How much film can you use from last year? Can you take anything from it?
“No. No. It’s everything, and usually with most teams we don’t watch last year’s. The only thing we might watch is against ourselves, if it’s the same opponent type deal, but everything’s for this year.”
What do you take from that in terms of slowing down Braxton Miller?
“He’s a great talent. Obviously I think they’re the number one offense in the country right now. It’s going to be a great challenge for us. He’s a great football player. The good news is we’ve played against some really really good quarterbacks this year, and we play against a great one every day in practice. So we’ll be ready to go.”
Do you feel like your experience with Urban helps you prepare for him at all?
“It’s been a long time.”
Hasn’t been that long! Only been four years. Maybe five.
“Yeah, five, but when you get older, your mind is one of the first things that goes. In football what happens is every place you’re at, you put everything into that. It’s like you don’t remember those things that happened before. You don’t really focus on that. And then when you’re on different sides of the football you concentrate on your side of the football. We’ve been focusing just on their offense, what they’ve done, and go from there.”
Are you still friends?
“Oh yeah. Oh yeah. We’ll always be friends.”
What was last week like in practice going against your own offense and all the new stuff they threw at you?
“Heh. Well, what happens is, it’s just like any offense. You could bring anybody in and if somebody gives you something new, there’s always that period of you saying, ‘I have to adjust to that.’ That’s why you have film. That’s why you have a chance to look at things. What we do in practice is we just try to focus on our fundamentals. We try to focus on the things that help us on defense. Get the fast speed reps is what practice gives you.”
What specific problems does Al’s new system give to a defense?
“I really don’t know much about that. I really don’t. I’m being dead honest when -- if you ask me what they ran that last game, I would not be able to tell you. I really wouldn’t. We only go against our offense a few plays as a defense in practice. And like I said, I wait for that period to be over. I watch my kids’ individuals. I watch their technique and then I say, let’s move on and get ready for the next game. I realy wouldn’t know.”
How different does Braxton Miller look this year compared with last year?
“You know, he’s throwing the ball better. He’s very elusive. He’ll take off running full speed and stop on a dime. He looks stronger. Again, it’s been so long ago when we played them last time. I thought he was good last time. I think he’s a very, very good quarterback.”
What makes Jordan Kovacs a good player and what makes him a good leader?
“He’s a good player because he’s tough. He’s very, very smart. I guess I’m speaking in circles, but he’s a football player. He just comes out every single day trying to get better. He plays with bumps and bruises. It’s a physical game, and he plays through a lot. He’s the total package.”
Do you have a most memorable game in Ohio Stadium?
“Again, it’s the memory that goes first, but I do remember one now. I remember -- I think it was a 13-9 win. I remember Will Carr at the nose guard position eating up blockers and Jarrett Irons running from sideline to sideline. I just remember the excitement of winning that game. That’s one of all the games I’ve been in over these years, that’s the one I’ll always remember.”
Is that as tough a place as any to play?
“Yeah. It’s been a long time since I’ve been down there, but it ranks up there. I don’t know if you say it’s a tough place, but to me it’s a very, very exciting place to play. If you’re a football, you love playing in these types of games, and you love playing in this kind of atmosphere, and that’s what makes great football.”
MGoQuestion: Last year you said OSU had success against your defense partly because they broke tendency. Is there a risk of that happening again?
“Well, they had such a great tendency last year, I haven’t even looked at it yet. Right now we’ve been just looking at the game plan and get ready it’s so early in the week. They’re a very intelligent football program, and they will always be very sound, and so therefore you have to be very careful of saying, ‘Okay this is what they do, this is what they do. That’s the type of team they are.’ ”
MGoQuestion: On an unrelated note, OSU likes to motion their running back prior to the snap. What about that makes it hard to defend?
“It doesn’t really. That doesn’t really -- it’s not something to go, ‘Oh no, they do this.’ That’s just a way for an offense to not allow you to key on where he is and have tendencies based on where he’s aligned. I think that’s just something that our guys have got to say, ‘Okay, he’s here now.’ ”
Do you see your intensity increase this week and do you see it from your players?
“You know, I haven’t really looked for it from our players because we haven’t been with them much, but it’s as big as it gets now. There’s no other game in college football in my mind like this one. If you aren’t at your best and you aren’t into this one, then there’s something wrong. You better get checked.”
Is Ohio State a team you keep an eye on throughout the year?
“No. I’m being real honest when I tell you this: we really try to go day to day, week to week. We really do and really try to do everything we can. I’d really hate to ever think that we didn’t play as good as we possibly could because I was looking at another game. Maybe some guys can do that. I’ve never been able to do that. As soon as the game’s over with, I take that call sheet and put it in the closet until next year and get ready for the next one. That’s how we do things.”
You’ve struggled a little against mobile quarterbacks this year. Whoaterenowy?
“I think some of it’s been schematic. Some of it’s been athleticism. Some of it’s just been they’re pretty good, the guys we go against. We’ve addressed all that. We’re very very conscious of that, and we know that that’s this week, that’s the type of quarterback he is, so we have to be on our A game. We have addressed it, and we have looked closely at it, right after the games and even leading up into them.”
How do you address the athleticism component of that?
“I don’t know if it’s a lack of athleticism. Like I said, you play a lot faster sometimes when you really know exactly what’s happening, and maybe sometimes we haven’t said, ‘Hey, here it comes’ and then play faster. Sometimes it’s a surprise and then it’s on you. I think it’s a combination of us really understanding what they do and getting a good read and then playing from there.”
Iowa had some success with their tight ends. What do you need to do to shore that up?
“Well, that’s one. The tight end caught a couple passes down the middle, which we adjusted to in the game. The Iowa game, I think it was a schematic thing on my part, on a couple of those runs into the boundary on the sideline that we got adjusted to right away. And then there’s a little bit of youth in there at the end. That game, I think you always want to not give them anything, but I think our kids adjusted and did what they had to until the very end. That’s part of the price you pay sometimes when guys get in there that haven’t played a lot, but that’s not acceptable.”
How important will it be to keep contain and have discipline on the edges?
“Really really important. Really important because this guy is way too fast for you to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to catch him. I’m going to take a chance here.’ You have to keep him inside all the time.”
Did you ever have conversations with Bo Schembechler about this rivalry, and do you see some of his intensity in Hoke?
“Yeah. You know, I think that’s Michigan. I think the first time I was ever here, that came up. Being with coach Moeller and coach Carr, that’s all you ever -- that’s Michigan. That’s what it is. You know, that’s why this is a special game.”
You’ve worked with both Hoke and Meyer. Do you see any similarities between the two?
“I never looked at that. I don’t look at that. They both have been very successful. That’s one thing. I’m just really excited to be with Brady, and I’m really excited about where our program is.”