our guys enjoy it. We enjoy it.
Q. Have you seen enough of Kenny Guiton in the last two weeks? Is he now your backup quarterback?
Q. Should Wisconsin or any game down the stretch become a field-position battle, talk about Ben Buchanan's play, kick coverage, special teams overall, how that's going to be crucial down the stretch.
Our coverage has been unbelievable. We've done a good job on focusing. Coaching-wise we've done a great job. Our guys have understood that's probably one of the areas where we have to make sure we can dominate or take advantage of a lot of the other situations. We're looking for any way we can to make plays and create field position.
We've been very impressed with the guys, their attitudes, how they've taken it and attacked the special units.
Q. On the special uniforms, you like to wear black. Do you think we'll see black uniforms ever?
Q. Does black make you feel tougher?
Q. Did you think you got a lot accomplished over the bye week?
Q. You're coming off your biggest win. Is it difficult to maintain that momentum you built up?
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by John Simon. Questions.
Q. How much has (indiscernible) enhanced their offense?
Q. Are you a fan of night games?
Q. In terms of the atmosphere Saturday night, what are you expecting?
Q. John, the fact that Wisconsin was the only team to beat you guys last season, what effect, if any, does that have on the attitude of this team going into the game this week?
I would say they're even a better team than they were last year. Like I've been saying, it's going to be a huge challenge for us. Every day we're going to have to work hard and prepare ourselves for Saturday.
Q. Assuming Penn State loses another game, you control your destiny. How much of a boost does that give you knowing that you do have that potential to control your destiny?
Q. Is that what you thought when you saw the end of the Michigan State game: Now we control it?
Last week we had a great week of practice. Really we were motivated. Got to take it one week at a time.
Q. After a team loses, you can say they're going to be fired up by the loss or if they're winning, we can surprise them. The way they lost last week, what was the first thing that popped into your head on how they might come out of that game?
Q. Could you talk a little bit about Montee Ball.
Q. John, Coach Fickell was saying that games are won and lost up front. Wisconsin has a very imposing offensive line. Are you and your defensive line comrades prepared for this task?
Q. You play a lot of physical games, teams that like to run the ball. What is it specifically about Wisconsin? You talked about the offensive line being big and strong. They always seem to have this running game. Did you notice something different about them?
Q. Back to the Michigan State/Wisconsin game, the tendency for people who haven't played the game think a player or a team or a defense is going to react one way or the other. If that had happened to you, what is the tendency? Do you let something like that carry over into the next week? Do you come back angry, more fired up?
We know they're a very good offense, defense, a very good team. We're going to have to prepare ourselves because we know they're going to come out and battle us for 60 minutes. If everyone does their job, we should be all right.
Q. Is there emotion that carries over from one week to the next?
Q. Coach Fickell said he was asleep for the end of that game. Were you awake for it?
The way it ended made it a classic game. I was happy I stayed up. But both teams fought hard. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, Michigan State came out with the win.
Q. Did it wake you up more when you saw the end? What was your reaction immediately in the moment?
But it was a great play, a lot of heart shown in that play by both sides. Like I said, unfortunately for Wisconsin, Michigan State got the win.
Q. If you could design the special uniform you would wear once a year, what would you like to wear if they said John Simon, you can wear whatever you want?
Q. With Eddie George being honored at halftime, is that something you as the players notice or something that goes unnoticed by you guys? John Simon: I didn't know that as of now. He's a great athlete. He made Ohio State what it is today. We're probably going to be in the locker room. It's a great honor to be in his presence and to have him on the field with us.
Q. You said you're not sure whether the emotion carries over from week to week. You're coming off your biggest win against Illinois. Is it difficult to maintain that or carry that over over a bye week?
Q. Do you feel like you got a lot out of the bye week or was it rest and healing?
Q. Can you talk about your fellow defensive linemen, what do they each bring to the table?
I think we're versatile, very athletic up front. There's a lot of passion in those guys. Being around them every day is something special.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, John.