Live Updates from Greg Mattison, Tony Alford, Justin Fields, More

Tony Alford Ohio State Buckeyes Running Backs Coach

COLUMBUS — Ohio State assistant coaches Greg Mattison and Tony Alford will speak with reporters on Tuesday. They are expected to talk about last week’s game and the test ahead this week. They will also answer questions about their respective position groups. Following that, quarterback Justin Fields, Pete Werner, Brendon White, and KJ Hill will speak with reporters. Refresh for updates once interviews get underway.

Pete Werner

+ The way the defense is playing right now is what makes all of the offseason work worth it. This is why they do it. Everything ties together and it all has a purpose.

+ There was a time when he had a little trepidation when he heard about the scheme change and how much he would play this season.

+ Playing Indiana is always special. He’ll have a bunch of family there. He had season tickets as a kid at Indiana, so he grew up going to this game. Indiana was late on recruiting him because he had an injury in high school.

+ What does the defense need to do better? “Just keep climbing that ladder.” Improve on the things they are doing. The defense isn’t yet good enough to do everything they want to do.

+ It’s great playing behind this defensive line. They lead the defense and set the standard for the younger guys.

+ His ability to have fun in this defense comes from everybody making plays. When you see somebody make a great play, it fires everybody up. With this scheme, they are producing better and at a higher level, so that’s fun.

+ He and Brendon White complement each other and are learning from each other. They know their roles and snaps could change from week to week. The best person will be out there to do the job.

+ His favorite aspect of this defense is that they all run to the ball and don’t miss tackles and don’t give up big plays. They get off the field on third downs, and they weren’t doing that enough last year.

+ He believes he is a Sam not a Bullet. This role fits him better than the role he had last year. He feels he’s a better player in all facets than last year, so that helps as well.

+ He still has some DB skills, but the footwork is much different than at linebacker. He’s still getting a feel for it.

+ Asked about the plays where he rotates to a deep safety, he said it’s a weird feeling, “but I like it.” It takes him back to his freshman and sophomore years of high school. The coaches trust him with that and it’s worked out for him.

Brendon White

+ This week could be the kind of game that sees Brendon White on the field a lot more.

+ There are some frustrations at times when you don’t play as much as you want, but if he is worried about not playing, then he’s being selfish and not helping the brotherhood.

+ The talent is definitely there on defense. It has showed in the past two games. There are no missed tackles and no big plays. When you allow an athlete to just go play ball, plays get made.

+ His favorite aspect of this defense is they have a swagger to them and they have confidence that they didn’t have last year.

+ It’s always a tough game against Indiana. The Hoosiers are going to swing hard, but the Buckeyes have to swing harder.

+ There has been a big focus on running to the ball — all 11 hats. That has had an impact on this defense and eliminates big plays.

+ Not playing as much this year is due to the matchups. His job is to make plays when he’s out there. All that matters to him is getting the win, whether he plays or not.

+ Pete Werner has been playing this position since he’s been here, so he’s helped White with the linebacker stuff, and White helps Werner with the safety stuff.

KJ Hill

+ What did he learn from Purdue and Iowa? Things didn’t go right in both of those games. Basically, they just didn’t execute. “It’s really unexplainable because we prepare the same every week.”

+ He talked about being across from the Cincinnati player who was having a seizure during the middle of the play. He continued running the play, but he was shook up because he knew what a seizure looks like because his grandmother had seizures. He said he was trying to get someone’s attention during the play.

+ FAU and UC zoned on defense to keep OSU from running mesh routes over the middle. Those defenses knew better than to run man against them.

+ They’re still running the same plays as last year rather than 2017, but now they have a quarterback running this offense who can run it.

+ They talked about scramble drills last week before the game and had some success, but they’ll keep working on it.

+ Nothing he’s seen from Justin Fields this season has surprised him. They saw it in spring and preseason. Fields is still adjusting to a leadership role, but he’s adapting to it. He has the team’s trust.

+ Austin Mack has a sense of urgency this year because this is his last season. He doesn’t take plays off.

Justin Fields

+ Day tells him “we can’t win every play,” so sometimes it’s okay to throw the ball away and go to second-and-10.

+ The defense is talented and it all starts with Chase Young. Going against them in the offseason makes things easier for him on Saturdays.

+ “I think I’ve done a great job preparing.” The entire team has and it’s paying off for everyone.

+ He felt more confident going into week two. The more confidence a player has, the better he’ll play. He won’t change his approach going on the road.

+ Having Fields’ ability to run opens up JK Dobbins’ a bit and they can complement each other, especially when the passing game is clicking.

+ The sack he took last week “was dumb.” He took way too long. “That’s definitely on me.” He just has to get rid of the ball quicker. “I have to have better awareness and just get the ball out quicker.”

+ There’s no reason to talk trash to a team you’re blowing out, so he grabbed Binjimen Victor at one point late when he was talking trash to a UC defensive back.

+ He’s not focused on stats, he’s focused on wins. “As long as we get the dub, that’s all that matters.”

+ He feels a little sore, but not as sore as the first week. His body is getting used to it now.

+ He hasn’t really talked to Dwayne Haskins this season because they’re both busy.

Greg Mattison

+ The snaps for the Bullet and the Sam are dependent on the opponent and what they are running against the OSU defense. Tempo also affects those numbers.

+ Asked how talented this defense is, Mattison said he was impressed the first time he saw them in the weight room. They have the opportunity to be what they want to be, but every week you have to be hungrier. “You can’t have a let down.”

+ When you have players who have bought in and wants to be a part of success, they can have smaller roles they can do and take pride in and work hard on. This defense has done a great job of that, and they stay ready to go in with whatever package they specialize in. Players aren’t complaining about the lack of playing time because they trust each other to help this team win and they know the guy behind them can keep things going while they are out.

+ When you go on the road, it’s “you guys.” It’s a small group and you’ve really got to trust each other. You’re walking into an alley.

+ Indiana is a very, very good football team. Indiana is always well coached and they play hard. “They are going to be a very big test.” They have a mobile quarterback and they’re not afraid to spread it out. They also run tempo, so the defense is going to have to keep up.

+ The run defense is taking great pride in their technique and they’re playing hard. They are running to the football and play with great effort. When you do that, your missed tackles and big plays go down. “Our guys have bought into that.”

+ The dual-threat college quarterback poses more problems than pocket passers. When you have a guy that can scramble, it affects everybody on the defense. When you have a pocket passer, you look at the secondary and hope they can hold up. Why is it different in the NFL? Because they pay quarterbacks a lot of money and they have to protect their investments.

+ Where can they get better? Every player can get better on his technique.

+ Mattison doesn’t care what happened before on defense. He only cares about what he saw in camp and in practices and in workouts. “I don’t know what it was before. It doesn’t matter. I know what I see every day.”

+ When you have four guys who can rush the passer, then it becomes a pick your poison situation. The offense can double whoever they want, but that won’t stop the pass rush.

+ It’s great having Chase Young, and not just him. The guys on the back end have been great as well. The Tuf Borland interception was a great play by Shaun Wade. Yes, it’s fun having Chase Young, but it’s fun looking up and down the line. The linebackers have been great too. And everybody knows they can better.

+ How much the Bullet plays is dependent on the opponent. Brendon White knows that. He trusts the system and he knows that’s what this defense does.

+ It’s great working at a place where the special teams is as important as the offense and defense, and when they pin teams inside the 10-yard line, it makes things great for the defense.

+ He doesn’t know if it’s harder to find elite defensive linemen. You can always find them. It’s what happens when they get here, and that’s a tribute to Larry Johnson. It’s not about finding players. That’s a given. It’s what you do when they get here.

Tony Alford

+ This year, Dobbins is finishing runs better. He’s stronger. He blocks better now than he did as a freshman. Having JT Barrett at quarterback in 2017 helped Dobbins some as well. Hopefully Fields and Dobbins can get to that level, but the offense is different than it was back then.

+ The no. 2 RB is very situational because Demario McCall and Master Teague.

+ Demario McCall is a guy who can be a matchup problem, so they have to find where those matchup issues are and can be, and then go to work on those and put him in situations that are conducive to him and the offense.

+ The freshman running backs “are gonna be really good players here.” They’re hungry to learn. They are grasping the attention to detail and how necessary it is every day.

+ If you’re competitive, it hurts and bothers you when you lose out on recruits. “I don’t like to lose. So does it bother me? Hell yeah it bothers me.”

+ It is critical that the RBs hold up in the blocking game more this year with a quarterback who can extend plays. The backs have allowed two big hits on their quarterback this year and Alford isn’t happy about that.

+ Indiana has played Ohio State very well over the last few years. It will take a great week of practice.

+ The Cincinnati game was far from flawless. “We’re not where we need to be.” You find things you need to be better at and you go right back to work. And you also enhance what you did well. That’s everybody in the program.

+ Running back recruiting is going fine.

+ Master Teague runs really hard and he attacks defenders. They are becoming more and more comfortable with him and he is earning himself more playing time.

+ The Dobbins block on Justin Fields’ touchdown run carries more weight than the 60-yard run because nobody touched him on the run. Blocking like that takes dedication.

+ JK Dobbins still has some improving to do in his all-around game like everyone else.