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January 3, 2008
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
TODD STEWART: Good morning everyone, thanks for joining us. I'd like Jim and the two players to give us a brief statement about what it means to be part of a national championship and then we'll take your questions.
Would you like to start with some opening comments.
JIM BOLLMAN: Sure. It's an honor for us to be here. Very thankful to be here. You know, we've been fortunate to have prior experience in similar roles, and it's the result of a very long, hard journey to get here.
Never an easy thing to do for anyone, and again, just thankful again to have the opportunity.
BEANIE WELLS: Like Coach said, it's an honor to be here. It's a blessing for us just to get another shot at a national championship. I look at it as if we're an army going to battle for Ohio State pride once again.
KIRK BARTON: You know, echoing their thoughts. We're very excited to be down here. We're hungry. And on behalf of the program, we're just excited to be in New Orleans for the national championship game.
TODD STEWART: At this time we'll take questions.
Q. Kirk, how much different has this been, preparation-wise, this year compared to last year? Seems a lot of people are making a lot out of the preparations you guys are coming down with less time, you're practicing differently. How much different is it?
KIRK BARTON: To me it's been pretty different. But everything's been positive. Everything we've changed has been for the better.
We changed a couple of things we did during practice. We came down later. I was in favor of both of those, because I'm a captain, so I have a little bit of input.
But I'm excited about the things we've changed. And, you know, we're hungry this year. We can't wait to get to practice today and start working.
Q. Beanie, this LSU defense is probably as fast and physical as you've seen. Talk about the challenges of facing a defense like LSU's?
BEANIE WELLS: LSU is a great football team and they have a great defense. I mean, that's just something that we've been preparing for since we found out we were going to be playing LSU.
I mean, I think our guys are up to the challenge. I don't think we're going to back down at all. We're going to go out there and give it our all.
Q. Beanie, and for all three of you, can you talk about the Michigan game and kind of how that was -- we heard you were vocal before the game. You became not only a leader on the field, but kind of in the dressing room, in the locker room. Talk about how you want to strap the team on you, I guess, whatever, and what you guys saw and I guess the maturity you've seen out of Beanie?
BEANIE WELLS: It's just something that at that moment I felt that I needed to speak up, because when you're playing a team like Michigan, you don't want anything to go wrong. You want everybody to just be zeroed in on that moment. Just to give it our all at that time.
Q. What made you feel that was the time? You feel like you are maybe one of the leaders now on the team?
BEANIE WELLS: Yeah, a little bit I guess I feel I'm a leader. We've got guys like Kurt Bartley (phonetic) from the top all the way down, and I'm just, I guess, a sidekick to him.
Q. Kirk, this season was so much different from last season for you guys in a lot of ways because of the expectations and because you guys were number one all year. First of all, how did this season, the way it played out, compare to last year? And also at the end there, when things were out of your hands, was that at all fun for you guys? Could you appreciate the nature of the craziness that went on to get you guys into this or was it just nerve-racking?
KIRK BARTON: I mean, it was our fault that it was out of our hands. Obviously we slipped up towards the end of the season. But it is nerve-racking when you have to sit and watch a couple of games and you know your life depends on what they do. Because obviously this is where we wanted to be at. And we lost control of that late in the season. But thankfully a couple of balls bounced our way and we were able to get back here.
But compared to last season, you know it's just kind of a different mentality. Because we have -- you know, a lot of people doubted us going into the season.
I mean, I was at the Big Ten conference and nobody picked us higher than third. Some picked us fourth. And they said watch out for a couple other teams that could even vault in front of us. It was kind of a feeling of we worked pretty hard in the winter and worked very hard in the summer. And we just wanted to see what we could do. Thankfully we've been able to play well and get back to this stage.
Q. In some ways is this season maybe a little more satisfying because you did prove people wrong and there wasn't as much expected of you?
KIRK BARTON: We don't really care what the pundits and critics pick us at, because as you can see during the bowl season a lot of them have been wrong.
But it was satisfying that internally we had that belief, and we were able to believe in each other. And our staff believed in us. And we were able to get back to where we wanted to be at.
Q. Kirk, this is actually a question for Coach Bollman as well. How much do you guys have to prove in terms of protection in this game? Because Florida really got after Troy Smith last year. Did you sort of take that personal and considering that you had guys like Highsmith and Pittman and Glenn Dorsey that you'll have to keep away from Todd. Do you feel like you have something to prove coming into this game?
KIRK BARTON: In every game you feel like the most important part of the game is up front, protection-wise and run blocking. But in passing game, can't be efficient without good protection. It's impossible. It's something that we focus on this entire year, because we had a new quarterback. And we had to make sure he was comfortable in the pocket so he could develop himself.
Because if he was always hurt he would never be able to really get a good grasp of what he could do. So we focused on that the entire season, the entire off season. So that was something we definitely thought about.
Q. Coach, can you elaborate?
JIM BOLLMAN: Not reflecting on that game last year as much as that and there's a lot of reasons for those things happening. Aside from those people you mentioned being great football players. Some other things that we were trying to accomplish or didn't accomplish at that moment. But I agree with him that these guys do a really good job pressuring, and very athletic, very tough, very strong, very physical. And that's gotta be an important part of our game this week. We've got to do a good job.
Q. Comparable to the Florida's defensive line at all?
JIM BOLLMAN: I wouldn't even go there.
Q. Why not?
JIM BOLLMAN: Comparable to Florida's defensive line? We all know about Dorsey being very, very tough inside. And I think he's probably the best person that we've played against all season as an inside player. Then these guys are very, very quick and running really, really well on the outside.
You know, comparable to Florida, I don't know. We'll see. But they're very, very good. They're very, very good.
They're much bigger. I'll say this, they're much bigger. Period.
Q. Jim, could you talk a little bit about the maturity of Kirk? He kind of came in five years ago as a quiet-spoken, shy kid. I don't think he's leaving that way now.
JIM BOLLMAN: (Chuckling) Kirk was a tight end. Some people would debate that, I guess. He was the guy that -- he was a very good blocker, very tough guy who happened to play tight end for his high school because that was the most valuable place for him to play. And he's matured every year, gotten much bigger and stronger every year. And in my 30 years of doing this, I don't know that I've ever had anybody that's worked harder off the field to improve himself to get to where he is. He's really done a great job.
Q. Kirk and Beanie, now that you guys are here, you see the LSU flags. You hear all about LSU on the radio. Are you guys aware of how much of a non-neutral site this will be?
BEANIE WELLS: Of course we are. We know that we're going to have to come ready, because we are in their territory. So, I mean, that's something that we've been emphasizing to our team that we're not at a neutral site really. We're basically -- it's basically a home game for them so we know we have to be prepared for that.
KIRK BARTON: I mean it was kind of like in Rocky IV when he goes to Russia, gets off the plane and the KGB is with him. My favorite scene in that movie is when he's running down the road and they get in the car and try to follow him and then he goes off the road and they crash.
As far as running my laps around the city tonight, I'll probably have some people chasing after me with their flags and stuff. But that's kind of what it's like. I mean -- I know it's funny I say that. But you know where you stand when you're in Louisiana, because they have a lot of -- they love their Tigers down here. It's very evident. That's just how it is. It would be the same way if they had a bowl game in Columbus.
It's a lot of fun being in an environment like this.
Q. Coach Bollman and Kirk, how much of a personal challenge is it to your group, and again, Kirk, the offensive line group, to control a guy like Glenn Dorsey, highly decorated?
KIRK BARTON: I mean, he's obviously -- he might be one of the most decorated defensive players in history. I've never seen a guy who swept every award the way he did this year. It's obviously going to be a great challenge for us.
He's a tremendous player. Their whole front is tremendous. We've been studying them for about five weeks now and they're definitely one of the top units I've ever faced. And it's going to be a big challenge. It's going to be a big key to the game.
So, yeah, it's something we're working for and we're studying every day.
Q. Beanie, I know players don't like to take one game and make it "the" game, but do you feel like this is your opportunity to kind of break out on the national stage against a defense like LSU?
BEANIE WELLS: You know, that's something I'm not even focused on, breaking out on a national stage, or whatever. I'm just really worried about playing my role and helping this team be successful.
Q. Coach, concerning Todd Boeckman. How much has he progressed from the beginning of the season until now and how pleased are you with that progress?
JIM BOLLMAN: I think Todd's progress has been great and it's pretty much reflective of the whole offense. You can always say that there's a lot of people around him, a quarterback maybe doesn't have to make a play, but I don't know that you can really do that either, because sooner or later in a football game a quarterback's gotta make a play. He's gotta make a great throw. He's gotta make a great decision, which is the number one thing.
And I'm sure throughout the season he's had a throw here or there that we'd like for him to take back that he'd like to take back, but he's done a really good job, I think, continually improving, and done a good job in bowl preparation.
But, again, it's reflective of a lot of guys around him, too. And I think that's been part of our success on offense, where you never know exactly who was going to be the guy to step up. Some people were asking Beanie a couple of questions about some of his big games later in the year.
Well, it's just a matter of using your personnel a lot of times in how things evolve in a football game. You never know what's going to happen in a football game. You never know -- you have some preparation ideas on match-ups, but when you get into a game you never know exactly what's going to happen, where an injury is going to occur, where somebody might have a weakness.
And somebody remarked earlier about the Michigan game. That was a game where no one could catch the ball. So we're going to run the football and Beanie stepped up. It was a great day for him and us.
Q. Beanie and Kirk, you guys have talked about how last year at the bowl site, maybe you guys lost your edge a little bit down there because you're too familiar. I know you haven't been here a long time, but can you sense a different attitude in the team down here as opposed to a year ago?
BEANIE WELLS: I could immediately, as soon as we got here. Last year we were out there a while and it was more like a vacation. This year everybody's taking it more like a business trip, like we're down here for a purpose. That's just to go out there and give it our all in a football game.
Last year, I really didn't sense that at all from our team.
KIRK BARTON: Definitely changed it up. And we're pretty excited, like I said, to get out to practice. I mean, last year we were kind of lackadaisical and this year there's more urgency. Because when you have an opportunity like this, you know, you can't just fill in all the dots like stay at the same hotel, do the same routine and then expect the same outcome.
I mean, that might have been the case last year, but this year it's different. And, like I said, we're just excited -- I've never been this excited to be out to practice. I just want to go out and practice today. That's all I think about now. Because we only have so many opportunities and we have to take advantage of them.
Q. Kirk, you mentioned a minute ago about playing a bowl game in Columbus. That's one of the different type of proposals out there for a playoff. How do you feel about the idea of playing one, two, or three more games?
KIRK BARTON: I don't think that's ever really going to happen, to be honest. But that's not a decision I can make. Obviously I have five days of eligibility left. So it's not going to affect me.
I think it would be harder because the bowl system really -- it lifts mid-level programs up, in my mind, because a lot of teams can say -- like 32 teams can say they won a bowl game this year. They use that for recruiting. The next year they go to a bigger bowl and they win that one.
It kind of adds to the parity. If you have a playoff and eight teams in it and everyone else is sitting home for Christmas, it's kind of like teams -- there won't be as much parity in college football. A lot of teams get really better during December bowl practice because you get a look at the young guys and scrimmage more and do those types of things.
I think the BCS is better for the pairitive college football, but that's just my opinion.
Q. For all of you guys, you've done well on offense this year in terms of starting the game right, jumping out early. Beanie, you were talking earlier about the home field advantage here that LSU might have. Is it more important in a game like this to jump out early and maybe take their crowd out of it or just the same importance as any game, you like to start early?
BEANIE WELLS: You know, to me it's the same with any game. You always want to start off early and get things rolling. But if it doesn't start off early, we just know that we're going to be in a dogfight and we have to continue to play hard and play hard football that we know how to play.
JIM BOLLMAN: You gotta anticipate -- whenever you get in a BCS game, you gotta anticipate you're playing a great football team. And this is our fifth time doing this. And it doesn't matter how exactly the first two or three snaps go.
I can remember our first national championship game, we were coming off the sideline and had a delay game penalty. So there's going to be some nerves involved, people are going to be anxious. It's important that you get in a rhythm at some point in the game that you'd rather not wait too long.
TODD STEWART: Thank you, gentlemen.
As you look to me left to right, we now have wide receiver Brian Robiskie and Alex Boone and Brian Hartline.
BRIAN ROBISKIE: I think just first and foremost for me to have an opportunity to play in this game, I think two years in a row, it's been big. I think that for me I was a guy that got a chance to come down here in the summers with my dad being that he's from this area and I think that for me to come back and I have a lot of family still down here, I think for me to get a chance to get to the game and be here it's been a blessing for me.
ALEX BOONE: Basically playing in a game this year, second time in a row it's obviously a great feeling for us. Last year we got embarrassed. And everybody remembers that and that's all anyone wants to talk about. Now they're saying we don't deserve to be here.
They can say what they want and we feel a different way. But obviously it's a blessing for us to be here. Not a lot of people even get the chance to go one time. Now we're back here again for a repeat. So this year we know what's at stake. We're not taking anything for granted anymore. We're a team and we're going to play like a team and there's no superstars and that's just the way it is.
And we're going to have some fun and play some football and do our best.
BRIAN HARTLINE: I'd like to thank everybody for being here I'd like to thank the BCS committee for inviting us back. And we're ready to realize that we are very blessed this year to come back and redeem ourselves from last year. It was definitely a disappointment last year. Well-deserved, though, with the mind-set that we had. But this year is a lot different than last year.
We're very anxious. The hotel is great that we're staying at. And I'm really glad we get to come down to New Orleans and enjoy this great city, especially the past couple of years they've had and bring some excitement back down here. So it's an honor, thank you, and we're ready to play.
TODD STEWART: Questions.
Q. Alex, this one is to you. We've heard a lot about the Glenn Dorseys and all the awards. If you could just talk about the LSU defensive line collectively and what challenges they pose for you?
ALEX BOONE: I think the challenges they pose for us is they're a very physical team. You watch them and they're tough. They get to the ball. They're great pass rushers. They can stop the run. I think that what we'll have to do is we'll have to come together and say this is going to be a tough game.
Obviously we know that. We'll have to play for 60 or more minutes, whatever it takes. But they're a physical team. They're a very physical defensive line, which I like. Some of the guys might not. But we know that we're going to have to work our asses off this whole game. We'll have to do whatever it takes.
Q. All three guys, a year ago you guys were huge favorites. Just talk about the mind-set coming in here as underdogs. And, Alex, you kind of said it, in talking to the folks down here, they're really not giving Ohio State much of a chance. It's the same stuff we've said: the SEC speed, too physical, too fast. Just your mind-set and what you may have learned a year ago and now coming in here as an underdog?
ALEX BOONE: I think what's better about this year, last year everyone was like, man, you guys are going to win. You guys got Troy, you got Teddy, Gonzo, you have all these superstars, you can't lose. This year it's like, who do you have? You have Beanie and James, that's great, but who else?
I think this year we're just a blue-collar team. No one knows who we are. We're just playing for ourselves and that's the mind-set right now, we're going to play for ourselves and nobody else and we deserve this. Last year people kept saying, you're going to win, you're going to win. You start to think, we're going to win. Maybe we don't have to practice as hard as we are.
This year it's opposite. You're too slow, you're not going to make it, you don't hit hard enough. We've been taking practices up another level and running and hitting as hard as we can and I think it's going to be different.
BRIAN HARTLINE: I think it's big because we've been a huge away team this year. We went into the handful of hostile environments, we've played a lot better on the road than at home. This is a perfect situation for us to have our backs against the wall. And no way we're going to win a hostile environment, away crowd. And I think that's going to be the biggest thing for us. It's going to be like second to us hopefully for us this year.
Again, maybe one of those tough notice kind of teams that might take it on the chin every once in a while, but for us to go away we play really well away, and everyone has been saying that's it's kind of a home game for them, away for us. Sounds good to me, kind of like that hostile environment. There's really no room for error, and it's a good way to treat it.
Q. Following up on the speed question, you can go down the line on this, Brian, Alex and Brian. Right now Ohio State is 0-8 in the SEC in bowl games. I guess everybody is using that to talk about last year's failure against Florida. Have you talked about that you've never beaten the SEC in a bowl game?
BRIAN ROBISKIE: That's not something that we've talked about. I think this team is completely different than any of those other eight teams. I think that every year no matter what game that is being played, I mean, that individual team going against that SEC team or whatever it may be. And I think that those past games, whatever the record may be, if it was 0-8, 8-0, has no influence on this season and this game that's going to be played. We know that and we know that what happens on Monday is going to be a result of what we've done this past year and what we've been doing over the course of the past month and for the next couple of days.
BRIAN HARTLINE: Sounds good, Brian (smiling).
Q. Alex and Brian?
ALEX BOONE: I think that obviously the record that we have against SEC teams are not -- we're not good at all. But obviously it just comes down on the SEC teams played harder than we did and that's how it went. I've only played against them one time, so I can't vouch for the other games.
But, I mean, that's it, plain and simple. They played better than we did.
BRIAN HARTLINE: Ditto.
ALEX BOONE: Yeah (laughter).
Q. Alex and Brian, all three of you guys came in in the class of 2005, how aware are you that this class has been kind of the core of this team and they're a little bit representative, like you said, Alex, blue-collar, wasn't really highly regarded recruiting class, whatever that means. Do you all talk about that or are you all a tight-knit group?
BRIAN HARTLINE: I take notice of it. Your whole team, we understand that. But there's a point where you take pride in your own class. It's kind of just like high school how the fourth graders are better than the fifth graders kind of thing.
So it's definitely -- I've taken notice of it. I'm not sure about the other guys. But I'm proud of who I'm with. I was redshirted like them, so sometimes you forget about who is in what class, but it's all the '05 class. And overall it is a great class. Hopefully we get a handful of guys that can leave and the NFL will come back and compete again next year, heading into the drafts, I think it will be an outstanding class overall.
So it's real exciting. I'm proud of everybody. I'm proud of who I came in with, but personally I have taken notice of it and it's been a lot of fun.
ALEX BOONE: Absolutely. I've taken notice. Obviously this team -- this is basically our class. This team we've kind of taken over and we took over a lot last year.
But like Brian said, I'm very proud of our class we came in with. I love these guys to death and I'd do anything for one of them. They're like my brothers.
Q. Brian, you talked about this earlier with hostile environment. You guys were at Michigan, at Penn State, 108-, 110,000 people. How did the team deal with those hostile environments? And I don't think it will help you in this situation where you're talking about 80,000, but still a hostile environment?
BRIAN HARTLINE: I think it's definitely going to help. Probably 80-, 90,000, close to that, LSU fans is probably comparative to 110,000 Penn State fans, from what I've understood. It will definitely help us. I know at Purdue, at Penn State, at Michigan, we came out, strike, scored on the first drive, did the whole thing. We came out firing. We didn't shy away from the crowd or playing at night, that kind of thing, that whole situation. So hopefully it will be pretty similar. The weight of the BCS championship will just put a little more fire into it. Overall, I don't expect us shying away from any kind of feeling of the masses of people. And all the LSU Tiger fans.
We've been warned about how LSU, the fans have latched onto that kind of team, and between the hurricane and just the whole situation of being down in New Orleans and Louisiana, that LSU fans have kind of latched onto it with the New Orleans Saints and Tigers and take it very personal. So I'm sure they're heckuva fans within that Superdome, and I don't expect anything less.
Q. Take a "us against the world" type of mentality?
BRIAN HARTLINE: Yeah, I think so. Because that just makes your team come together even more. If you don't, that's when you kind of get embarrassed, to have that situation to require our team to come together to perform has nothing but kind of pushed us in the right direction for the game in general, anyway. So I think if anything that's just going to help us coming in. Think you're going to dominate a game that you might -- like last year, you might not even do. Maybe even harder.
I think the situation at hand is even going to help us.
Q. Brian, you talked about your Louisiana ties, I guess. Talk about your history with your father playing for LSU and maybe your affiliation with the tigers as a young boy if you had any, were you recruited, did you make any campus visits, go to any games, et cetera?
BRIAN ROBISKIE: It was never me going as far as coming to any games. I never got a chance to do that. Being recruited, that was a school I talked to very briefly. It was nothing very serious as to me coming down to visit or anything like that. I think that we were just talking about mai tais. Coming down here was just something I did like most kids, I just came in the summers, coming when I had time off. Coming to visit. A lot of my family doing a lot of the same things, fishing and hanging out with them and doing things like that, that was the extent of it.
Q. For all of you, a lot is made of the layoff. Was last year between the Michigan game and this game, first of all, is it a big deal as everybody makes it and if it is did you change anything to keep up your energy, keep up your motivation, keep your speed, that sort of thing?
BRIAN ROBISKIE: I think the biggest thing we did this year, obviously we didn't come to New Orleans as early as we might have been in Phoenix last year. I think that with us this year, with us coming out here, now it's more like a game week. I think we've taken that approach that we've got five days until game day and that's how we're going to look at it.
I think just going back to our practices, I mean, like Alex was saying earlier, just the intensity of all of our practices has increased that much more, just because of all the guys that were there last year and were part of that game. I think for all of us to have that experience and to come back this year and to have this opportunity, again, I think nobody wants to take it for granted and everybody is working that much harder.
BRIAN HARTLINE: Personally, it's hard to say sometimes, because it would be kind of nice to do a little test see if there's any way that we have this layoff and then somehow turn around and then the following year not have the layoff and just kind of compare. But it's kind of hard to do with the inconsistency of college football and teams and things like that.
But in general, it's gotta be difficult. I mean, think about rusty and how different teams are -- although, a little more of extended period of time -- the first couple of games of the season than they are Game 7 through 10 or 12.
So personally I think there is a little bit of a change, I think coming out you could be rusty, but again I think it's on a team-to-team basis and how they are prepared throughout the bowl week.
But, again, I think it's just kind of hit or miss year in, year out. Sometimes there is an effect, just with personalities of the team going into a 50-day layoff as compared to a 25- or 30-day layoff. But at times I think it does but I think it's been a lot different this year than it was last year you see the intensity and the preparation we've had this year compared to last year's team.
Q. Robiskie and Alex, as players, you're in this, can you guys appreciate the strangeness of this season, not just for Ohio State, but for everybody? Do you sit back week-to-week and go, oh, man, this team lost, and then at the end of the season when it really affected you, could you enjoy sitting back watching these games that affected you so much?
ALEX BOONE: I don't think week-to-week you really think about it, but coming into the season you think about all the teams that went down and think, wow, this is a crazy season.
Going into the last week I was kind of like maybe something crazy could happen this week. And both teams, number one and number two, went down. You think about the season. You're right: it's been crazy. It's been off the wall and a lot of people were like, maybe this wasn't a good year for anybody. But that's football. Anything can happen any day. You gotta understand that when you play this game. You can't ever take anything for granted. So it's a great game.
BRIAN ROBISKIE: I think just looking at from the start of the season to the last week, you had upsets every week. And it caused a lot of the rankings and the polls to -- they were continuously changing. Before the Illinois game, I think that maybe that we didn't obviously want to be one of those teams, but that was something we were able to control and we didn't. And I think that obviously after the Michigan game, you know, we were one of those teams that was sitting back and we were watching the polls continue to change and fortunately we're having this opportunity again.
Q. Alex, I read a quote from Beanie after the first game of the year where he said, I feel like trash, because he didn't feel like he played well in his first start when he got the chance to be the guy, and obviously he's taken off in the last Michigan game, how he played so well. Just as the guy who blocks for him, how far as he progressed during the year and become the back?
ALEX BOONE: Well, the one thing I've noticed about Beanie, whenever you try to talk to him in a game he'll never respond, ever. And I always thought it was because he was mad at me about something, but I realized he's so focused he doesn't notice me trying to ask him something. I think that this year that's what he's done. He's just more focused on the game. He sees the field better. He's got a clearer mind.
He's come a long way from last year and last year was a great season for him. And this year he's had an even better season. Obviously the sky's the limit for him. He could even go up. I think this year he's more focused and seeing the field a lot better.
Q. All three of you, you took this DVD home over break. How much did you guys watch that over break and what was each of your favorite parts of it?
ALEX BOONE: I'm going to say this, okay, so I watched the DVD with my grandma, right? She's a crazy lady. But I love her to death. And we watched it together because she said she wanted to watch it. So we're watching it and she was going off at the TV. I mean, 10 minutes of straight bashing us. I mean, someone is going to get pissed off, right? And I didn't really take it to heart. My grandma is folding clothes and going nuts. I gotta remind her she's a little older, calm down.
Obviously you watch films like that and you realize just how much everybody hates you. But at the end, who cares? Who cares what anybody thinks but us. This is our team. None of those people are going to play come Monday night. So anything they say, do, I mean, it doesn't matter. This is our team and we're going to play. I think it was a great thing to watch because it made us more humble. Right before we went home for Christmas break, everyone was feeling good. I think everyone was getting ready to go home and make some bad decisions with eating and stuff like that.
So it made us more humbled, I think.
BRIAN HARTLINE: The only thing that it made me think was sitting there looking at it, listening to it, I'm thinking, okay, so if we win, how many of these guys are going to actually accept it and actually apologize or admit they were wrong? And I would say probably the majority of them never would. So I kind of laughed at it wanted to shrug it off.
But if we lose, there's going to be a lot of big-headed people out there that think they're geniuses or there's going to be a lot of liars. So I couldn't really decide which one to go with. So I just kind of hope -- that's what catches my mind, how everyone acknowledges how much of a crazy season it's been. But they can't acknowledge that we have a chance to win. I don't understand it. Because Pitt can beat West Virginia and West Virginia can destroy Oklahoma, but we can't have a chance to beat LSU.
So, again, we just want to play the game. We're anxious, we're here, but overall we can't really listen to the outside things. We just took care of within and that's kind of the mentality we've had anyways.
BRIAN ROBISKIE: I think the biggest thing for me, what I got from the video, I think just watching it, I think our coaches obviously said that -- I mean, this is what people are saying about you. This is what people have to say. I mean, we didn't need a video. I think any of us could turn on the TV every day and they're saying something. All they did was take it, put it into a little 10-, 15-minute video.
But I think the biggest thing we have to do, and we all realize it, is that while we want to get caught up in proving a lot of these people wrong, we can't do that.
We know that all we have to do is do what we've been practicing this past month, continue to focus on what we've been focusing on and try to reach this goal. And that's it.
Q. Guys, it's going to be the hat versus the vest on the coaching sidelines there. Could you talk about the vest and what does he bring to the table and why do you guys admire him as a coach?
ALEX BOONE: Class. He brings class to the table. Obviously that's one of the things he stresses most on us that we should always play with class and obviously he's a genius. He's smart. He knows a lot about football. I think just by watching him coach you can see what kind of a guy he is. He gets you fired up in a different sort of way. He's not off the wall, bonkers, you really don't even know if he's happy, sad, anything.
But, I mean, like I said, though, he brings a lot of class to the table, and that's what he teaches us.
BRIAN ROBISKIE: I can't talk about Coach Miles too much. I've had a chance to play for him. He has to be a pretty good coach to have his team in that game. But just talking about Coach Tressel, I think the person that you see kind of in the media and doing all the interviews, he's the same with us. He's not like he's a coach that goes and acts one way with a certain crowd and comes back and acts completely different with us.
I think the kind of guy he is is kind of very representative of the team and how we represent ourselves.
BRIAN HARTLINE: Really, with Coach Tressel, I think it's one guy that I'm actually proud to say I can play for. There's a handful, and not just because he put together this staff. When they say who is really influential in your life, immediately comes Coach Tressel and his staff. So he's impacted who I am. He's impacted so many people across the country.
To really be able to -- if someone asks you who you are, to be able to look at them and sit with them and say, I'm an Ohio State football player, and to have it really totally describe you, it's really in the fall of Coach Tressel, between academics, class, kind of your personality, how well-rounded you are, and then the football dedication is, again, all due to Coach Tressel.
And maybe a decade ago, half decade ago, maybe you couldn't say that, maybe mid-'90s or so. But now with Ohio State football, you can describe yourself as Ohio State football player and you're a well-rounded person. And that truly is Coach Tressel's doing.
Q. Can you talk about how many family members in the Robiskie clan will be here that your dad may lead the cheers in the section up there or whatever?
BRIAN ROBISKIE: I know there's going to be a lot of people that didn't get tickets. They're going to be watching. There's more people that aren't going to have them than people I could get tickets for. But for everybody that's going to be at the game they're going to have the jerseys and there should be a good little section of them. But I think for everybody that didn't make it, they'll have their jerseys in front of the TV.
Q. You'll feel that. Know that they're there?
BRIAN ROBISKIE: I'll know that they're there. I know my biggest supporter, my grandfather, he passed recently. And I think that just throughout this whole season, like I said, he was one of my biggest supporters coming in. And I think that I just kept telling him that I wanted to have an opportunity to come out here and play being that he was sick and this would be an easier trip for him. And I think that with him passing and not being able to make it, I think that the rest of my family are coming. They'll be here to support me. And I think I'm grateful for that.
TODD STEWART: Thank you, gentlemen.
End of FastScripts