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December 6, 2014

Michael Bennett

Cardale Jones

Urban Meyer



THE MODERATOR:  We'll ask Coach Meyer to make an opening statement.
COACH MEYER:  Well, it's an honor to represent the Big Ten as the champion of the conference.  Very proud of our team.  Also great respect for Coach Andersen and Wisconsin.
I've been asked a lot, Did I see this happening?  I saw a team that prepared very well and is playing at a very high level right now.
A lot of things happened this past week.  There's a family grieving that was a big part of our family.  Kosta, we had a prayer and a moment of silence for him in our locker room for him and his family.  We'll never forget our teammate.
Also some injuries, from Braxton Miller to Dontre Wilson to J.T.   They were here supporting their teammates.  Nine assistant coaches who did a wonderful job.  But most importantly very grateful for this team I get to coach.  These are great guys that come together.  In a tough week, a close team got even closer.
Thank you.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Cardale and Michael.

Q.  Cardale, did you play with a little chip on your shoulder?  All week people were calling you a third‑stringer.
CARDALE JONES:  I say a chip on my shoulder.  I played with confidence because of the confidence my teammates had in me, the confidence my coaches had in me, my family, close friends, Buckeye Nation.
With a chip on my shoulder, not as much as the confidence that my teammates and my coaches had in myself.

Q.  Cardale, how much fun was that?
CARDALE JONES:  It was very fun, going out there showing everybody what we can do when we all come together as one.
Mike said it best.  This is the first time I think we played as a nine‑unit strong all the way across, from the kicking game to offense to defense.  It was a great game plan executed by the players.

Q.  Michael, what were you feeling on the defensive side of the ball?  What was it like going up against Melvin Gordon tonight?
MICHAEL BENNETT:  They have had a really high‑powered offense all season.  Great O‑line.  Melvin Gordon is the real deal.  He made a lot of plays that there was nowhere to make a play.  I got a lot of respect for that offense.
I think we came out with a lot of intensity, a lot of drive.  Cardale said it, nine‑unit strong on defense.  We usually had the D‑line do well, then linebackers don't do well.  Then linebackers and DBs do well, then D‑line doesn't have a great game.
This is the first time everybody did everything that was asked of them and did it as hard as they possibly could.  This is a huge victory for us.  A lot of respect for the offense we won against.

Q.  Cardale, Ohio State did everything it could do.  Will it be difficult to wait tomorrow till the college football playoffs are decided because that's nothing you can control?
CARDALE JONES:  That's right, that's nothing we can control.  All we can do is prepare for our next opponents.  If it's going to the playoffs or not, that's out of our hands.

Q.  Cardale, what kind of statement do you think you made to the Selection Committee with this one?
CARDALE JONES:  It was a huge statement, I think.  I mean, we played a great, great team, the number two defense in the country.  We put up 52 points on them.  They have the best runningback in the country, so...

Q.  Cardale, you had them on the run.  What did you say at halftime to make sure you kept things going?  What did you say to Coach Ginn when you saw him?
CARDALE JONES:  We knew going into this game we was going against a great team, like I said before, all around.  We had, what, a 31‑ or 38‑point lead going into halftime.
That team didn't win 10 games by giving up at halftime.  That's something our coaches preached at halftime, they have fight.  They was going to keep fighting back, keep fighting back, keep fighting back.  I saw that on the very last drive.  They called a timeout.  This team will not die.  We had to keep our foots on their throats and just keep going.

Q.  (No microphone.)
CARDALE JONES:  I talked to Coach Ginn.  I'm going to talk to him a lot this week about staying patient, poise, every opportunity for success.  Keeping me levelheaded.  I would say he knows me best.  Even though I might not show a lot of emotions, he knows how I'm feeling.
He did a great job of keeping me levelheaded.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, fellows.
We'll take questions for Coach Meyer.

Q.  From the time you got the news on Braxton till now, can you elaborate on the job Tom has done this year?  How difficult was it for Cardale and Tom to get ready in six days together?
COACH MEYER:  Well, our strength coach made a point to me, and I made it to the team on many occasions, that Cardale came in when we came in.  He's been in every meeting with our quarterback coach.  Tom Herman is an excellent coach.
His unit the first year was very average.  I talk about we got a Player of the Year in the Big Ten, but as a unit they weren't very strong.  Kenny Guiton got better and better.  Now it's one of the strongest units on the team.  He's done a marvelous job.
But Cardale is a veteran player that was immature when he first got on campus and has really matured.  Obviously Tom gets a lot of credit for that.

Q.  What statement did you make to the Selection Committee?
COACH MEYER:  I hate getting asked that, to be honest with you.  I like coaching a team.  This is without question the most improved from start to finish team that I've ever been around.  To see them operate in all facets of the game at a high, high level from our punter to the way we played defense, then offense was incredible.  Our third quarterback, two Heisman candidates out, this guy comes in and plays like that.
The Selection Committee has a tough job.  The whole BCS thing, this is supposed to clean up the BCS conflict or conversations.  All I can speak to is I've been around teams that have competed and won national championships.  This team, the way it's playing right now, is one of the top teams in America.

Q.  Could you talk about your defense and how you thought they played today.
COACH MEYER:  Yeah, best effort we had since we've been here.  I think Mike said it best.  There's always been games where the D‑line played well, maybe the back end was giving up some plays.
This was a complete, thorough effort by our defense.  Coach Fickell, Coach Ash.  Everybody was waiting for the silver bullets to come back, including the head coach.  That was a fantastic effort.

Q.  You talked a lot this week about how far Cardale has come in three years.  Now that he's done this, can you answer that again?
COACH MEYER:  Yeah.  He's one of the most improved players I've ever been around.  The correlation between handling your business off the field and on the field, he does a good job in the classroom now.  It wasn't pleasant his first year here.  Our academic people have done a great job.
You have to give credit to Cardale's support group at home.  Obviously he played for one of the best high school coaches in the history of the high school game in Coach Ginn.  He's been very supportive.  We've had many conversations about this situation.
If everybody wasn't aligned, that wouldn't be the same young man sitting right there.  His support at home, his high school coach, his position coach, they're all obviously close.  Obviously Cardale bought in.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, coach.
COACH MEYER:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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