COLUMBUS — Ohio State co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich spoke with reporters on Tuesday. He was followed by fifth-year senior defensive tackle Jashon Cornell and sophomore quarterback Justin Fields. They talked about the season they are all having and the challenges ahead. Here are the highlights.
+ Justin Fields’ success this year isn’t entirely his doing. The offensive line has been giving him time and there are skill positions all around him. The ability to run the ball relates to his effectiveness and efficiency. The receivers are going a great job. Fields has done a great job of staying within our schemes and the system and staying within himself. When you are as talented as Fields is, it would be really easy for the ego to get involved, but he puts the team first. Those are the important things. His ability to be unselfish is what has given him so much success right now.
+ You try to rep adversity as much as you can in practice. If you made practices hard and you’re going against a really good defense, then when it happens in a game, it’s just reacting and you play faster. They are prepared, so they can play with great speed and anticipation.
+ Every day is another opportunity to learn more and refine more and get better. They’re not sitting back and enjoying the fruits of their labor. There is still a significant amount that can be added to the offense, and that’s on both Yurcich and Fields.
+ You find out as the season progresses how tough Justin Fields is. He showed that in the Wisconsin game when he took hits and he continues to bounce back and practices with soreness as well.
+ They need to continue to improve on the things that really matter when it comes to winning. That’s ball security and protections.
+ The difference between Big Ten defenses and Big XII defenses is you see more ‘drop 8’ defenses in the Big XII. So you see more coverage defeses in the Big XII than you see in the Big Ten.
+ Justin Fields is able to take something from a meeting out to the practice field in one rep. He can take words and turn them into works. They golfed in the summer and Fields had never golfed before and you’d never know it.
+ There’s no real concern about getting Justin Fields ready for cooler weather. They talk about the things they can control, and the weather is not one of those things. He’s got big hands and a strong grip, so the wet ball shouldn’t affect him as much as it would other quarterbacks.
+ Last year’s game drives this defense a lot. Maryland has a lot of players on the offensive side of the ball.
+ The feeling leaving the game last year was that it wasn’t good enough.
+ As a fifth-year guy, he helps the younger guys during the week with film.
+ They are having so much fun this year. The love they have for each other is special. The coaches have emphasized it since winter workouts. You don’t want to let your brother down, but at the same time you are allowed to have fun. What’s fun? “Just letting it loose.” But when it’s time for practice, they lock it in.
+ Chase Young gives everybody on the defensive line credit. They love him for that. The inside guys do the dirty work and Young acknowledges that. “Chase could be anywhere on the field and be dangerous, I believe.” He is probably the best player in college football.
+ He’s been here for a while, so he’s seen a lot of elite players at Ohio State. He’s not sure if Chase Young is No. 1.
+ The defense this year is about beating your man one-on-one. They can play base all game if they win their one-on-ones. It’s a credit to Larry Johnson helping the defensive line understand the concepts of the offenses they are going against.
+ The defensive coaches this year are letting them play this year, that’s the difference.
+ This team is treating things like they are an NFL team. They are all taking care of their bodies and being professional.
+ The reason he plays football is because it’s fun and it allows him to influence other people in a positive man
+ Fields has zero interest in the college football playoff rankings. They don’t matter and it won’t affect the Buckeyes right now. Not even interested. “I don’t care if they put us 25.”
+ They had a summer golf outing for the QBs. “I wasn’t as bad as I thought I would be.” He’ll pick it up more and more as he gets older.
+ He’s not surprised by his numbers and there is still room to grow. Ryan Day told him and KJ Hill that this offense hasn’t even hit its peak yet.
+ The weather doesn’t bother him.
+ Having the defense play the way it is helps the offense greatly. It allows them to keep the momentum going. It doesn’t take any pressure off of him because they are still trying to score on every single drive.
+ This was the first year he was more focused on the smarter play rather than the bigger play. This was the first year he has been focused on simply throwing the ball away and making the best decision for the team.
The assignments are a world different over-all for the inside guys on the defense. It doesn’t matter who Coach Johnson puts in, they are really playing great football. Those ridiculous “exotic” assignments traded in for a scheme that lets those monsters in the middle to chew up and spit out blockers like they’re fall off the bone prime ribs has been a huge key in freeing up Chase Young. Chase it dead right to share the credit for his monster season. The guy who doesn’t get the ink that others are getting is Jashon Cornell. He has played All American level defense. So has Davon Hamilton. BiBi, Tommy Togiai, Antwuan Jackson etc. have all played well, but when I rewind the games and focus position by position Jashon Cornell and Davon Hamilton stand out as just nasty mean gutting the heart of the opponents run game.
Your defensive knowledge is second to none.
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