Catching Up On Coaches Comments
Sunday is Media Day for the Ohio State football team, which means the Buckeyes will get a very temporary respite from the grind of preseason camp and reporters will be scurrying around to find that magic quote.
Especially important is gathering information and insight from the assistant coaches, and they will be made available as well.
So before SRU fills up another recorder, we felt it was time to clean out some of the leftovers from the offseason regarding the coaching staff’s view of the football team.
Offensive line coach Ed Warinner on why he is encouraged by the play of former defensive lineman Chase Farris – “He’s very competitive, he goes hard for 4-6 seconds. He has a high motor, and he’s strong and powerful. We just have to teach him the position. That’s the only thing he lacks is just experience in there and understanding how things work there.”
Warinner on if coaching offensive linemen at Ohio State is any different than his previous stint in the Big Ten – “I don’t see any significant differences other than there are more and more teams in the shotgun running spread offenses. So I see that more. That wasn’t as common as before. When I was at Illinois in 2005 and 2006, Illinois was one of the few spread teams in the Big Ten and I think there’s just more and more of that going on. But I don’t see anything specifically different in how it’s called (by referees). It has evolved, so I’m sure it’s different than it was eight years ago or 10 years ago, but I don’t think it’s that much different.”
Warinner on his aims with recruiting to his group – “We would try to shoot for a guy who has a little bit more athleticism because if you’re going to be in the shotgun and you’re going to pass, you tend to get wider rush defensive ends, so they have to be able to move around in space a little bit better. So from that aspect, yeah, we would probably look for a guy with a little bit more foot quickness and ability to change direction in our tackles than we did 10 years ago.”
Wide receivers coach Zach Smith on the uniqueness o playing wideout – “If you run the wrong route or you don’t get open or you don’t catch the ball, it’s not like people don’t notice. It’s center stage, right in front of you, so to develop the confidence you have to be successful in those opportunities. But that spotlight on you can also rapidly increase your confidence because everyone does see you make the play and all of a sudden your confidence skyrockets. It’s kind of gift and a curse, I guess.”
Smith on the emergence of senior Chris Fields – “Chris was a flash-in-the-pan type of guy last year. He would show you something that you loved and the next play he would let you down, so it was kind of an emotional roller coaster with his performance. He came into this spring more committed and had a better understanding and was more confident that he could do those things consistently. I felt like he was going to be more consistent and make those plays that we needed him to, but we needed to see it, and he did it. In 15 practices (in the spring), he did what he needed to do.”
Smith on Fields coming to life around the middle of last season – “I saw a light come on, but at that point it wasn’t tryout time. So when the season ended is when he clicked into action. He needed to go show everyone so the confidence and the trust could be developed to where we could count on him and he’s one of our guys.”
Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tom Herman on the improvement in the passing game – “I’m not frightened to call a pass play anymore. It literally sent shivers down my spine at times last year. Now, are we where we need to be? Absolutely not. But at least as a play caller I don’t lay awake at night with night sweats saying, ‘Oh, my God, I’m going to have to call a pass tomorrow.’ ”
Herman on teaching QB Braxton Miller to trust the system and not get happy feet in the pocket – “I think he’s at his best when he’s confident that he knows where guys are going to be. Throwing and catching the football is really, really hard because of everything the defense can do, so the more reps he can get over and over and over again putting himself in different scenarios vs. different defenses, I think the calmer we’ll see his feet.”
Herman on whether Miller could even survey the field last year – “To say he had just a void of understanding would not be the truth. I think he would be the first to admit that he wasn’t the best at that. But he’s pretty good. So it is pretty remarkable that he was able to take over games the way that he did and really kind of operate at that rudimentary level of understanding. So it will be exciting to see in the next couple years how much progress he makes.”
Herman on the difficulty and demands of the position – “The things that those guys have to see standing back there and the decisions that they have to make in 1.5 to 2.2 seconds, it’s mind-boggling. It’s hard to wrap your brain around every single time”
Herman on the emerging leaders of the offense – “(Corey) Linsley is really good – really, really good – as the center should be. (Jeff) Heurerman can be. We need to keep working on that. I think Philly Brown can be but he’s not there yet. Those two would be the next two in line to kind of make that move.”
Herman on young QB J.T Barrett – “Super smart guy. A really refreshing guy. I’ve coached a lot of coaches’ kids and he is not like a coach’s kid. He’s not. But he’s very intelligent and understands the game. You’re still kind of nervous about what you’re going to get physically.”
Defensive coordinator Luke Fickell on how to keep the Buckeyes hungry coming off undefeated season – “I think it starts with us as coaches. When good things happen, it’s easier for people to believe in them. It’s just like seeing. When you see something, it’s a little bit easier to believe in it. When something works, you don’t question it as much. But we have to remember the criticism is not what’s hard. It’s the success when you have it and can you continue to have it. Are you going to have the same work ethic and all of those things when they’re telling you how good your are.”
Safeties coach Everett Withers on the importance of putting seniors Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett in mentoring roles – “I think our seniors understand we’re going to need everyone and if we don’t develop and help develop some of the younger guys we’re not going to be very good. I think they’re ready to take that on this summer as a challenge to do that.”
Withers, who is also co-coordinator, on Ohio State’s ability to change from 4-2-5 and 3-3-5 defensive looks when in nickel – “We’re able to rush four out of it, we’re able to rush three out of it, and we’re able to bring pressure out of it, so it’s kind of a multiple package. It gives us the ability to cover more and also pressure more.”
Withers on freshman phenom Vonn Bell – “He’s an athletic guy. He’s got really good ball skills. I think his development in the scheme will be crucial. He’s a good tackler. During the recruiting process one of the things I really liked about him was his range. He can run, he can cover ground, he plays well with the ball in the air, he understands angles. Hopefully he can fit and maybe help us at some of those sub packages like nickel, dime and maybe even at the free safety position.”
Cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs on the critical importance of offseason development – “If we’re not any better in August than we are today then we’ve lost a golden opportunity. If we continue to grow and enhance and improve, if we continue to stay healthy and we all buy in to what the head coach is selling, I don’t think there’s any question we can be a really, really good football team.”