“Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.”
[Everyone in unison like the end of a Peanuts special] Happy Thanksgiving.
Talk about the Ohio State Offense and the challenge of preparing for them.
“Yeah, they’ve got good players. Two really good running backs, quarterback’s a veteran guy who knows how to play this game, some explosive guys at the receiver position, I think they’re improved in the offensive line, tight ends solid, so yeah, we’ve got a good offensive outfit to get ready for.”
Chase Winovich said that the highest praise he feels he’s ever gotten here is you calling him an ‘animal, bro.’ What do you think the highest praise is that you give out to a guy?
“Well, that’s pretty close right there. I think he’s really played well. You know, we try to make our living here on sacks, TFLs, living that approach, and you look at the numbers at the end of the day and he’s right up there in the TFL piece for sure, so I think he’s playing at a very, very solid level.”
Do you have different levels? Do you have like a guy, a man—
What are they?
“You know, you’re a Guy, and that’s your first start. Then, you know, if you’re really playing well, then you give ‘em Dude status, and then you give ‘em the competing animal status, so there’s your three levels of it. Being a dude’s not easy to do, now. I mean, that’s pretty high esteem.”
How do you approach the challenge of not only trying to slow JT Barrett but also the fact that they have the two really talented running backs?
“Yeah, they’re good. You know, the bottom line is you’ve got to pick your poison and you’ve got to stand for something. Some guys try to sit there and spread out and cover everything and that’s one approach. Some people try to read and react and that’s another approach. Obviously we try to do it all and make it tough on them. So, that’s our goal.
“But you got to stand for something. I can’t tell you what that is, but you’ve got to stand for something. You just can’t let ‘em pick you apart and move you down the field. That’s not going to happen anyway, so our approach is always try to be on the aggressive side of things, but at the same time, you’ve got to be intelligent.”
[After THE JUMP: the best practice of the season, not cheating the game, and playing with an X on your chest]