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January 1, 2010
Ohio State Â– 26
Oregon - 17
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, Coach. If you'd like to make an opening statement and then we'll turn it over for questions.
COACH TRESSEL: Thanks, Gina. So proud of this group, especially our seniors, who took over a young team in August and had high expectations and had some tough moments. But they never wavered and they never questioned the direction they were going to end up, and the young guys came along, and we improved as we went. Our back half of the year was pretty solid, and they prepared extremely hard for this football game. In fact, they prepared so hard that we didn't even practice on the 30th or the 31st because they were ready.
I'm so proud of them. Kurt Coleman led that defense, TP did a great job leading that offense and making plays. I'm proud of the coaching staff, our fans showed up a long way from home, and just a great night for the Buckeyes.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach.
Q. Just talk about the obviously passing a lot more than you guys had for most of the season. Just the reasoning behind that.
COACH TRESSEL: We felt that we needed to be balanced against this team. The passing game begins with protection, and we've been a little healthier in the back half of the year up front, and it obviously helped our run.
We were in some games where we felt what we needed to do was control the clock and run the ball and so forth, and this game we felt like we really needed to come in flinging it around and being as balanced as we could. And we felt like as long as we were doing it well, we'd have a chance to keep doing it.
I thought TP made good decisions. He not only made good decision as to who to go to, made good decisions when to throw it away and when to step up and run. He was engaged in the game, talking in the game between series, knew what they were doing and why they were doing it.
Any time you get a month to work to get better, it's like having a whole spring practice or something, I felt like we got better. I hope that was a written media and not a sound byte.
Q. They gave you some trouble early on with some stunts. How did you counteract that strategy?
COACH TRESSEL: Well, they're a blitz team. They love to bring people off the edge, they love to apply pressure. That's what they do on offense. They apply pressure, that's what they do in their special teams. That's their MO is they attack. I thought our offensive line did a good job. I thought some of our quick game early on, I thought Terrelle had some key 3rd-down conversions on our quick key when they were bringing a lot of folks.
You knew going into this game you were going to get pressure. If you thought they were going to sit back there and play soft zone defense or something, that's not the way Oregon plays.
Q. What did you do on the 30th and the 31st, because obviously you worked.
COACH TRESSEL: What did we do?
Q. If you didn't practice.
COACH TRESSEL: We just had walk-throughs, meetings. The 30th it was a little bit rainy, and the fields weren't in wonderful shape with the rain. And then on the 31st, which was like our Friday, that's typically a walk-through day for us anyway. So we just felt like we were ready. We had been working hard. We had been working since the first couple days of December.
Q. Talk about the importance of that last field goal at the end of the first half, and also, talk about the fact were you a little bit surprised on 4th and 1 they went through the field goal there late?
COACH TRESSEL: Well, getting the points at the end of the half was important. Chip was calling timeouts before the half while we had the ball because he wanted it with a minute to go to try to get points for them. I mean, it was that kind of game that you knew every possession, every opportunity was going to be key. We happened to come up with a turnover, and then our guys moved it down and got those three points.
As far as going for the field goal at the end, that kicker was like 14 for 16 or something crazy this year. They were going to need a field goal at some point, and so they figured because it was a nine-point game, they figure, why not get it now. I think if he would have made that field goal, it would have looked like a very, very sound decision. When you miss, you know, that put the pressure on them.
Q. We've seen Masoli play all year, and he hasn't had any kind of game this season like he had today. What did you guys do to keep him from having control of the game?
COACH TRESSEL: Well, I thought our guys prepared extremely well, and we were going to make sure that he wasn't running scot-free. He did get in the end zone, and he did break a couple in there. I thought he made a couple nice throws. But you know, we played our defense. Our kids prepared extremely hard on defense. We've been saying that all year long. They really put the time in and the effort in. They play together, and they're a tight bunch. They can put pressure on you, and if you can put pressure on the quarterback, especially in Oregon's system, as good as he is, if you can keep a little heat on him, it's going to give you a lot better chances, just looking at the stats, to hold them to 12 1st downs. I think that's what that says. That's incredible. So our defense got it done.
Q. Jim, as far as Terrelle Pryor, how close is he to reaching his potential, or is he just scratching the surface?
COACH TRESSEL: You know, we have ongoing discussions as to how we're progressing. We felt like that this was a pivotal game because it marked the end of the first half of his career and that we felt like we needed to progress a little bit more. I think we did. I think we have to watch the film and look at the whole situation just to see how close we are to where we want to go. But we have some very definitive goals as to how good we would like to be as a seem and how good he would like to be at his craft.
I thought tonight was a good step.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you again. Congratulations.
Questions for our student athletes.
Q. Offense was embarrassed on film this year where defenders were going one way and Masoli is going another way. What did you guys do to maintain the discipline to keep him and really the offense in check?
KURT COLEMAN: For us it was playing our assignment football. We felt like if we could keep someone in his face and make him make quick decisions it would play into our hands. They tried to throw some formations at us, and we felt like we could run with them from sideline to sideline.
Q. Terrelle, when you were recruited by the Buckeyes, you said you wanted to help them get over that little hump in the big games. Is this what happened tonight?
TERRELLE PRYOR: You know, help them out, I don't know how to answer. I'm just so glad to be a part of this team, how hard we work and where we want to be, and these seniors, we needed to come out and win for these seniors. The offense did a great job to help out the defense, because our defense, they've been carrying a lot this year sometimes, and we're just glad we got out there and tried to help them out as much as we could, and we did, pretty good.
Q. Terrelle, when you first saw the game plan about coming out passing like you did, what was your reaction to seeing that, and how would you rate your performance tonight?
TERRELLE PRYOR: I was very excited when Tressel said we were coming out winning it. We knew what we could do. Sometimes we have to run the ball and let the clock out because we have control of the game. That's what happened when Ohio is having them 60 yard pass games and stuff like that. I thank God, and my teammates on offense. Without the linemen blocking just so well they did today, it's crazy how well they did. You would recognize it.
Sometimes it's my fault when they get in because it's a protection and I have to know who's coming, but they really didn't let anyone get to me today. The receivers caught the ball well, what was it, 23 completions or something like that. We're just going to keep on getting better, and the linemen played great.
Q. Kurt, Oregon scores on the first possession in the second half. What was done or what was said to inspire defense to shut them out the rest of the way?
KURT COLEMAN: As soon as we came into halftime we knew they were going to get the ball back first. One of our big sticklers about this whole year has been not coming out in the second half and being table able to stop the offense. They had a long kickoff return which put them in good field possession.
We talked about we had a couple of 3rd downs, and I think they had a 4th down on that drive. That was kind of the biggest thing or the only knock out say on our defense this game is we couldn't get off the field at critical times. We went down and scored and came back and said it's a close game, it's a tie game and we've got to get back after that. It was 0-0 and we had to get back out on the field and pressure the QB and get after those guys.
Q. What do you think this victory does for the perception of Ohio State and maybe the Big Ten?
TERRELLE PRYOR: We needed it, just for the Big Ten as a whole in general, because I mean, I know we battled them all year long, but we're also playing for each other because it's a rep. We're playing for each other, and when schools like Penn State are playing in other Bowls. It's a reputation for us. It was huge for us to get over that hump and win this game, and we've just got to keep on winning.
Q. Kurt, kind of speaking for all of the seniors and the empty feeling after the last few years, what's it mean to play your final game and go out with a win?
KURT COLEMAN: It's been such a great win. These four years have been great, and I think after every loss that we've had at the end of every Bowl has been a learning experience, and last year we were so close to winning, and I think that was one of our biggest motivation factors going into the off-season. Throughout this Bowl preparation we're not going to win starting from the scout team all the way to the coaches. We put in the hard work, and it paid off, and I think everyone just let it all out on the field today.
Q. Being around for four years, you've been around a lot of big game losses. What do you think it means for this program going forward to finally get that big game win?
KURT COLEMAN: I've been saying all along that we're good enough and we can compete with anybody in the nation. There are some games that we just didn't execute, and I think you go back to National Championship games we just didn't execute well enough.
Today we played our best ball I think throughout the whole year. That's what you have to do. We came to show up in this game, and we have the talent to run with anybody, but today we showed up and we played our brand of ball.
Q. Terrelle, how close do you think you are to reaching your potential?
TERRELLE PRYOR: You know, really for myself it's probably the sky is the limit. Without my teammates, I mean, I can't do anything, without DeVier laying out four catches and catching the ball and Dane and the linemen just sweating, fighting for five seconds or what not, however long it takes to get the ball. Without them, I need everybody to work the ball with me. I need everybody to come together, and the defense, too, just keep playing how they always play and giving us a chance to get the ball.
We had some drives today, about 15 plays, 20-something plays, if we just keep on moving like that, I'll be successful, everyone on the team will be successful. It's not really about me. I'm just thankful to have the teammates I have (watch spelling of Dane).
Q. How long have you been waiting to kind of have a game like this?
TERRELLE PRYOR: I don't know, just -- it's hard to say, you know, because I thought I could have a game like this any time. We have a great defense that causes turnovers and causes the points on defense, and then our offense, we end up scoring, giving the ball to B sane or running down the field and we break another touchdown run or something like that. Sometimes we don't need to throw the ball.
I mean, I've gotten a lot better in this Bowl practice, a lot better, just in and out, smart, and just meeting with Coach Tressel all the time, about ten minutes a day, staying in the film room, studying the film a lot more, and it helps a lot.
Q. Do you sense that you've earned more of his trust?
TERRELLE PRYOR: I think you need to earn the head coach's trust and even your teammates' trust in throwing the ball. Throwing the ball is a big thing. I had ten turnovers this year, but it was somewhat of forcing stuff. You know, you think you're at a certain level and you can just sit in the pocket and throw the ball, but I was waiting a little bit too long, going through four or five reads, and that's where my picks were coming from. I had a meeting with Coach Tressel and he calmed me down, and he knew what I was going through because I was trying to force too many throws trying to prove to everybody that I'm a quarterback and I wasn't taking off when I could run and stuff like that. I need to use what I have, my feet, and try and throw the ball, so I need to use both.
Q. What was your mindset on that 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter? Obviously that was probably the drive of the game for you guys.
TERRELLE PRYOR: I mean, starts up front, linemen blocked well. They were tired, but they just had fire in their eyes. I was just telling our guys, keep on, keep on, we need to get on top here. I think we were up by two, and if we kept at it, I knew for a fact our defense would get motivation from us because of how hard they work. I knew they'd get motivation and stop them, which they did, and DeVier made a great catch.
We've been practicing this throw for a while, and I finally got it after watching all the tapes and film from Peyton Manning and stuff like that and trying to get the footwork and getting the ball out. It's was great execution on offense and as a whole.
Q. Two things, Terrelle, it looked early on that run that you came up limping a little bit. Was that bothering you for a while?
TERRELLE PRYOR: Yeah, I mean, it was bothering me. I had a little PCL injury, and I was just trying to hide it a little bit and trying to ignore it. But sometimes it shows up. People see it, sometimes I start limping and stuff like that. I mean, it hurt. That didn't matter. For these seniors, we wanted to send them out. It was four losses in a row, and we just wanted to send the seniors out with a win.
Q. The other question is were you frustrated at all by the way the offense kind of went into that running mode the last part of the season, and were you anxious to have a game where you could come out and pass?
TERRELLE PRYOR: Don't get me wrong, as a quarterback you don't like running the ball. It's kind of like being selfish, but you know, that's not what we need. This is a big-time organization, Ohio State, and if you have to run the ball to win the game, that's what you do. We have great running backs and they want the ball, too. So I had to get talked to a little bit. Whatever we need, I'll take it for a W. If we've got to throw the ball, like today when coach said the game plan is we're throwing, and we're throwing the ball, I'm going to try to the best of my ability to do it, run the ball and to a run fake and take it to a defender. That's what it's about, offense. We're just going to keep getting better and better. I just thank God I have the teammates like Kurt and the seniors, and I wish them all well.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, congratulations once again. Go celebrate with your team.
End of FastScripts