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January 11, 2021

Jonathon Cooper

Miami, Florida, USA

Hard Rock Stadium

Ohio State Buckeyes

Alabama, 52 - Ohio, 24

Q. I saw and you Thayer up there at the end of the Game, kind of the two last guys to leave the field. What was going through your head at the moment and what were you talking about?

JONATHON COOPER: You know, I don't -- not much. Just how bad to hurt to see all that.

But I think I was just telling him, get there next year. You know, keep working hard, keep going. I'm sorry I couldn't do more for him.

That was basically the conversation. Just talking about how much we care and love each other.

Q. Can you just describe what it's like facing an offense like that and how did you guys feel in practice with your preparation for this game?

JONATHON COOPER: Yeah, well, a lot of credit to Alabama. They're a great team. We knew that coming in. They're coached very well and they have good players.

We felt like we did a good job preparing all week. It's not much I can say honestly. You guys saw the game. They're a good team. I feel like we didn't execute and didn't tackle as well as we should have, as a whole defense.

Just had to be better. Unfortunately, we were not. They took advantage of that.

Q. Just not having Tyreke, Tommy for a game like this, obviously you guys have been doing next-man-up all season. How did that affect you guys?

JONATHON COOPER: Well, Tommy and Tyreke are great players, but I have to give a lot of credit to the guys that stepped in their place. Jerron Cage and Tyler Friday, Javonte, and Zach and Antwuan Jackson and Taron Vincent are all on the on the inside. They definitely stepped up to play.

I'm very proud of them. Even with us missing a guy like Tommy and Tyreke, they stepped up and played really well in my opinion. I'm really excited to see what they all do next year.

Q. When you guys were prepping for this, did you think more, Let's try to stop the run and maybe make them one dimensional, or with how dynamic they were in the pass game, were you talking more about we got to get pressure and slow down the passing game? I know you want to do both, but offense feels like you said maybe we want to stop one or the other first.

JONATHON COOPER: Right. I feel like the goal of any game is to stop the run, get to the pass. I feel like we were doing a pretty good job of that in the first half, and we just need to slow them down in the passing game and we never really caught on or could do that.

Alabama was being as well coached as they are with good players, they took advantage of that. Like I said earlier, the defense just needed to execute better, figure everything out. I know we'll definitely look back and figure out what we needed to do better.

But you got to give credit to Alabama.

Q. You had to know obviously that Alabama is so talented with the guys they have. Was it different facing them live and just how good are they?

JONATHON COOPER: Well, I feel like our scout team is really good. They did give us good looks all week, and we go against amazing players every single day in practice with our offense.

Guys like Olave and Garrett and J-Mo and all those wide receivers. I don't know, like I said, I feel like they're a great team. I also feel like we were a great team. It's not like we haven't seen great athletes before. We practice against them every single day.

We just needed to execute better.

Q. Cooper, I wanted to ask you about the difference between playing seven games and 12 games. Do you feel you had enough time get in the rhythm going into this game, the championship game here versus the 12 games they played? Maybe they were a bit more cohesive. Did you feel that, did you feel that on the field tonight?

JONATHON COOPER: To be honest, no. I feel like we had a good game plan. Like I said before, I just feel like we needed to execute better. I don't think the difference in 7 or 12 games made too much of a difference.

I just feel like we needed to be better in this game, ask unfortunately we weren't.

Q. I know you've talked a lot good brotherhood of this team and how that got this team here. I know that you won't be back next year. How do you think the other guys who are going to be back are going to respond to this?

JONATHON COOPER: I feel like they're going to respond the same way that they felt last year with the Clemson loss, honestly. Yeah, I'm sad that I won't be a part of this group next year, because, I mean, it's a bunch of great guys who truly love each other, man.

But I'm excited to watch and see what they do next year. I feel like this is just going to fuel and motivate them to greater heights and achieve more. I feel like they got a taste of it, and now they just need to go finish it.

Q. Obviously you guys are disappointed right now. You wanted to win a national title. When you think about how this season went, what did you accomplish this season and how will you look back on it?

JONATHON COOPER: First off, I just want to say I'm so proud of my guys and my team. I'm so proud of those guys. They're truly special, and I know we didn't win this game and all that, but they're champions in my heart honestly.

I'm so proud of my guys. I couldn't be prouder. I give all my thanks to them for letting me play with them, have an opportunity to do this stuff with them. You know, I'm just trying to keep my head held high for them. They deserve it for everything that they've done.

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