Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison spoke with reporters on Tuesday to preview Saturday’s upcoming matchup against the Wisconsin Badgers. Also speaking with the media were linebacker Tuf Borland, defensive tackle Tommy Togiai, and receiver Chris Olave. Here are the highlights of everything that was said.
+ The Wisconsin offense is very well coached. They do an outstanding job. They recruit big players for their system, and they have the skill to go along with it.
+ Jack Coan gets better every week. He’s a very talented quarterback.
+ There was no hesitation in coming to work with Ryan Day. How has he evolved? “I don’t know how he’s evolved, he’s just good.” He’s the same guy every day. “He’s very, very true to his players.”
+ Baron Browning is an outstanding athlete and is very, very strong. He does what great linebackers are expected to do.
+ They don’t want to give up as many rushing yards week to week as they did last week. There were some miscommunication issues there and those will be corrected. The backbone of any great defense is stopping the run.
+ Wisconsin is effective in running the ball and executing the play-action passing game.
+ Every day Chase Young gets better and better, and that grows his confidence and his belief in what the coaches are teaching him.
+ When the Buckeyes have been up big and backups are getting to play, those players treat the game as if it is 0-0 and they play hard and they execute. They don’t look at them as backups.
+ The decision to play different guys at the Bullet has more to do with the packages and reflective skill sets as opposed to a depth chart.
+ This is the eighth game and Wisconsin is trying to take away everything the Buckeyes are trying to achieve.
+ The way this defense practices is very important. They practice hard, so they’re going to get better. Tommy Togiai is one of those guys, and then when you get the opportunity to play, you blossom. He works hard and keeps his mouth shut.
+ Jonathan Taylor ran a 10.4 and was a state champ in New Jersey in the 100m. He may not always look like that until you try to catch him. He’s a physical back. There are times he looks like he’s stopped, but then somehow comes out of the pile. You don’t rush for 2,000 yards without being an outstanding back.
+ It’s exciting to go against this Wisconsin offense. They have a good offensive line and a good back, so the game will come down to the line of scrimmage.
+ “I think probably everyone wanted [Wisconsin] to come in undefeated.” It won’t take away from how OSU prepares.
+ The last time he did 225 this summer he had 36 reps. Growing up, his dad was big on weights, so he’s always been good with that.
+ You can have all of the attributes in the world, but if your technique is not good, you won’t be a productive player.
+ Larry Johnson’s message to Togiai this season has been to “wreck the line of scrimmage” and push the line of scrimmage back.
+ Chase Young took a big leap as a leader from last year, not just on defense, but on the whole team. He always has energy. He practices hard and is a great example for everyone.
+ Everyone was excited when Dawand Jones went into the game and the team loved his block that sprung Master Teague. “He’s heavy.”
+ “I think this is a game for the D-line…”
+ Any time you play behind a great defensive line, it makes your job easier. They are disruptive and awesome.
+ Stopping the run is job one for the linebackers, but it’s nice to have the corners that OSU does back there to handle the play-action.
+ This is a game that Ohio State is treating as having something to prove. “Any time you get a chance to compete against a team like this, you’ve got to come out and show up.”
+ Jonathan Taylor as a pass catcher makes him even more dangerous. The last time they saw him he was just a first and second-down guy. “He’s a great player.”
+ He watched the Wisconsin-Illinois game. Illinois played hard and well. “I can’t speak for Wisconsin, but we’re going to get a team that’s angry this week.” “We’ve go to be up for the challenge.”
+ The loss doesn’t change the way OSU prepares for the Badgers.
+ The biggest difference between last year and this year with the defense? Schematically there are differences, but they all run to the ball and that’s one of the biggest differences.
+ Dealing with Wisconsin’s “Hippo Package” with two OL in the backfield, Borland says if they get in it, they get in it.
+ Borland left the NU game thinking there was room to improve with the running game.
+ Playing your keys is crucial in this game stopping the Wisconsin running game and not falling victim to their play-action.
+ Jonathan Taylor is such a patient runner. Defense has to be disciplined and play to their respective gaps. Taylor’s acceleration is excellent.
+ This is going to be a straight-ahead game, no dodging. Wisconsin is going to come after them, so Ohio State will have to go after the Badgers.
+ “Every team has big offensive linemen.” The defense needs to be good with their technique and engaging and disengaging.
+ Everybody in the receiver room knows you might have a big game one week to zero catches the next game. “We’re unselfish in the receiver room and we all support each other.”
+ If there is any frustrating in not catching the ball, they can use that in the run blocking game.
+ Ryan Day didn’t try to force Olave to sign with Ohio State, he wanted him to take all of his visits.
+ This is an attacking offense with skill at every position and the ability to find matchup issues.
+ Justin Fields isn’t much of a talker, so he was quiet early when he arrived, but he’s now a leader of the team.
+ The Michigan State game was one of his worst games. He didn’t even get targeted, so he went back and watched the film and he saw areas where he could have done better.
+ There’s no pressure on Ohio State this week. They prepare the same for every game.
+ Wisconsin has some different coverages and techniques they use. They were different between the Illinois and Michigan games.