COLUMBUS — Ohio State players Tuf Borland, Jordan Fuller, Pete Werner, Wyatt Davis, and Chris Olave spoke with reporters on Tuesday in the lead-up to the Michigan game. They answered questions about changes to Michigan from last year, favorite memories and moments, and what this week means to the players. Here are the highlights.
+ “If it’s a bad weather game, that’s good for the defense. I’m not really worried about the weather.” Michigan has good backs.
+ This Michigan Week is no different than it was under Urban Meyer. The signs and photos are still here and “we train for it all year long.”
+ Everything gets ramped up this week.
+ “It’s ingrained in you the moment you walk on this campus.”
+ Coming from out of state, you have no idea what the rivalry means until you play in it.
+ Schematically, Michigan has big bodies and multiple tight ends, but they also have playmakers on the perimeter. There are multiple ways they can attack the defense. They have some RPOs, but OSU’s defense does a good job of eliminating those plays.
+ The 2016 game sticks out to him in terms of most distinct memories in this game.
+ There is a high level of trust among teammates that they will be where they need to be and get the job done.
+ It’s awesome when the entire linebacker room makes plays like they did last week and the week before. The entire defense is close, no matter the unit.
+ There’s no secret that this is going to be a tough game. The whole season comes down to this game.
+ “Chase is a great player. That’s no secret. He’s going to make plays. He makes everybody’s jobs easier.”
+ You could see as a true freshman last year how talented Sevyn Banks was, but now he’s able to finish and he can’t wait to see Banks grow as a player.
+ Michigan’s receivers will provide a challenge. They’re a very talented group. “We’ll definitely have our hands full with them.”
+ Michigan’s receivers can do it all. They have hands, but can do something after the catch as well. They can attack you in every way.
+ Being the last line of defense is something he takes pride in. It’s not the favorite position to be in, but it’s something that has to be done. “I think I’ve done a pretty good job of it.”
+ Michigan’s offense is a bit different. He’s mostly seen just the pass stuff so far.
+ There is more of a sense of confidence this year because they’ve played well. That also comes with preparation.
+ Shea Patterson has a strong, strong arm and can extend plays.
+ It’s always in the back of your mind how important this game is.
+ He’s been working on catching the ball but probably needs to work on some congested catches.
+ He didn’t know much about the rivalry coming from Indiana, but it doesn’t take long.
+ This week is a different way of life. You walk differently.
+ You have to work harder and prepare harder than Michigan. They have beaten UM with preparation before.
+ The players are confident in the game plan every week and they know what they’re doing.
+ There’s so much that goes into this game. “The most physical team is going to win this game.” The more physical team is going to be able run the ball as well.
+ He can tell what this game means to Greg Mattison and Al Washington. They’ve had this game marked on their calendars and they have something to prove. Werner has gotten so much better player for those two. “They talk to you more in the game.” In years past, they didn’t have that in-game communication like they do now.
+ The Curtis Samuel game-winner over Michigan in 2016 is one of the things that brought him here. He was visiting for that game. He wasn’t really a fan of a particular school growing up in Indiana.
+ The key to defending the RPO? “We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing.”
+ Last week may have been his best game.
+ You can see how quarterbacks get affected by Chase Young every week before, during, and after the snap.
+ It was a great feeling to have a big PBU last year against Michigan.
+ The refs got the spot correct in 2016 per Werner.
+ Being named the Player of the Game for the Penn State game means he was doing something right. Greg Studrawa challenges his players to win those awards with a “why not you” thought process.
+ It would be exciting to play in some rough weather because they love to run the ball. The game will still come down to the preparation before the game. The offensive line also knows the game is up to them.
+ He didn’t understand the rivalry when he first arrived. He was on a recruiting visit with a blue tanktop and a host told him to wear a jacket. Then Urban Meyer found out and advised him not to ever do that again.
+ “If you’re successful running the ball, you’re basically controlling the game.”
+ They were testing the waters at the start of the game last week by running the ball. “We felt the momentum shifting.” Penn State was getting tired and it was working out, “And it also just kind of sends a message.”
+ Justin Fields took some shots last week and he expects that to change this week.
+ How many blue clothes do you have now? “I burned it all.”
+ Davis had to go in for a moment against Michigan last year. “It was a little taste.” Now he’s even more hungry to play in this game. “You could just feel the rivalry.”
+ The outside zone play has been successful for them because they have worked hard on it and because JK Dobbins is really good.
+ The weather won’t have too much affect. “It’s nothing I’m really worried about.”
+ He prefers playing against the best. The games where it can come down to 1-on-1 blocks. “We look very forward to the challenge.”
+ He hasn’t asked around about playing at Ann Arbor and his teammates haven’t talked to him about it yet.
+ The game last year? “I believe it changed my career.” It sparked his confidence.
+ At the time he didn’t really know how big his touchdowns were. He was just playing football.
+ He enjoys battling defensive backs for jump balls. “I like those jump balls when Justin throws it up because somebody has to come down with it.”
+ “I look at myself as a big target.”
+ The first day he stepped on campus he started to understand the rivalry better. “Everybody was talking about it.”
+ He came to Ohio State to play against the best, so he believes big games bring out his best.
+ Justin Fields’ ability to get the ball downfield has improved from the start of the season. He has shown his toughness and grit more and more as well.
+ He had no sense at all that the Michigan game could be his coming out party.