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December 27, 2016

Ed Warinner

Glendale, Arizona

COACH WARINNER: The schemes, sometimes it's young receivers. It's a combination. But if there was one thing that we just would put our finger on, we could probably have fixed that a little faster. But that's one of the challenges we have is to try to be consistent in the passing game, but to be balanced, to be able to run the football and be able to throw it.

We love our players and love J.T. And so that's been a big focus, like you said, in our preparation for this game, is how to be efficient there.

Q. How familiar are you with Brent Venables, and how hard is it to game plan when he throws that many looks at you?
COACH WARINNER: I'm familiar with Brent. I coached in the Big 12. I knew Brent back then. He left Oklahoma and went to Clemson.

And we played against him a couple of years ago in the Orange Bowl. So he does a great job of mixing up his defenses and applying pressure. So I think Brent is an outstanding football coach. And he'll have this team ready to go. And it will be exciting to see what they bring to the table, because they'll have some wrinkles for us.

Q. Is it fair to say, though, that there's no rhyme or reason down and distance to when he's going to bring pressure, not bring pressure; he doesn't follow the rule book, I guess?
COACH WARINNER: Yeah, I think he doesn't have tendencies. If you mean -- if you really study the whole body of work for the season, it's hard to say that they have tremendous tendencies, which I think is intentional. And I think that's also what makes them good is they have really good players and they aren't predictable. Therefore, they're hard to game plan.

Q. Has Noah been a marked man since Oklahoma; does he draw that extra attention?
COACH WARINNER: I think people are very aware of where he is in certain situations, yes, I do. But you know he's a guy that, again, we need to get him involved and have him make some plays for us.

Q. I want to go back to the Clemson defensive line. It's a little different than Michigan or Penn State or Michigan State even more edge-based as opposed to Clemson is a little stronger in the middle. Does that play into your strengths a little bit on the offensive line, or is that something you guys are preparing for a little bit differently?
COACH WARINNER: Not necessarily. I mean, they are stout inside. They do have some big run-stoppers in there that play fast and they do rotate people through there. So they have a lot of depth.

But, I mean, we just have to see how our players match up as the game goes and try to get a feel for.

Q. You have two offensive lineman, All-Americans in 42 years or something. And we spend so much time talking about the offensive line how it's not where it needs to be. Is there an opportunity to really, for Michael and maybe even Isaiah this week, to step up and try and show that they've taken that step?
COACH WARINNER: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we've had some great preparation. Those guys have made improvements even at this point in the season. There's been room for improvement, and they've done it. I like how they prepared.

And so, yeah, collectively as a group, that group needs to play well against a really good defensive front for us to have success.

Q. Negative plays, looking back at what happened, seems like Jamarco Jones as a whole came out it pretty well but everyone had a glaring breakdown. How can you avoid that one that changes the game, I guess? What can you do -- I know it's going to be difficult but --
COACH WARINNER: It's hard this pinpoint that. It's hard to say. That's one of the things we've played some of the top defenses in this country this year. If you really look at the people we played on our schedule. And defensively they're where they stand statistically on the year, and so that's the challenge we have and we're playing another good one.

Q. What is defined in that defensive line group right now? Was everything that's been said about the unit and how they played the back end of the season?
COACH WARINNER: Oh, I think with the leaders we have and with Pat and Billy in there, that they have a good mindset, that they've worked hard, that they are accepting the challenge to play at a high level because they know they need to. We plan on -- we expect them to. We plan on them doing that, and they've -- wow, have they worked hard in this month of December. Since we played our last game, the amount of time they put in with the coaches and the amount of time they put in without coaches around to just continue to grow as a unit.

And I think it will be fun to watch.

Q. (Indiscernible) a group which is typically anonymous gets a lot of attention.
COACH WARINNER: Yeah, usually that's something they're not used to. And usually it's not for -- that position is usually you don't want to talk about the offensive line unless there's a problem.

And so it is what it is. But I mean they're mature guys, and they're good football players. And they've worked hard. They'll be ready to go.

Q. Were you able to bring in former guys to work them, give them some reps?
COACH WARINNER: Yeah, we had a couple of guys come in and practice with us. Bobby Carpenter and Zach Boren came in and practiced with us and they lined up on defense. One played linebacker. Well Bobby played outside linebacker like a D end, rush end, and Zach played inside linebacker. So it was good to have them out at practice a couple days last week. We enjoyed that.

Q. Clemson will line up three 300-pounders on their defensive line usually every snap including Christian Wilkins, sometimes four 300-pounders. Did you see that before do they remind you of anyone because of their size?
COACH WARINNER: No, I don't think we've seen that kind of size in a group that's that deep. So I think that will be probably the first time, yeah.

Q. What do you think about Christian Wilkins, who plays that defensive end position after moving from tackle? Just your thoughts on watching him on film?
COACH WARINNER: Good football player. Physical. I think he uses his hands well. I think that's why they were able to move him out there, and he has a good first step. So I think they thought he could handle the edge and they put him out there and he's done a nice job for them. Really nice job.

Q. You mentioned you brought Carpenter to play as scouts. Any former players that you had come play on the scout team?
COACH WARINNER: I'm not sure the total number. Hartline, a wide receiver that played for us, came and helped the defense, played some wide receiver for them. That was most recently with the Browns. But the two guys that helped us were Zach Boren and Bobby Carpenter.

Q. Fun thing to bring the guys back?
COACH WARINNER: They did a great job. And it was fun to have them there, and they understood what they were there to do, and it wasn't just to have a flashback moment for them. It was about helping us. And that's the great thing about Buckeyes is they love to help Buckeyes so it was good to have them.

Q. I know you watched film. When you see Deshaun Watson and J.T. Barrett, can you tell me about the similarities of the two guys and the difference in those two guys?
COACH WARINNER: Both of us want the ball in their hands in big-time situations and big games. And both of us have won a lot of football games with those two guys at quarterback. I would imagine, because I don't know him, he's a tremendous leader. I can just tell by listening to him talk that he has leadership qualities. I imagine that we know from video evidence and watching him play he's an outstanding athlete.

So I think they're what people look for in spread offenses at quarterback -- a versatile, athletic leader, tough, can run the ball and make plays in the passing game when they need to.

And he's had a great run there. And J.T.'s had a great run for us. So I think it's an interesting point you make that both teams are where we're at, at least offensively, because of the leadership and the play of those two guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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