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January 11, 2021

Jeremy Ruckert

Miami, Florida, USA

Hard Rock Stadium

Ohio State Buckeyes

Alabama - 52, Ohio State - 24

Q. I guess the obvious question to start with is, the tight ends were so involved in the first half against Clemson. You guys went to a couple of throws to you guys early but didn't continue with that. How much of a talk about using you guys in the passing game was there, and what did you make of the game plan going forward?

JEREMY RUCKERT: I mean, they were a great defense and everything, and we were able to make some plays early. But we were just trying to control what we could control. And we didn't want to force anything and just try to get into a rhythm here and there. We kept getting a couple guys going down. We tried to get in a rhythm.

And going against a great team and a great defense like that you have to try to take what they give you and not force anything.

So, like I've always said, if the ball comes my way I'll do everything I can to make the play. But if it doesn't I'll do whatever I can to help my team. And whatever my assignment is I'll do it as hard as I can and as long as I can.

Q. Now that you've had two years to play with Justin and presumably that time has come to an end, what can you say about him and what you've seen from him in the last two years?

JEREMY RUCKERT: I mean, our relationship goes back to high school. We went to a bunch of camps together. And I've always seen him around. Other than as a football player, you can tell just how much of a competitor he is and how truly great he is. He always puts us in a great position.

And he's one of the toughest players I've ever been around. One of my toughest teammates I've ever seen. He showed that last game and coming back this game, behind the scenes, just 24/7 in our training room, getting his body right and doing everything he can to make sure he's out here.

And I feel he didn't even give it away that he was hurt at all. Looked like he was standing in there strong and doing whatever he could to help us win. Great person, unbelievable football player and I'm excited to watch his future.

Q. How much did losing Trey Sermon on that opening drive change and impact some of the stuff you guys wanted to do offensively?

JEREMY RUCKERT: It's definitely a huge loss, especially how productive he's been these last couple of weeks. We've been relying on him in the run game. But we're very confident in the guys we have going forward and who we had in the game. Feel like we were moving the ball pretty well. Rushed pretty good in the first half. Losing him was definitely detrimental.

But you can't put much thought about that into the game while you're in the moment. You gotta control what you can control, like I said before. And I think we tried to do that on offense. And our defense played as hard as they could. And we respect those guys so much, love all those guys, especially the older guys. Tough to see it end like this, but you just gotta control what you can control.

Q. You obviously are very involved in the blocking game. Alabama's defensive line maybe a little bit unheralded comparing with some of the past. But clearly got to you guys some. What did they do well in this game?

JEREMY RUCKERT: I mean, they're just -- you play against Alabama you're going against the best players in the country. And they're very talented, very fundamentally sound. Obviously they're going to get after us a couple times. I feel we just try to manage that and be on the attacking end and not try to receive it, be more proactive than reactive.

And they got after us a couple times. And I feel like it might have changed a couple big moments in the game if we could have stayed on the block a little bit longer or gotten him a few extra seconds to scan down the field.

We left it all out there, I could tell, our whole offensive line and defense, and everybody on the team. We just left it all out there. The score may not have shown it, but I'm just so proud of how far we've come, especially in this season, how everything that's happened. Can't be anything but just so proud of our guys how, far we've come throughout this whole year.

Q. What were they doing in the secondary to kind of limit you guys in the passing attack today? Did they do anything to limit you guys in the passing attack today?

JEREMY RUCKERT: I mean, nothing comes to mind. They just played really strong. They're very sound. They get their plays in early. And they just played really good. And wish it could have turned out different, but I didn't notice anything.

I just feel like we got off rhythm a little bit and couldn't get first down. I don't know how much that had to do with the secondary or anything, but much respect to those guys for coming to play.

Q. You took the big hit in the first half. Just what did you feel after that? You obviously came back in the game but how were you feeling and how are you feeling still?

JEREMY RUCKERT: It hurts, but my dad would have got after me pretty bad if I didn't get right back up. So just thinking don't want to end like that. Don't want the season to end like that get; back in the game and try to help, do anything I can.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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