Can you just share what your message to the team was after this tough loss?
“That was for the team, not for public consumption.”
Obviously they’re a big read-option team. What were they doing, and why did you think your defense struggled so much to stop the run today?
“Yeah, they’re very good and they got after us running the football and I think the number one thing was we weren’t tackling well enough.”
Any thoughts on Jake Rudock having to end the regular season on the sidelines?
“Uh, it’s what happened. Went down on his shoulder. I don’t know how serious it is. AC to the left shoulder.”
Could you just talk about some of the improvements throughout the season from when you took over in fall camp to this point now? Obviously this isn’t the result you were looking for, but 9-3 on your first year.
“Well, yeah. We’ve talked about it many times. Very proud of the team: the way they’ve worked, the way they’ve progressed, and we’ll just stay at that. Closed quite a bit of ground. Still more ground to close on, but knowing our team they’ll stay with it.”
You talked about putting steel in your spine from previous losses. Is that what this is more of, especially against a rival like Ohio State?
“Well, we got beat. Didn’t play well enough in the game to win it, but we’re gonna regroup, come back with the same drive and aspirations that we’ve had: win the next game.”
You said earlier in the week that you thought Jabrill was a really good running back, and obviously we saw more of him. Were we going to see more of him used in the second half if the game had been a little bit tighter?
“Uh, yeah, he was in the second half.”
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Would we have seen more of him in the second half-
“You saw him in the second half.”
MGoQuestion: Especially early in the game, you went with three down linemen. What did you see on film from them that led to that decision?
“Uh…what led to- we didn’t stop the run well enough. I’m not gonna talk about schematics with you. Never do, so not gonna start now.”
Obviously injuries had taken their toll on your defensive line coming in. Did you think that depth was an issue today in your inability to stop the run?
“No, we’re not making any excuses. We didn’t win the game, and we’ll regroup. They played better.”
Your thoughts about the penalty on the attempt to block the punt in the first half.
“I don’t have any thought on it.”
The way Ohio State lost last week, they certainly seemed like they came in hungry, motivated, all that. Was it a level that you guys couldn’t quite reach? Did you see that difference in the way they came out?
“I don’t know about that. They played very well and they deserve credit. They played a very good football game and played much better than we did.”
You mentioned you guys had covered some ground this season and you have some more ground to cover. What areas specifically are you kind of looking at or is it too early to dive into that? What kind of ground is left to cover for this team?
“Yeah, no need to dive into that, as you said. We’ll regroup and come back with the same aspirations: win the next football game.”
Jim, along those line, as Jake [Butt] said about the passing game, you guys have made strides in the passing game. He said in a game like this you’d have to be damn near perfect. Just your thoughts on passing today and throughout the season.
“You talked to him already?”
Yeah. Jake Butt.
“Was that- was there a question there?”
Yeah, just your thoughts on the progress of the passing this season.
“Uh, yeah. It’s been good. Continue to strive to keep improving in all areas.”
It looked like you stopped and said something to Ezekiel Elliott coming off the field. What were your thoughts on his game today?
“He played really good. He’s a heck of a player and congratulated him on a good game.”
14-10 at the half. Did you feel like the game was going in a direction you could win it, or were there signs you were concerned about even in the first half when you were keeping it close?
“Yeah, we felt like we could win it at halftime.”