INDIANAPOLIS — Ohio State sent offensive lineman Thayer Munford, tight end Jeremy Ruckert, and defensive lineman Zach Harrison as the representatives from Ohio State for the 2021 Big Ten Media Days.
Below are comments from each player.
+ Health wise, Munford said he feels great, like he is playing at his peak. But there is still room for critique and improvement.
+ On the Michigan rivalry and Jim Harbaugh’s comments, Munford said all of the Ohio State players treat the rivalry the same. Even though they have won the last eight years, it is still the greatest rivalry and they all respect it.
+ On coming back for another year, Munford said it was a hard decision but he promised his mom he would get his degree before he left Ohio State. After long conversations, he decided that was the best route. The degree can take him a long way.
+ On name, image, and likeness, Munford said he is working with a car dealership and got a new car, he is also working with Roosters. It is nice to have cash in his pockets but he came from nothing and wants to give it back to his family and help them out.
+ The offensive line is going to do their job no matter what quarterback is playing. He believes they all have the potential to play like Justin Fields.
+ “The interior offensive line is wide open — who wants it more? Whoever want it, go get it.”
+ After the Alabama loss, they know where they need to be. Alabama had attention to detail and that’s what they need to do. “I give them credit, they got us. But I don’t think it’s going to happen again.”
+ On the playoff expansion, “I think it’s a good thing overall but at the same time how many games are college players going to play?” Munford said after 12 games, “bodies are hurting.”
+ Winning the whole thing is the focus this season. The focus is not on Clemson or Alabama. “It’s on us.” But they still have the score from the National Championship game on the wall in the facility.
+ He likes all of the quarterbacks and thinks they all throw a good ball.
+ Big Ten tight ends can do it all and he takes pride in that. He could have gone somewhere and been a one-dimensional player but he came to Ohio State to do it all and he is proud of that. He knew coming to Ohio State that he would have to improve different aspects of his game before even stepping on the field.
+ Mitch Rossi is the most underrated player on the team.
+ When he decided to come back he discussed getting more passes thrown his way but he would be happy with one pass or 60 as long as it gets them back to where they were last year.
+ Coach Day prepares them for games so well. Ruckert said he has learned so much about defenses by learning from Day. “They don’t just stress what plays we’re running, they give you the reason why.”
+ On two tight end sets vs talented receivers, Ruckert said it is based on personnel. But the tight ends and receivers don’t worry about that. They worry about the team. He just lets the ball find him.
+ He remembers more of his missed blocks than his favorite blocks.
+ Ruckert said not playing Michigan was tough last year because he knew he wouldn’t get the chance to play Michigan at home one last time.
+ The toughest thing about last year was practicing with so much uncertainty. They were on the way to Illinois when they found out the game was canceled. He is proud of how the team persevered.
+ He is taking name, image, and likeness opportunities slow. He is going into his last year and wants to stay focused. He doesn’t want to go full steam into it with a big season coming up. “I’m chasing a bigger check.”
+ He likes the name “Sack Harrison.”
+ Tyleik Williams is a name everybody is going to know.
+ He goes up against the best tackles everyday in practice. “There are no easy reps.”
+ On the excitement of playing with fans in the stands again, “you don’t really appreciate what you have until it’s gone.” The fans feed into their play on the field. It was a challenge bringing their own energy.
+ On the questions surrounding a young defense, Harrison said he is confident they have all the pieces they need to get back to the National Championship.
+ It feels great getting back to a routine.
+ On name, image, and likeness opportunities, Harrison said he wants to sign a lot of food deals. He loves food.
+ He is improving on flattening his edges and getting to the quarterback more as well as flexibility. That is what Coach Larry Johnson told him to work on.
+ On flying under the radar as a defensive lineman, “personally I kind of like it.” He likes just getting to work with his head down without distractions. “Just grinding and getting better everyday and just surprising people.”
+ Tyreke Smith has become a vocal leader on the defense.
+ He feels comfortable where he is at. “Now I can just play.” He is more relaxed, more at ease, and is ready to play ball.
+ On the motivating factor for this season, Harrison said the team is experienced and they know they have to do what they did last year plus more. That is their motivation.
+ The coaches don’t allow complacency.
+ They live the Michigan game every day. It is always on their mind. That is their number one goal, to beat Michigan. Nothing changes after Jim Harbaugh’s comments, they always respect the rivalry.
+ Harrison didn’t have a favorite college football team growing up, he just liked to watch good football games. He knew about the rivalry but didn’t know how serious it was until he got to Ohio State.
+ The team knows that they are the game circled on everybody’s calendar. They have to respect every opponent.