Fall Football-Laden Quotebook
With the halfway point of the college football regular season fast approaching, it’s time to take a breather and look back on the quotes that almost slipped away in the first few weeks of the 2015 campaign.
Urban Meyer’s Ohio State squad went into the fall as the unanimous preseason No. 1 team in The Associated Press poll – the first time that’s ever happened – and after a 5-0 start the Buckeyes are still atop the polls.
Still, it hasn’t been the smoothest start for an OSU team looking to repeat as national champions. After an impressive win at Virginia Tech, the Buckeyes returned home and struggled offensively in wins over Hawai’i, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan.
However, the defense managed to put a touchdown on the board in each of those contests and the Silver Bullets posted a shutout in the home opener against the Rainbow Warriors.
In the initial Big Ten game of the season, OSU had to make a defensive stand in the final moments of a 34-27 win at Indiana.
The following is an OSU-football-only version of Quote Me:
Longtime Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer on the improvements Ohio State has made since losing to the Hokies last season – “I think the whole football team has made a lot of improvement, and that goes without saying. And that’s a credit to them. They really improved as the year went on last year – player-wise, coaching-wise – and they’re really a tough team right now.”
OSU quarterback Cardale Jones on Braxton Miller’s spin move and touchdown at Virginia Tech – “It was sick. I think mine was kind of better on the sideline, but it was crazy. After it broke I was like, ‘Wow, I’m about to run down there with him,’ and after I saw him spin I was like, ‘OK, he’s back.’ ”
Beamer on Urban Meyer’s last-second decision to start Jones over J.T. Barrett at QB – “It looked like to me they chose the right one. I thought he was exceptional. He made some good throws and he hurt us running, too.”
Jalin Marshall, Ohio State sophomore H-back, on missing the season opener because of a one-game suspension – “It was tough. I’m very proud of all of the guys that played last week. They stepped up and played their game. It was a great experience for them and a humbling experience for me.”
Cornerback Gareon Conley on his first career interception vs. Hawaii – “If the ball is in the air, I have to go get it. That’s my ball. It’s always a confidence boost when you get a pick. It just drives you to get more. I always want more.”
Meyer on Vonn Bell’s scoop and score in the 38-0 win over UH – “Great player. Really good tackler. We’re tackling pretty good on defense. And Vonn Bell caught me eye.”
Co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash on the Buckeye defenders pitching a shutout – “They believe in themselves, they believe in each other, they believe in us as coaches, they believe in how we train them and coach them and the plan that we put together, and they go out and execute it. They did that at a high level today.”
Hawaii QB Max Wittek on playing in Ohio Stadium – “This is one of the top college atmospheres for a football game that there is. Was it everything we expected? Yeah. We knew that there would be a loud crowd. We knew it was going be tough to hear and we had to go on a silent cadence.”
Co-captain Taylor Decker on OSU holding off Northern Illinois, 20-13 – “No disrespect to our opponents but I think we should be winning bigger just because we have the players for it. We have the capability to play a lot better than we are and underachieving is not fun.”
Co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell on what sets Bell apart – “It’s that little swagger thing that everybody talks about. Not everybody truly, deep down inside has it. It’s not because of the hair, it’s not because of the things he says. It’s who he is. He’s one of those guys who always has that belief, that confidence, and he’s in a leadership role now.”
Meyer on constantly guarding against complacency – “I experienced it and witnessed it and it’s real, and not just … how many Super Bowl teams have a great year after they win the Super Bowl? How many national champions have a great year after a national championship year? And it’s tough because there are so many outside influences that can get in and saturate your program and cause damage. But we’ve watched it very closely, and to answer your question, I don’t feel it at all.”
Senior linebacker Joshua Perry on wearing a Kikkoman T-shirt – “That’s my biggest condiment, honestly. I have a bottle of soy sauce in the refrigerator at the Woody, and I keep a bottle of soy sauce in my bedroom in case I’m eating fried rice up there. I keep one in my refrigerator in my apartment, too, and I think I have one in my locker. I’m not exaggerating. I could put soy sauce on anything.”
Defensive lineman Tommy Schutt on several upcoming night games on the schedule – “It’s a long day for those 8 o’clock games. We struggle sometimes keeping on task with the long meetings and walkthroughs but we get our time off during the day also. It’s something I think we’ve done a great job of the last couple years, just staying focused.”
Jones on avoiding contact with the OSU defense in practice – “They think I wear a black jersey so they can’t hit me. I wear a black jersey to keep me off of them.”
Tight end Nick Vannett on Meyer connecting the program to the United States military through metaphor and actual relationship – “It means a lot. We never try to compare ourselves to them because it wouldn’t be fair to do that. We see ourselves as a level below that, but I love how he uses that and applies it to us because we have to get ready to go to war out there and fight with our brothers next to us, and that’s what they do. It’s no necessarily do you hate your opponent but you do it because of what’s behind you and the people next to you. It hits home.”