An Interview With: COACH URBAN MEYER
Q. How has the week gone down here for you and the guys. Treated Sunday like a normal Tuesday, I believe. How you went through the week and how it’s gone.
COACH URBAN MEYER: Sunday is like a Tuesday, Monday is I lost track. All I know is today is Thursday and very mature team and it’s unusual to say that when they’re as young as they are, but they handle their business and the Sugar Bowl has been fantastic.
So it’s been a great week. And I think we’re pretty close to gameready.
Q. What are your thoughts just on facing Coach Saban again? I know you guys have a relationship, obviously played three times, two classic games. Just what are your thoughts about going against him again?
COACH URBAN MEYER: I think it’s just a great opportunity. I think the players, the one thing sometimes we’ll talk more about coaches than players and that’s not the case in this game. Alabama’s recruited and they develop their players very well.
So has the full attention of our players, which is most important. But there’s a history between Coach Saban and myself and I made the point to our players I hope they say it about us, too that every phase is on point.
It’s not one of those things, boy, it’s a great offensive machine and very little defense. And it’s probably what people say, I hope. We’re very well balanced, as are they. I think we’re one of the top offenses in the country. Certainly they are.
We’re much better than we have been on defense. We’re getting better. On special teams we’re very good. So those are two teams that are pretty well rounded. And that’s the first thing you think about when you face an Alabama team.
Q. We hear a lot about SEC speed and SEC talent level. Your game with Ohio State back in the desert went a long way toward establishing that imprint on the rest of the country. Now you’re at Ohio State playing an SEC team. Is there a difference between SEC speed? Is there a difference between SEC level talent or is that something that we just made up all along?
COACH URBAN MEYER: No, I think there is. I think the gap’s closing a little bit. I think when I was a head coach at Bowling Green, I believed speed wins. Obviously the other intangibles of toughness and character and perseverance and the timetested qualities of a good football team, good football player, will never change.
However, the game is getting faster. That was I’d say back in 2001 when I first became a head coach that that was the days of playing in a box, that’s normally not what an offensive football gives the defenses trouble. So we wanted to spread the field and try to recruit as much speed as possible.
And we did that at Florida. Made the comment that Florida being the fastest team in the country. And I’m not sure there’s a way to measure that, but we were pretty fast.
We’re doing that here. We’re getting faster. Are we SEC speed in certain positions? We certainly are. But that’s all relative. We’ll find out. But there’s no question that speed is maybe a defining point or in the conversation of SEC, when you hear the front seven on defense, I’ve heard that for years, that there’s a lot of truth to that.
The front seven in the SEC, now is that our front seven is pretty good, too. They’re faster than we have been when we first got here. And that’s certainly when we go out recruiting, the days of having a slow defensive lineman or linebackers that can’t play in space, those days are gone.
We’re getting faster and that process never ends.
Q. How well has Cardale handled this week and then how well do you anticipate him handling the moment Thursday night?
COACH URBAN MEYER: Cardale’s an interesting character. He’s a guy that three years ago was not equipped to handle this kind of situation. A year ago he wasn’t equipped.
I started to see a gradual change. Tom Herman has done an excellent job with him. Spring practice, one day we walked off the field, I was like, my God, he acts like a quarterback now, he’s not acting like a child that’s never been in a big arena.
And that’s really a credit we’ve all gone through it. Some go through it at age 55. Some go at it at age 15. And he’s really matured. He’s had an excellent week. When I say excellent, he had a beautiful day yesterday, throwing and catching and taking charge, and really proud of him.
Q. You spoke about the changes, the culture change you’ve been able to bring to football at Ohio State has been credited for what they’re doing at Michigan today. How much of a sense of accomplishment do you take in being able to affect not just your school but looks like the entire league in the Big Ten, saying we’ve gotta do what Coach Meyer is doing at Ohio State?
COACH URBAN MEYER: I don’t know kind of caught me off guard with that one. I don’t really know what’s going on at other places. I know it’s a very competitive environment right now in all leagues.
And this playoff is just a perfect example I can’t imagine the interest level being any greater in any sport than college football. Obviously this is all I really pay attention to. So I think every school there’s a premium placed on getting your school to the playoff.
And I’m not sure we had anything to do with that. We’ve got to worry about Ohio State.
Q. Can you talk about just Michigan hiring Harbaugh and what it means to the Big Ten, what he brings to the Big Ten having a caliber of coach like that?
COACH URBAN MEYER: I know his brother. And I actually met his father at the Super Bowl. Very good football family. When I became special teams coordinator at Notre Dame years ago, one of the first persons I was in contact with was John Harbaugh. Spent some time with him at the Eagles and became good friends. We stayed in contact.
I don’t know Jim. But your question about anytime you add a quality coach to the Big Ten or college football, obviously it’s good for college football and great for the Big Ten.
Q. In the Wisconsin game, seemed like you guys passed the ball early to set up the run. Hit a couple of early pass plays and maybe opened some things up that way. How important will it be for him to have that kind of great start so that things will be a little easier perhaps for Elliott?
COACH URBAN MEYER: Very good question. And that’s absolutely true. A lot of that was dictated by the style of defense we faced and we could tell early in the game.
The first 10 to 15 plays of every game is a little bit of a chess match because you can usually tell how they’re going to defend you. And that was what happened in the Big Ten championship. I think they were No. 2 in America in total defense, rush defense they were very good, pass defense they’re good as well. But we felt we matched up decent on the other side. They played a single coverage. That’s why we did that.
Q. Going back to your three matchups with Coach Saban, what are the biggest challenges for facing one of his teams?
COACH URBAN MEYER: I think what I said earlier, you always try to part of the game plan and preparation expose a weakness, find a weakness and expose it. And that’s difficult whether it be punt rush, whether it be kickoff coverage, and then obviously offense/defense.
But once again really comparing it to the Ohio State Buckeyes, where is the weakness? It’s pretty salty against the run, pretty salty against the pass and on offense we’re a balanced run/pass. So that’s the biggest challenge is trying to find that weakness, and every coach tries to do that.
The minute you find out who your opponent is you come in on Sunday and if it’s a game week and find out, watch a lot of film that’s when you hear about coaches watching film, it’s not just watching film you’re trying to find that player or part of that defense or offense that’s not very good and you go after it.
Alabama is the kind of team it’s hard to find that.
Q. When you reflect back on your playing career, the college football playing career, how do you describe yourself as a player and what do you take away from that playing experience into your coaching?
COACH URBAN MEYER: Playing experience, I was a professional baseball player, which doesn’t really help much in this arena. And I went and played college football, and had a very mediocre to below career. So not a lot.
I think it started when I became a graduate assistant at Ohio State, worked for Earle Bruce and got a taste for major college football. And the biggest thing that I’ve had the experience that not many coaches have, I’ve worked for incredible mentors. I’ve worked for Earle Bruce and Sonny Lubick and Lou Holtz and Bob Davie and they’re all tremendous friends. But there’s bits and pieces of our program that I’ve taken from those great leaders.
And that’s been more important for my career is who I’ve been able to work with and for.
Q. Between yourself and Nick Saban, you’ve won six national titles in your career. How would you describe your relationship with Coach Saban over the years?
COACH URBAN MEYER: Good. I can’t say we’re that close. We’ve known each other. I’m trying to think, we spent some time together television I can’t remember what it was I think a national championship game. Both of us. Might have been the year I took off and he wasn’t in it. We spent some time together. Our families got a wonderful wife Terry. Her and Shelley get along great.
The one thing we have done is we’ve always whether it be the SEC meetings or just conversations that whether it be agent/player issue that you have to deal with, the fact that players we’re both very playeroriented coaches about the welfare of our players and the welfare of the game.
So that’s more our conversations, very professional. But I think there’s a lot of mutual respect there.
Q. Can you talk about what Ezekiel Elliott has done or given you this season?
COACH URBAN MEYER: Ezekiel Elliott is a great player. He’s a guy that highly recruited guy that comes from a wonderful family. And just probably as good a work ethic tailback as we’ve ever had.
And that’s contagious throughout our program. There’s a young man, Curtis Samuel, also has developed the same work ethic because he watches Ezekiel every day. Tough, rugged guy that has the breakaway speed. He’s an extremely valuable member of our team and he’s a great back.
I don’t know if he’s gotten the recognition because of whatever, but he’s I think a 1300yard rusher and the first two games, Virginia Tech, we didn’t play well. And maybe he didn’t get the yards for some reason.
But he’s a 1500yard back and he’s real valuable. And Tom Herman said it, and it’s true, he’s the best back I’ve ever seen without the ball, as far as effort, down the field, making cuts, making blocks, pass protection.
Takes great pride in being a great player. He’s also backed off special teams a little bit, but he was a very valuable member of our kickoff team and punt team in the past, too.
Q. I think you’ve got 12 or 13 people who have coached under you, and of being head coaches, how much pride do you take in that, how would you describe your evolution as a head coach yourself and the things that you try to do?
COACH URBAN MEYER: Real proud of them. Still real close with all of them. Dan Mullen, I think, has done a fabulous job at Mississippi State. Coach Strong at Texas. Gary Andersen and Kyle Whittingham and Tim Beckman and Dan McCarney at North Texas and Doc Holliday who had a brilliant year at Marshall.
So very proud of them. We stay in contact, and I just think it’s great that I’ve never had an offensive coordinator stay more than two years, two or three years, and the fifth one is now a head coach, and he’s going to Tom Herman is ready to go be a head coach and last night we had a little toast to him and his wife. And we’re very proud he’ll do a great job down there.
Q. Coach Saban was retelling the story about you calling and talking to his wife I guess in ’89 or ’90.
COACH URBAN MEYER: Calling his wife?
Q. When you were a graduate assistant. (Laughter)?
COACH URBAN MEYER: That didn’t sound right.
Q. Let me try that again.
COACH URBAN MEYER: You mean like back
Q. When he got the job at Toledo, do you remember that at all?
COACH URBAN MEYER: I was at Illinois State making $6,000 a year making a decision either to stay in or out. I was actually born in Toledo, Ohio. I made a run and somehow I either called his home and I talked to Terry.
And that was a long time ago. Had to be like 21 years old or something like that. Had a great conversation. Nothing obviously materialized with it.
Q. How might history have been changed if he said he regrets now not calling you back and considering you for his staff.
COACH URBAN MEYER: He said he regrets it. I’m sure he does.
Q. Big mistake?
COACH URBAN MEYER: I’m sure that’s on his mind right now.
Q. The way Lane’s used Amari the last month, very specifically the same way Sammy Watkins was used at Clemson and obviously in a bowl game, sense of deja vu and what do you see the way that Kiffin is using him compared to the way
COACH URBAN MEYER: We had one of those, his name was Percy Harvin and move him around, because if you keep a guy stationary there’s ways to put two people on him and I think he’s done a great job with that.
You get a checker or a puzzle piece like that you gotta take full advantage. He’s a great player. I understand he’s a great young man, too. So you just gotta know where he’s at. And we’ve done our coach you’re not going to stop a guy like that, you have to know where he’s at and get him on the ground but they do a good job because it would be a mistake to put him at boundary one or field two at all the time because you can stop the guy if you know where he’s at. Not stop him but at least contain him.
That’s probably challenge number one. And the other thing that they have those two good backs. When you take two players to stop one, that’s leaving something else open. And that’s what every offense is looking for. When you have that checker and you know you can take two out and now you have nine left, that’s that whole part of the game, that chess match between the two coordinators.
Q. Can you learn anything in the Watkins experience a year ago?
COACH URBAN MEYER: No, don’t do what we did. We’re better. We’re more equipped. Chris Ash has done a very nice job and obviously it’s the players, but we’re very systematic on the back end right now and that’s going to be key to where he’s at.
Q. Obviously Thursday’s game is big for your program and what you’re building, but how important is it also for the Big Ten, which has been fighting the perception issue all season, for a win, and just moving forward?
COACH URBAN MEYER: First my reaction is that’s none of our business, but it is our business. And it is big. But that doesn’t change if we’re going to practice a little harder today for the Big Ten. We’re responsible for Ohio State. But it is important as is every bowl game.
There’s one way to change perception, not talk about it, go play very well. Recruit very well, play very well and perception’s changed. And I go back to ’06 when the Big Ten was king top of the you know, the Pac12 is great football. Big 12, ACC won a championship and there’s a team, Florida State hasn’t lost a game in two years. So I think it’s great conversation. I think there’s a lot of truth to it.
But the Big Ten, this is a great opportunity not just for Ohio State but all the bowl teams to do very well.
Q. You mentioned when you first got here how this bowl trip has had a completely different feel because it’s the playoff. And now that you’ve been here a few days, what has that been like managing bowl week activities and obviously preparing for the playoffs semifinal?
COACH URBAN MEYER: The good thing about the Sugar Bowl they don’t wear you out. There’s certain bowls that you just get your tail kicked in because go do this, go do this. The Sugar Bowl, this is the second time we’ve been here and they’re great. It’s a different feel.
We had a nice dinner with the Sugar Bowl people last night. We actually toasted them and I did because this is the Sugar Bowl T traditionally as good a bowl there is in college football history. I want the players, yes, it is the playoff but I’m glad that there’s still the feel of the Sugar Bowl and the staff and I have tried to do a good job making sure that our players appreciate the Sugar Bowl. But it is a much different feel than, This is it, because it’s not it. Everybody knows there’s something left.
Q. How would you rate Curtis Samuel’s freshman year, for a true freshman from Brooklyn?
COACH URBAN MEYER: What a future he’s got.
An Interview With: MICHAEL BENNETT
Q. Just talk about their offense, the challenge that you face, the great battle and the different weapons?
MICHAEL BENNETT: Like you said they’re a very balanced offense. They have a fantastic O line who is very big and actually very athletic. And that’s a hard combination to achieve at O line. They’ve got a quarterback who can throw the ball and is really good with his legs. Very good wide receivers. Obviously they have Amari Cooper who is a Heisman candidate and lives up to that. So he’ll be challenging to stop.
Then you have their running backs who are yearround, always very good, able to hit the hole. They’re patient. Strong runners, big guys, so you gotta bring some power to them and you have to make sure you don’t just try to knock them down, you have to wrap up with them.
So they’re a challenging offense to stop. I think we have a good game plan involved. We have the right personnel to stop them. It will be a fun game to see how it goes.
Q. Specifically about the run game, I guess defensively, first of all, the running backs
MICHAEL BENNETT: They prefer the zone offense. They have the guys to run a power offense when they feel like it and they try to every now and then but they like to zone because they have those big athletic bodies up front that can displace people and be on the runs so their running backs can find holes. The biggest thing is get penetration, force the running backs to cut when you want them to cut rather than when they decide it. Let the linebackers go make some plays.
I think we did it against Wisconsin. I think we can do it again. The biggest thing is to dictate where the running back goes and not have to chase him down because then you just you’re fighting a losing battle.
Q. This is a mobile program, not that you guys haven’t seen a mobile quarterback or whatnot. But does that change your game plan because he’s not just a straightup pocket passer. I know you were saying having to chase guys down, what not, does that change what you guys do a little bit?
MICHAEL BENNETT: You’re going to have to change the game plan a little bit each week just to find out, just to suit the strengths of whoever you’re playing. You can’t take as many chances when it comes to the defensive end coming inside. You have to contain with Blake Sims because he will bust a big run if you just decide to go under the tackle instead of keep contain or if you get out of your rush lanes on the interior, he’ll run it up the middle for 10, 15 yards.
I don’t think he likes to run it per se. I think he does when he needs to. He prefers to stay in the pocket, but he’s also a quick passer. He’s really not the dropback quarterback that most people like to see because then you can just rush. So you have to be wary of where he is at all times.
Q. Just wanted to ask you, a lot of people look at Alabama favorite in this game, does that kind of irritate you a little bit to hear Ohio State’s the underdog, backed into the playoff, if you will, had their beat down in Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship, what’s your feeling, the team’s feeling on the Ohio State being the underdog?
MICHAEL BENNETT: I feel like ever since I’ve been here, when it comes to a big game, for whatever reason, we’re always the underdog, no matter what we’ve done prior to that or what we’ve done earlier on in the season.
For whatever reason they’ve decided that Ohio State shouldn’t win that game. So the reasons that they have now are because Alabama is in the SEC and Ohio State’s in the Big Ten. So I mean if that’s your reason that we’re the underdog, go for it, because I mean it all comes down to how each team plays on Thursday.
So I don’t know, it doesn’t irritate me, it’s just kind of you would like people to have better reasons for their opinions than what they’re projecting out there.
Q. With that in mind, is there anything to this SEC versus Big Ten or is that just media and fan stuff? Can you comment on that at all? Do you feel like you’re representing the entire Big Ten and not just Ohio State, or is that just total hype?
MICHAEL BENNETT: I think the SEC versus Big Ten is something that’s never going to go away. But I do think it’s all built up just for the excitement of things. If you watch film, we’ve watched a lot of film on Alabama and their opponents. I’m sure they’ve watched a lot of film on us and our opponents. Football is football across the country. You have good teams and you have bad teams.
There’s no perennial power conference. So we watched film on, I don’t know, five or six of their opponents, and I do think we have the best D line they’re going to face all year. It has nothing to do with us being in the Big Ten and them being in the SEC. It’s just technique, speed, athleticism, size, all that stuff. That’s what plays into it rather than what conference you’re in.
Q. What is your biggest challenge that you guys face in this game?
MICHAEL BENNETT: I think the biggest challenge would be stopping their offensive line. It’s going to be a great challenge, because I’ve said it early on in the season. But the games that are going to be the biggest battles are the most fun because you find out who is tougher. Because we’ve got the talent.
We’ve got the speed and all that stuff and the technique. It’s all about at the end of the day who is tougher in the fourth quarter, who is tougher in the third quarter so on and so forth. They’ve got a big offensive line who is fast, athletic, quick, all of that.
So it’s just going to be a good time for the front seven, because we know the DBs are going to handle their business on the back end. And we’ve got to handle ours so that their job is a little bit easier.
Q. You guys represent the Big Ten and conference pride, something you talk about going against the evil empire this week?
MICHAEL BENNETT: I don’t like making it SEC versus Big Ten. I think it’s Ohio State versus Alabama. Obviously we understand that everybody’s going to make it SEC versus Big Ten. And we understand that if we lose this game they’re going to say the SEC is better. If we win this game they might still say that the SEC is better.
So the whole idea is just to go out, prepare as much as you can, as best you can, which we have. Get really pumped up before the game and go play as best we can.
Alabama is going to do the exact same thing. It’s a big game. Everyone’s going to be excited for it. The best team is going to win, whether that’s us or Alabama, we’ll find out.
But at the end of the day, people are going to say what they’re going to say about the conferences, and all we can do is try to win the game.
Q. Just taking in this experience, being here right now (indiscernible) tell me this experience how you feel right now and how excited you are to get to this game?
MICHAEL BENNETT: We’re blessed to have this opportunity to go play in this game and play for a national championship hopefully. We get to play a great opponent in Alabama. I’ve said it before, I’ve always wanted to play Alabama because as long as I’ve been here they’ve been considered the top of the mountain, the people that if you want to be considered the best, you have to beat Alabama. So we have a great opportunity here in a great city. I mean, the Sugar Bowl is one of the top bowls in the country.
We love being here. The guys had a lot of fun for the first couple of nights and trying to dial it back and make sure that people are focused on the game, because we do have a great opponent we’re going against, and we’ve got to be firing on all cylinders on Thursday.
Q. Coach Fickell talked yesterday specifically I know everybody keys on Amari Cooper, one of their biggest weapons. But really the offensive line of Alabama has been pretty dominant especially over the past few years, how much of that is an indication for you guys and how do you balance preparing for a guy like Amari Cooper as well as the offensive line?
MICHAEL BENNETT: Any great team will have to start with any great offensive line. Blake Sims wouldn’t be able to get the ball to Amari Cooper if the offensive line didn’t give them time. T.J. Yeldon wouldn’t be able to get the yards he has if he doesn’t have the offensive line he has.
Those guys are the real deal. And it’s going to be our chance to slow them down and put pressure on Blake and stop T.J. Yeldon because he can run through those arm tackles. You have to make sure you get these 320pound athletes off you before you wrap up T.J. Yeldon, and so it’s just, I don’t know, the offensive line I think is the best offensive line we’re going to go against this year. But we love rising to challenges. That’s what we do. That’s what we’ve done all season. And I don’t think this game’s going to be any different.
An Interview With: JOEY BOSA
JOEY BOSA: I mean I knew it was going to be a short period of my life, and I’m going to have the rest of my life to do what I want, live where I want, and this is the most important years of my life to set up my future and it doesn’t matter the weather, whatever, it matters what is the best fit for me and what’s going to help me the most in my future.
And I felt like Ohio State was that place.
Q. Now not four years, 40 years, right?
JOEY BOSA: Right, exactly.
Q. Do you see more presence down there? Are you just the tip of the iceberg here of Ohio State getting down there? Because Urban Meyer has always said, I want to get some players from the south back into Ohio.
JOEY BOSA: Coach Meyer is such a good recruiter and coach, he does whatever he needs to to get the players he wants. He just has that he’s just talented enough to go wherever he wants and get who he wants. So he’ll be doing that as long as he’s here.
Q. Do you hear of more players down there that he’s after? Has anybody reached out to you about whether they should go there or not, Ohio State?
JOEY BOSA: I don’t pay attention to recruiting that much. Obviously my brother and some of his buddies on the team came up here for some visits, but no, I don’t really pay attention that much.
Q. Got a chance to come there at Saint Augustine, right, they’re at your high school.
JOEY BOSA: St. Thomas Aquinas.
Q. Have a chance to come in to Ohio State?
JOEY BOSA: Yeah.
Q. Talk about the matchup with Alabama’s offensive line, what do you see from them and what kind of challenge is that going to be?
JOEY BOSA: Big talented guys. Athletic. Big, big dudes. And we haven’t really matched up with someone like this before, this athletic, this big, but like I said yesterday, I don’t think they’ve seen someone a D line as consistent as us and as physical as we’re going to be.
It’s going to be interesting to see.
Q. You guys haven’t worn down really in any games. Alabama has worn down defenses. Is that pretty much where we’re headed, you guys can stay at?
JOEY BOSA: Hopefully we’re just going to try to go at it consistently the whole game. We saw some games where D lines start off well and slowly get worn down. I haven’t seen it from us once this year. I can’t really give a good example of that.
So I think we play very consistently and hard throughout games. A good example is the Penn State game. I mean, we were still getting after it in the second overtime. Intense, long game. So that’s definitely going to be a goal of ours.
Q. What are your impressions of Nick Saban and have they changed at all, looking closely at Alabama and how they do what they do?
JOEY BOSA: I see in him and Coach Meyer similarly. They’re great coaches. Good guys. Super intense. They know how to win. They’ll do whatever it takes to win.
Q. Being down here in New Orleans for a couple of days obviously there’s a lot of distractions in the Bourbon Street area, how are you guys able to sort of deal with that?
JOEY BOSA: We had our one night of fun. We went out the first night we had a decent curfew.
Q. What was the curfew?
JOEY BOSA: It was 1:00. But none of us are here for partying. We’re here to play a football game. And last night we were all in watching a movie together. We weren’t doing anything.
Some guys went to the casino, maybe, for an hour. But we’re all here to play football. We’re not here to party.
Q. When are you guys checking in from this point?
JOEY BOSA: We were all in by 10:00 last night.
Q. You’ve had an unbelievable season. Big Ten defensive player of the year. What was the transition like from freshman year to sophomore year, because clearly you’ve made a giant leap?
JOEY BOSA: I gotta thank Coach Johnson big time for it because he’s come in and changed all of us so much, the whole “D” line, and the progress we’ve made it’s almost unbelievable watching us play last year and watching us play this year. Just such a big jump, and I hope it keeps going.
Q. You mentioned Coach Johnson, legendary coaching career at Penn State, comes over to Ohio State. What specifically has he taught you that’s made you so much better?
JOEY BOSA: Just the biggest thing it’s not what he’s really taught us about playing football, it’s just how close he’s brought us together and when you’re not playing for yourself and you’re playing for the guy next to you, you play that much harder and you play that much better.
Q. So a lot of the offthefield chemistry?
JOEY BOSA: Definitely. We’re closer than we’ve ever been before.
Q. Coach Meyer said that, said this is the closest team he’s had since the 2006 Florida Gators, that ironically won the National Championship against Ohio State. Can you sense that as an entire team how close you guys are?
JOEY BOSA: Yeah, not just even the D line. We are super close in that room. But it’s the whole team, especially the defense. I mean, I don’t see it as much of I don’t get to experience it as much as my offense. But I mean all of us are so close and we’re all in it together.
Q. Last year, a lot of fresh faces were on that defensive line and Shazier and Roby and the back seven were seen as the strength of the defense. Do you feel like the front this year is the strength of that entire side of the ball?
JOEY BOSA: I think the whole defense is really the strength. And obviously we try to take over the game up front. That’s our goal every game. But I think we’ve played very consistently as a defense at least in the last few games and we just try to be consistent all over from the front seven to the back four.
Q. You were saying a moment ago to some other media members that you feel like there are a lot of similarities between Urban Meyer and Nick Saban, why?
JOEY BOSA: Just because they know how to win. They’re good guys, they’re intense guys, they’re just great coaches. And you just, you see the similarities in their programs obviously because they win and they win national championships.
Q. What impresses you the most about their offense, speed, size, strength, what is it?
JOEY BOSA: It’s Alabama, it’s pretty much all those. It’s kind of like looking at our own offense how many there’s so many different weapons to attack you with, and they’re just big, athletic dudes, and it’s going to be tough, but I’m excited for the challenge.
Q. What’s the mentality coming in here this week and how you focus to really capture this moment for you and your teammates?
JOEY BOSA: We just try to keep the same mentality, just prepare hard, practice hard, keep focused and don’t blow all your energy before the game, just take it one day at a time and we’ve had some great weeks of practice and we’re going to be ready.
Q. As you look at this offense for Alabama, what do you think stands out to you on film?
JOEY BOSA: They just have weapons everywhere with their quarterback, their running backs and their big O line and obviously Amari Cooper, we’re going to have to look at all them and figure out a way to shut them down.
Q. Talked to T.J. Yeldon, he said it’s important for them to keep their running game going early. I would imagine likewise you would want to stop it early?
JOEY BOSA: Always, to win a big game you always got to stop the running game. And we will obviously think about Amari, too.
Q. How much advice do you get from your dad, played in big games and big stages before?
JOEY BOSA: He kind of lets the coaches do the coaching and tries to help me more off the field.
Q. So soaking up this experience right now?
JOEY BOSA: Yeah, it’s been more relaxed than anything just hanging out with my guys.
Q. Relaxing? Have you gone out and had a little bit of fun at all?
JOEY BOSA: We had our one night but we’re all here to focus on the game and we’re pretty over partying.
Q. This experience, being part of this first inaugural playoff, did you ever picture yourself I know grown up as a kid and now playing for Ohio State, there was a chance that you might go to Alabama, but you’re here and you’re getting ready to face the team that you almost went to. What’s that like in your mind?
JOEY BOSA: You really never see something like that coming. It’s just such an awesome experience, and I’m so blessed to get a chance to play in a game like this.
Q. What are some of the biggest challenges you see in facing a team like Alabama?
JOEY BOSA: It’s just Alabama. Just saying that they’re just, they have weapons all over the place and they’re big, physical guys and they’ve been on top of college football for a long time now and it’s exciting to get a shot against them.
An Interview With: DORAN GRANT:
Q. Talk to me a little bit about what you guys have been talking about in terms of preparing for them. Alabama hasn’t been known for a heavy pass attack but all of a sudden this year they got that decent wide receiver, they got a quarterback, scored 55 points on Auburn, et cetera, et cetera. How have you guys been planning for that?
DORAN GRANT: Just stand to what we do. Playing our base defense, playing for one another big games like this that’s the only thing you can do, prepare, watch film, come out, play hard.
Q. One of the sub plots of the playoff has been kind of the idea that it’s like an extra round of games, maybe cuts into more exams on the front end or second semester on the back end. You laugh, why?
DORAN GRANT: It’s true.
Q. Tell me more.
DORAN GRANT: Because we have more to think about. Usually just go into a bowl game knowing it’s a bowl game, that’s it. When you have to truly prepare in playoff mode knowing it’s another game possibly afterwards, you have to stay focused. You have to stay in football mind, gotta keep going. Just extending the season.
Q. You played in a bowl game before?
DORAN GRANT: Yes.
Q. Is it different in terms of everyone wants to win every game. People don’t play football, like me, read things like, will say things like maybe you don’t care as much and in fact what we’re told is that if you’ve ever played a football game you understand that like there’s no way to play a football game without caring because you’re putting your body on the line, et cetera. Having said that, is there an up level of intensity this year knowing that you’re playing for not just like the pride of winning this one game but the chance to advance and a chance to win the national title?
DORAN GRANT: I think so. Because like you said we’re playing for something. It’s a fourteam playoff. So we’re on the stage. You have to perform well to win to get to Dallas. And that’s what we tend to do.
Q. And talk to me a little about the nittygritty of when exams ended when practice was when the second semester is beginning, exams were when?
DORAN GRANT: Exams were finished up two weeks ago, about two weeks ago.
Q. After the Big Ten game?
DORAN GRANT: Yes. We were still in exams, after the Big Ten.
Q. After the Big Ten game. Then you get back to practicing, don’t have school. Semester break. When does the second semester start?
DORAN GRANT: The 12th.
Q. Obviously you want to make the game. But obviously you’re not going to cry tears if you have to miss a couple days of class. Is that something in your mind like
DORAN GRANT: You don’t want to get behind in class, especially the start of the semester. Starting this week you got all your information, know where your classes are at everything. That’s going to be critical, trying to get back to possibly make it to the next round.
Q. What are you studying?
DORAN GRANT: Sociology.
Q. What was your favorite class this semester?
DORAN GRANT: Sign language, I took sign language as a foreign language. That is my third class.
Q. What do you see from Cooper on film?
DORAN GRANT: He’s a good player, very good player. Good speed. Great route runner. He plucks the ball out of the air very well. More than anybody receiver I’ve ever seen.
Q. That’s my question who is the best receiver you’ve seen this year?
DORAN GRANT: That I played against? I say I name a few. Tony Lippett from Michigan State and Carroo from Rutgers he wasn’t bad. And Dave (indiscernible) those are pretty good guys.
Q. You get the sense Cooper is on a different level there?
DORAN GRANT: Yeah, definitely a different player for me. Obviously the top three. Heisman finalist for a reason. He’s just up there.
Q. You feel like it’s going to be a game where it’s you and him on an island or think a lot of guys will get their turns on him?
DORAN GRANT: It’s one of those things I’ll play my boundary and we’ll go. I know we’ll have some matchups. That’s what I’m looking forward to, especially at a big stage like this. That’s what the whole playoff is about anyway.
Q. Who covers slot guy for you all in the run game?
DORAN GRANT: Nicolas, Nico, the linebacker.
Q. Specifically who in the secondary is the nickel guy?
DORAN GRANT: Armani Reeves plays some nickel and Vonn Bell also.
Q. When Cooper is in the slot, probably they get their turn on him?
DORAN GRANT: Yeah.
Q. What were your impressions of Nick Saban sort of coming into this and have they changed at all now that you spent a little more time looking at how Alabama does it?
DORAN GRANT: More balance with Lane Kiffin bringing more spread to the game and obviously been working for them when they can balance it out just run, run, run, throw deep every time. So I think it’s a change but I think we can handle it.
Q. From what you’ve seen of Saban, does he sort of compare to Coach Meyer?
DORAN GRANT: I can’t really tell. I’m not one of those guys, I’m not around him. I only see what I see on TV.
Q. You guys have been down in New Orleans for a couple of days. Obviously there could be some distractions with Bourbon Street and fans how have you been able to cope with that?
DORAN GRANT: We did well. We did our walking around the streets. But nothing too crazy, just been walking, sightseeing really, because we know what it is, big game, big playoff game. And opportunity to go play for the first n national championship.
Q. What time are you guys sort of checking in for the night?
DORAN GRANT: I think about 10:00.
Q. 10:00 every night or just 10:00 tonight?
DORAN GRANT: 10:00 tonight and yesterday also.
Q. Any highlights walking around the city?
DORAN GRANT: Just seeing the different talents on the streets, guys ask for tips they have different talents. Seen a guy, a mime, a true mime, doing the Jabberwocky and a transformer.
Q. Tap dancers?
DORAN GRANT: Yeah, they had the things on top of their shoes, tapdancing. They were on both sides of the street.
Q. Nobody came up to you and said I bet you I know where you got them shoes or anything like that, have you ever heard that one?
DORAN GRANT: I’ve been warned about that. But nah.
Q. Questions about Amari Cooper. Have you gotten familiar with his film?
DORAN GRANT: Yeah.
Q. What do you make of his particular strengths? Is it his combination of speed and ability to locate the ball in the air and get it up high for him?
DORAN GRANT: That’s what makes him very good because he does a lot of good things, things that guys at this level can’t do altogether. But he has a little bit of everything and that’s what makes him great.
Q. What are your thoughts on going up against him? I assume you’re looking forward to it?
DORAN GRANT: Definitely I’m looking forward to it, especially on the Sugar Bowl stage, first college playoff, semifinals. Great teams, great matchups.
Q. Would you enjoy playing man on him or do you think zone’s the way to go?
DORAN GRANT: If I have the opportunity to play man I’ll play man. I’m not saying that’s what we cover him, man.
Q. Do you think it’s going to be the toughest challenge all year?
DORAN GRANT: Yeah, I think so. He’s the most complete offensive player we’ve gone against as a defensive unit. So I say that. It’s going to be a great challenge.
Q. Obviously can’t be nervous or intimidated about it in any way.
DORAN GRANT: Obviously with a championship, gonna be nerves.
Q. Talk about your relationship with Bradley Roby?
DORAN GRANT: We have a great relationship. I’ve been texted him all week, he’ll be here for the game, exciting to get to see him.
Q. Offered you any encouragement going against Cooper?
DORAN GRANT: He told me some things I might want to watch for and different things getting advice from him being at the next level. I appreciate that a lot.
Q. Apart from Cooper what has he told you just in general about what the league’s like?
DORAN GRANT: It’s a lot of work. You have to come to work every day. Be prepared to work and work hard and compete.
Q. Sugar Bowl trophy and stuff. You know why Alabama put the No. 15 helmet up there?
DORAN GRANT: Do I know why? We’re going to play them it’s going to be 2015.
Q. They’ve won 15 national titles is what I’m assuming. I’m assuming that’s the reason that the number 15 is there.
DORAN GRANT: I didn’t know that.
Q. What do you think about them doing that, do you think it makes sense or do you think it’s a way of trying
DORAN GRANT: Have they won they’ve won 15 already?
Q. Won 15 national titles.
DORAN GRANT: Oh, man. I thought it was just something they want to do. That’s crazy.
Q. I just wondered, last year was Sammy Watkins had such success. Do you guys draw? Did you study any of that? I’m just wondering, does it give you any motivation going into this game just to not get up like that?
DORAN GRANT: Sammy is a different guy. He’s a different receiver. He’s a guy I never seen nothing like that. I can’t compare Amari to him if that’s what you’re really asking.
Q. I don’t need you to. But
DORAN GRANT: Like preparation?
Q. Preparation for shutting down another guy who has got skills like probably you haven’t I know there’s some good receivers in the Big Ten.
DORAN GRANT: I know what you’re saying. Basically the only thing you can do is still watch film and study and get the game plan together and run it, run it to the best of your ability.
Q. Did that make you more determined to not let something like that happen again?
DORAN GRANT: Definitely. Definitely. Because last year we gave away too many yards in the air. We can’t let that happen this year. Gotta stop the plays.
Q. When you study Amari, what does he do best?
DORAN GRANT: I probably say the best thing I’ve seen from him on film is his routerunning ability. He has good speed but his route running ability is very sharp.
An Interview With: DEVIN SMITH
Q. Wanted to ask you before the crowd arrived about when you weren’t getting the ball and how tough it was. I mean, did you think briefly at all about going somewhere else?
DEVIN SMITH: No, I didn’t consider going anywhere else. It was more like I have doubts in my mind if I was going to end up keep playing. And then I thought about quitting for a brief moment. And I talked to my parents and really just their wisdom and their little talks they had with me pretty much got me through it. And here I am today at the Sugar Bowl.
Q. Percentwise, was it like 10 percent you thought you would leave? I wonder how serious was it at least for a brief time?
DEVIN SMITH: It was more of just a thought than I’m going to go do it. But I thought about it and it was something I never thought I would go through.
What got me through it was talking to my mom, talking to my dad, and ever since I was younger, playing football, until now, my mom told me never to quit what I started. Those words kept in my head throughout my whole life.
And that’s how I live.
Q. Were you kind of questioning your love for football, I guess?
DEVIN SMITH: For a minute, because during the season you know how it was going, it was up and down, one game get a couple of catches, another game get one. I was like really is this something I want to keep doing if it’s going to be like this.
And I just told myself I just gotta get through it and I did. And made some history at Ohio State. I can’t complain.
Q. Rank it on this list of the receivers, when you look at that list, does that almost blow your mind?
DEVIN SMITH: Yeah, especially with all the guys that have come here and to pass a Hall of Famer speaks volumes of all the hard work I’ve put in.
Q. Do you get the sense maybe teams, you don’t have the big name, that maybe you can sneak up on people once in a while. Maybe that’s not the case in this game, but you know what I mean?
DEVIN SMITH: I’ve kind of felt like that all my life that I was the underdog. I was kind of like that all in high school. I was a big name around my area and where I was from. But talking about the national stage, I was the guy that was the underdog and the sleeper, so to say.
But it never really bothered me. I knew how good I was and that’s all that mattered to me. I was going to work extremely hard like I’ve always done all my life and just have faith and here I am today making some noise a little bit and making some guys in the NFL say my name a little bit.
I can’t complain.
Q. The way that you I mean, against Wisconsin, your scores that had to be kind of a tonesetter and all that. Did that kind of convince you that this is the impact I can have, you know what I mean? That’s so huge especially for Cardale.
DEVIN SMITH: I knew the impact I had on this team, because I’ve done it plenty of times. I’ve made a lot of plays for this football team. But it wasn’t weektoweek basis. That’s kind of what bothered me a little bit because I wanted to be that guy this year to really take this team over the top. And I feel like at moments it was me that was helping this team.
And at times I didn’t do so much. And for whatever reason it was, I don’t know, but I just stayed humble, kept working hard and just kept myself focused.
Q. When you said people in the NFL were saying your name, was that scout I don’t know, you hear your name on TV or Mel Kiper?
DEVIN SMITH: Just going home and a lot of people that are real into the NFL and really like to get the inside scoop on everything, people was telling me, Yeah, man, a lot of guys are talking about you at the next level. Just keep working, good things will come at the end. That’s pretty much how I took it, just stay working hard. No matter if the ball is coming to me or not, just continue to work hard. Feel like if I do that everything will fall into place like I want it to.
Q. You said when you left because it was your grandmother was sick?
DEVIN SMITH: My grandmother was getting a little sick and my dad wanted to be closer to her.
Q. I assume that’s his mom, right?
DEVIN SMITH: His grandmother. But we all call her grandmother. But she started to get a little sick. And he wanted to be closer to her. And that’s where my dad is from, from Massillon, Ohio, and all his family are down there. So that was like my home as well.
And we moved down there and then I fit in and just really enjoyed the time that I was there.
Q. What’s his name?
DEVIN SMITH: Andre Simpson.
Q. And her, what was her name, is she still alive?
DEVIN SMITH: She passed away. She passed away Valentine’s Day 2012.
Q. And so you were there for a few years with her, right?
DEVIN SMITH: Yeah.
Q. What was her name?
DEVIN SMITH: Innie May Foster. She’s from Grady, Alabama.
Q. I would assume going to Massillon helped your football career.
DEVIN SMITH: Yeah, I had a few schools that was looking at me when I was Ohio State being one of them and Illinois being another. I made some noise out there in Akron. A lot of people knew who I was. You’re in a small city like that, everybody kind of knows when you stick out a little bit.
And when I got to Massillon it was just a bigger stage. I’m going from playing with 2,000 people going to Massillon we’re packing the stadium like eight, 9,000.
It was a much bigger stage and I think playing for Massillon really helped me to be on this stage now.
Q. The onehanded did you practice that all your life, or is that it’s kind of your thing. Have you worked on that?
DEVIN SMITH: Oh, you make plays like that, that stuff you’ve done when you was little playing in the backyard hoping you can make SportsCenter. I didn’t think it was going to happen like that. He threw the ball. I thought it was going over my head. As the ball was coming down, it was in reach and I just threw my hand up and it was perfect.
Q. You’ve been doing it your whole career?
DEVIN SMITH: Try to make as many plays as I can.
Q. Tom Herman called you the best deep ball receiver in America in the Wisconsin game. What do you think about that?
DEVIN SMITH: I think it speaks volumes just from the players that they’ve coached, Coach Meyer coaching a lot of guys that he’s coached and for him to say something like that, man, it really means a lot.
Q. What is it that allows you to be so good at that? Seems like that’s your niche, the big play, 40 plus yard play?
DEVIN SMITH: Really speed. I can get behind the defenders very easily. And if you have speed and you can threaten a DB, really make a move, you can get open.
Q. People say the way to attack Alabama is to go deep on them and attack their corner, maybe the one pressure point on their defense. How much do you look at that and think there’s maybe some things there that you can get done?
DEVIN SMITH: The thing that we tout ourselves we’re not going to change no matter who we play, so we’re going to keep taking our shots and we know that’s a weakness on their defense and we’re going to attack their weakness, but we’re not going to change what we do, that’s to take shots and run the ball and be a great offense like we have.
Q. Do you think with Cardale, you guys have even more ability to go deep because his arm is so strong, probably strongest as you’ve ever seen?
DEVIN SMITH: I’ve played with him in high school. I know how good his arm is and obviously being in college really working on the mechanics I know he’s gotten a lot better.
Q. How has Cardale handled this week? Is he any different this week than he was the week of Wisconsin?
DEVIN SMITH: You can tell that he’s focusing on the look from his drop step and his motion throwing the ball you can really tell he’s a lot focused on that. But at the same time he’s going in there like he started before and not letting all this get to him.
Q. How do you not let all this get to your head when it’s just your second start, I imagine it takes a special kind of personality to do that?
DEVIN SMITH: For me, I always stay composed. Really trust in my training and then the things that got me successful, got me to this point, keep doing.
Q. How about for him, though? How does a guy like him, that’s not
DEVIN SMITH: I feel like it’s the same thing for him. May be a little different because he’s the quarterback. But at the same time got to stay composed in situations like this and just really trusting your training and focus.
Q. As you watch film of Alabama, do you get the feeling that I don’t know if you saw it leading up to this or maybe just this week, has Urban sort of created this team in an image of an SEC team in terms of recruiting guys, bringing guys in who have your type of front line speed?
DEVIN SMITH: Yeah, you see guys like Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson and some of these guys on defense, I feel like here within the next year or two you’ll begin to start to see a lot of speed from Ohio State and I think that’s one thing that a lot of people really underestimate is we have a fast team. And I don’t think that many people realize how fast our team is. We’ve got some offensive and defensive linemen for how fast they are.
An Interview With: CARDALE JONES
Q. Also you went to Fork Union alum, huh?
CARDALE JONES: Yes.
Q. What are your feelings right now, about to play on the biggest stage or one of the biggest stages in college football, this being the playoff against Alabama. How has your preparation been and how has the experience been for you thus far?
CARDALE JONES: The experience has been unbelievable, but the preparation not just by myself, by my teammates, has been more special and more prepared and more ready than I’ve ever seen since I’ve been here.
So we’re preparing because it’s a onegame season.
Q. When J.T. went down with the ankle injury. We didn’t know the significance behind it. What was going through your mind at that particular time in preparing to play Wisconsin and the game that you had, what was going through your mind at that point?
CARDALE JONES: Just picking up where he left off at, making sure we don’t skip a beat as an offense, as a team, as a unit, and always being ready.
Q. When you look at Alabama’s defense, what jumps off the page at you when you look at their defense?
CARDALE JONES: Speed, size, the strength, the physicality. This is going to be the most physical defense we’ve ever played against. We’ve got to be ready for that.
Q. When I played at Ohio State going up against the SEC has always been a problem for us. Has that been talked about in the locker room, and just what’s the mantra been for you guys this week as you prepare for it?
CARDALE JONES: No, we’re not really talking about going against the SEC, we’re talking about going against a very good team. The Big Ten has very good teams as well.
So we’re preparing more like it’s just any other game, but we know our opponent a little better.
Q. When you look back on your performance against Wisconsin, are you shocked by the magnitude of how you did in that unbelievable stage where you had never started before?
CARDALE JONES: Yeah, a little shocked. But you know our coaches did an unbelievable job in preparing me and my teammates to play on that stage.
It was the biggest game of the season, and we was down to our third quarterback. So all that credit goes to the coaches and the guys around me.
Q. How have you proven to your teammates that they can count on you in the biggest game in their lives?
CARDALE JONES: Just preparing, just show them that we’re taking it serious. And putting in the same amount of work that they put in there.
So as long as I’ve got their trust and their faith and we’re all good.
Q. When did the light turn on for you, when did you get serious preparing and doing all the stuff that it takes?
CARDALE JONES: Always, always been that type of way to prepare even though I wasn’t the starter for two or three years, because like I say, you never know when your time will come. So if I wasn’t prepared or taking my preparation seriously in the weeks before, I would have went into the teamupnorth game a couple steps off.
Q. Even when you first got to campus, the stories are that it took you a little while
CARDALE JONES: Yeah, definitely that’s a whole different year. That’s a whole different animal right there.
Q. When you look back at you when you first got to campus, do you say, I don’t know, that was some immature kid, does it seem like a long time ago?
CARDALE JONES: Definitely, seems like a long time ago. And with the help of my teammates and my coaches they helped me to get to this point where I’m at right now.
Q. When did it flip?
CARDALE JONES: I would say probably around last year, spring ball, maybe somewhere around there when Coach Meyer basically told me get your act together or I wouldn’t be here.
Q. Cardale, who is your backup?
CARDALE JONES: Jalin Marshall.
Q. How does he feel about, considering the year, the way the year has gone?
CARDALE JONES: He’s feeling pretty good. He’s smart. He’s a smart guy. He’s a receiver and punt returner. He understands the game of football, the Xs and Os.
It’s all about him being ready to go at any given time just like J.T. was and I was.
Q. What do you remember from that meeting with Coach Meyer?
CARDALE JONES: It was really tough and uncomfortable because I never had I never was on the spot like that, and it was almost a do or die decision at that time.
Q. And did you immediately know that then, okay, I can’t lose this thing, I can’t leave school?
CARDALE JONES: Yeah, definitely. Because come to school for more than just to play football. Our education is the most important part. And I mean leaving here or getting kicked out of school was not really an option for me.
Q. What’s your favorite class? What have you taken academically that you like?
CARDALE JONES: Some form of economics.
Q. Macro or micro?
CARDALE JONES: Micro.
Q. Interest rates and all that stuff?
CARDALE JONES: Yeah, man, it’s really difficult, but if you are interested in it you go put the time and effort into it.
Q. What do you think you’ll do when you’re done playing football?
CARDALE JONES: Be a financial planner.
Q. And is that because a lot of professional athletes struggle with that over the years, is that an emphasis?
CARDALE JONES: I don’t want to just work for athletes, but just being good with numbers, it interests me.
Q. I know you’ve talked about this quite a bit but can you walk me through how things have changed for you being a third string guy to now being the guy in the Sugar Bowl with all of this on your shoulders, what’s that been like for you this year?
CARDALE JONES: It’s been very humbling. But all this is not on my shoulders, because my coaches, my teammates always let me know that I don’t have to do it on my own. We have unbelievable guys on offense and defense as long as they pull their weight we’ll be okay. Life has changed a little but not that much.
Q. A lot of guys say they don’t know what to expect from you even though they saw you did in the Big Ten title, what you did is just one game, what do you expect from Cardale Jones?
CARDALE JONES: Just to lead my team not to play within myself. And just get the ball to the playmakers.
Q. In the Alabama defense, when you look at them on film as far as any holes that you might be able to exploit, anything that you guys can beat them with?
CARDALE JONES: There’s a couple things we want to exploit as far as holes and weakness we don’t see any.
Q. What about the thought that that Alabama defense is so multiple and complicated it’s going to be hard for an inexperienced quarterback?
CARDALE JONES: I don’t think that they will do anything that we’re not prepared for. Maybe a couple of things we haven’t repped against or practiced or seen on film.
But as far as the lack of preparation for anything they throw at us, we’ll be pretty ready.
Q. Are they pretty multiple and complicated from what you’ve seen?
CARDALE JONES: They’re not trying to trick you, they’re trying to line up and play football and beat you. So all that tricking, they don’t need to do that.
They have the top guys in the country.
Q. How important was the Wisconsin game for your personal confidence?
CARDALE JONES: It was very important. My teammates and coaches always let me know they had a lot of confidence in me and to go out there and perform the way I did, it just helped a lot.
Q. Was there a level of nervousness at all in that situation?
CARDALE JONES: Not really. Not really. It’s hard to be nervous when you’ve got some, like some of the unbelievable athletes around you. It’s not like we’re playing with one top guy.
These guys come from all around the country and we are here for the ultimate goal.
Q. I know Jalin runs some wildcat, looked good, made plays there, what skills does he have as a passer?
CARDALE JONES: Really good, actually. He was a quarterback in high school even though they ran a triple option. He can throw some really, really good passes and we always are joking with him about Coach Herman taking him down to Houston with him for his quarterback, so he’s really good.
Q. Was there a point I’m sure you’ve answered it a million times when Urban Meyer told you all right, Cardale, it’s time to get serious or else, is there a time when he had that talk with you and said you need to dig in here at Ohio State?
CARDALE JONES: Yeah, like I said, it was about last spring or two springs ago, I can’t really remember, but he basically let me know, you know, it’s time to show why you’re here and stop acting like a clown off the field.
Q. Was that hard for you?
CARDALE JONES: It was a hard conversation, but it wasn’t hard to, hey, I can’t stop acting like a clown or anything like that. It was a really difficult conversation. That was the hardest part about it.
Q. When you have seen how far you’ve come, how much you’ve matured probably nice to look back at it now see where you are now, can you talk about that process?
CARDALE JONES: It was just tough. It was a lot of growing pains because having to change your ways and change the person you are and how you were raised and the way you were accustomed to. So it was a lot of growing pains, but it was something I had to go through to be at the stage here.
Q. Do you feel you can lead this team to a national title?
CARDALE JONES: Definitely, with the guys around me.
Q. What will it take?
CARDALE JONES: Everybody putting in, chipping into the pot. Not just all on me.
Q. Is there a feeling that Alabama is going to be looking at you as a third stringer and they’ve had a month to prepare. Do you feel like they’ve had time to do things that can confuse you because you simply haven’t had that level of experience yet?
CARDALE JONES: Like I said, I don’t think they’re going to try to come out and confuse or trick or anything like that, it’s the top team in the country. They didn’t get that way by tricking guys every other week.
So I mean coming out with trying to do something that is confusing, I don’t think so.
Q. Are you a guy that enjoys film study?
CARDALE JONES: Definitely.
Q. What do you like about it?
CARDALE JONES: Just understanding the tendencies get different tips to recognize different coverages and blitzes. Helps you a lot. Slows down the game. The lack of experience makes up in the film room.