COLUMBUS – Ohio State announced it’s captains for the 2020 season on Tuesday and the list includes two returning captains, linebacker Tuf Borland and defensive end Jonathon Cooper and five first-time captains, quarterback Justin Fields, offensive linemen Wyatt Davis and Josh Myers, linebacker Justin Hilliard, and cornerback Shaun Wade.
A conference call was held with the captains on Tuesday to answer questions from reporters. Here’s a summary of what was said from the players on the defensive side of the ball.
+ Coach Day and the coaching staff have been transparent about what this season is going to look like. They know that it is going to look different. They know that they can’t be around other students, they have to keep their distance and keep within each other.
+ The team has been doing a good job at being able to adapt to changes. They had to quarantine for two weeks a while ago but they were able to get back and adapt. Right now they have a great system and the training staff has created a safe environment.
+ He is confident that there will be a season. They can’t control everything but they are doing their parts to avoid anyone on the team getting the coronavirus.
+ As leaders they have to hold themselves accountable and the younger guys maybe need to realize they can’t have a normal college lifestyle in order to have a safe season. He’s confident they will be able to adapt to it.
+ On his whole career thus far, Hilliard said sometimes he has to sit and reflect on his years here at Ohio State. Every year has been awesome for him, he has had the time of his life.
+ It has been hard to teach the freshman what is about to come. Sometimes in spring ball they get a taste of it but the younger guys have to realize what’s about to come when the season does take place. It’s a challenge and they’ve been doing a great job so far.
+ Obviously no one on the team wants to get the virus, of course there is a bit of concern. People don’t want to get it and they are doing everything in their power not to.
+ It’s hard to workout in a mask. Some guys are okay with it but for him personally, he struggles with it. But if he has to then he will adapt. The masks aren’t pleasant.
+ On the decision to come back for another year, Wade said he doesn’t regret that decision and he has had no thoughts on opting-out of the season.
+ They are looking forward to playing whoever they play. He is strictly focused on camp.
+ He leads more by example and by working hard. Wade said he isn’t a very vocal leader but he takes a lot of pride in being selected and he is really looking forward to the season.
+ The whole DB unit has been impressing him. “The secondary is so deep this year it’s incredible. You can rotate the whole game and there will be no fall off.”
+ A lot of different people can play slot corner. Marcus Williamson looks really good right now. Coach Coombs has mentioned rotating corners.
+ The leaders of the defense last year were all very different leaders and they all brought different things to the table. This year, he is now the leader with the most experience in the DB unit.
+ This defense is very special. Coach Kerry Coombs recruited him and he likes being under him again. The defense looks good right now. They haven’t missed a beat.
+ A few players have in-person classes and will have to be around other students. They have to distance themselves from them and be smart about who they are around. He thinks it is a challenge and it’s different. They have to sacrifice being around other students to keep themselves safe.
+ Across the country a lot of student athletes are speaking out and he can only speak to his beliefs and background but he feels like his concerns are being listened to and answered here at Ohio State. He feels safe and good about everything. But across the country, some players may not feel like that.
+ Emotionally he feels like the team being apart for a long time was hard but it’s great to be around them and feel the energy and workout together again and that’s really helping everybody’s mental health. Being around other people is great.
+ On playing the Michigan game, Cooper said the date does not matter, as long as they get to play them.
+ On not having the senior season like he expected and now COVID-19, Cooper said he would be lying if he said he isn’t frustrated obviously with dealing with this but he can’t focus on dealing with something he can’t control. They will cross every bridge when they get to it. He is focused on getting better every day and is putting all of his energy on that.
+ Throughout the process they have been listening closely to the protocols and everything has been spaced out, they’ve been masked while doing drills, and everything has been sanitized regularly. The flow of practice may be different because of the protocols and that’s the biggest difference he expects in this fall camp.
+ Every year they have the goal to win the National Championship. Whatever the future brings they will be ready but they are focused on handling their business every week.
+ On joining J.T. Barrett as the only three-time captain in Ohio State history, Borland said he is humbled and honored to be with a guy like J.T. who was an incredible leader. He has a huge responsibility and all eyes are on him now every day.
+ Guys have been trying on different helmets and face shields and masks and it’s going to come down to personal preference and their level of comfort and also abiding by whatever protocols are in place.