As always, these are my best attempt to keep up with what is being said in real time. They are not exact quotes. If something needs to be clarified, let me know in the comments and I will listen back to the audio and get exact wording.
Asked about traveling for the first time and the testing and protocols - how did it go?
I think everything went as we expected. It wasn’t that difficult. The weirdest thing was no fans in the stadium.
There are lots of reports of [Wisconsin QB] Graham Mertz having a positive test - how does that change things?
I don’t think it will change things for us. I hope for their sake he is okay and for his health he is okay. We’ve had false positives here and I hope that is what it is for him. We’ll prepare to play him.
How do you feel about some of the young guys in the secondary that might be forced into more playing time with Cam Taylor-Britt and Deontai Williams suspended for the first half? Have you talked to the league about the penalties?
I don’t want to talk about discussion with officials in the league yet, I’m waiting to hear back. I don’t think there is an appeal process so I think we’re stuck with that [the suspensions]. We need to get some of those young guys ready anyway...they have to grow up and some will have to do it this week.
It seemed like that [two] QB system worked - it seemed comfortable - what do you attribute that to?
I attribute it to having two good players that are good people and good friends. They are rooting for each other. Having them both on the field gets some of our best players out there.
They both deserve to play, I’ve said that. If we can get both out there, we’ll do it.
What is the importance of the team honoring George Flippin - any importance as being part of the Big Ten United campaign?
Anything we can do as a football team to be closer together. And anything we can do as a football team to be an example. Football locker rooms are great places, people from all over come together...society should mirror that. I didn’t know much about George Flippin before this year, I’d encourage our fans to read about him.
Wisconsin has always been good at filling holes from graduation, injury other reason. What do you see about their program that allows them to plug and play?
They do a good job developing, they do a good job recruiting. They know who they are on both sides of the ball and that is the biggest factor...they got a good system on both sides of the ball...they wait their turn and when they get their shot, they are ready to go...that’s where we’re trying to get to a little bit...you don’t want to be relying on young players, you want to have a lot of juniors and seniors ready to go.
You use your quarterbacks in the run game but both turned it over. Will that change how you use them?
I don’t remember ever having an issue with that...someone will probably look back at stats...maybe Makenzie Milton was a bit inconsistent with the ball at first... but if we use our QBs like a running back they have to learn how to hold on to the ball.
You were excited about the 2019 recruiting class - that group played a lot of football Saturday - should they have played more last year? You stayed patient and it payed off Saturday, how do you feel about that group now?
It is that class and this past class, I think we’ve done a good job bringing talent in here. It is hard to play as a freshman in the Big Ten it is a physical league and it makes a difference to play as a 21-22 year old vs an 18-19 year old...It takes a while to develop those guys not just Xs and Os but also physically. A lot of guys played the first time on Saturday. We’ll have more this Saturday.
There were moments you probably wanted to play some of them more last year - how did you manage that and stay patient?
We’re going to play guys when they are ready. It has been different reasons for each guy. Some are injuries, some are ready physically, but need to keep learning. We as coaches need to work with them and bring them along.
How did you see the defensive front 7 hold up physically and assignment-wise. how is that task different vs Wisconsin?
I was pleased. We were still missing a couple pieces we need to get everyone healthy. I feel like we held up at the point of attack better. Quite a few yards came on scrambles and we gotta do a better job seeing that and defending that. Wisconsin’s run game is completely different than Ohio State’s, we’ll see two tight ends, multiple backs. We gotta be sure to not bite on play action and the be ready for the way they play
A lot of home opener traditions will not be there. How will you get used to playing without all that?
I’m going to miss seeing little kids in the tunnel walk - there are always little kids with a look on their faces much like the one I had a little kid when I came here to watch games...watch the Scoring Explosion...I know we’d sell out if the fans could be there. We’ll miss them.
Now that you had time to look at film. How do you assess the o-line?
For the most part I thought we played well. We ran it well against a good team. A couple of pass protections that we whiffed...another one some kids missed a signal and we left a tight end alone. Jaimes at left tackle played well and was probably the anchor. Guys across the board played well.
We didn’t go as fast as normally do, so the rotation wasn’t as big. But when we get to 80 or 90 snaps, we’ll need a rotation. Ethan Pieper, Trent Hixon, Will Farniok, Turner Corocoran all can play.
Ryan Day said he apologized for not taking a knee there at the end...
I’m not going to comment on that, we’re focused on Wisconsin. If we want the score to be different, we gotta play better.
Tight end - how do you feel about that group if Jack Stoll has to miss some time?
We feel good about our depth there. We’re still evaluating Jack and will get him back as quick as we can.
This could be good news that Stoll’s knee injury isn’t as serious as it looked at the time.
When you evaluated wide receiver play - how was the blocking at receiver and tight ends compared to the average level last year. How much does that dictate who gets reps at WR?
We have a saying - “no block, no rock”. They earn their touches by doing their job in the run game. We’re better at receiver now than any time since I’ve been here. Stanley Morgan was a good player and we’ve missed him since he left. We need to get guys downfield faster and more open and back people [defenses] up a little bit to make it easier on our run game. We have the guys to do it, as coaches, we need to get it done.
Several players met with the media too. To a person, they asked about how they got themselves energized for the game with no crowd. To a person, they answered that they were so excited to play, that they didn’t need a crowd. There were variations of “we were playing a top team in Ohio State, that should get you excited” and “if we can’t bring the energy ourselves, we shouldn’t be playing”.
Several were asked about Wisconsin’s win streak and what the Huskers have to do to break through. The answers were pretty similar there too - fix our own mistakes, be aggressive, pay attention to details, be on our assignments...
When you watched the tape, how did you feel the d line played and wat has to happen going forward?
Run-game wise, we were pretty solid up front...still a few things technique wise we have to get better at. Pass-rush wise, we definitely need more production there.
How did you think the rotation went - what did you think of a couple of the young guys, Ty Robinson, Casey Rogers, Keem Green?
The game went pretty slow with all the timeouts, so the rotation wasn’t a big deal. But it helped those guys get their feet wet. Now they’re ready to build on their performance.
I took this quote to mean that their conditioning was such that they didn’t need to rotate to rest people but they rotated to get reps for people. If so that is a step forward in my eyes.
You had success running the ball - what has allowed you to do that?
Having that attack mindset. going out and hitting them first. Staying on our blocks and finishing our blocks. I think Coach Frost and Austin have a great scheme they’ve put in the past couple years as long as we stick with that we’ll be fine.
With the targeting suspension, who are some of the young guys that might need to step up early on Saturday? [Quinton Newsome and Myles Farmer were mentioned by name]
All of them have to step it up, this is a team game...if someone goes down, everyone has to step up. We go in knowing that it won’t be four guys that play, it could be 5,6,7,8. Those guys you mentioned and a couple other guys have to bring it in practice and at the end of the week, the coaches will decide.
How difficult is it to be a DB with the holding and targeting and pass interference?
Any DB just has to continue to play ball...refs are like us they make mistakes...you just gotta live with that, its the game you play...you gotta find a way to play without drawing the flag.
Are you working in other places since there will be a safety out next game?
I play a lot of places, I played a whole series at safety last game...the coaches move us around a lot...I prepare myself to play where I’m needed
OSU is a really good team. What was your sense from the guys around you - are you encouraged - what was the mindset?
We are never okay with losing - first and foremost, I want to say that. Disappointment, we weren’t happy with the end result. There were positives. We were moving the ball well until we shot ourselves in the foot... stunted a couple of those drives on our own.
The system between you and Luke looked comfortable - how did it feel to you - why did it work so well?
It felt natural. I attribute that to multiple things. Our coaching staff and how we practice, we feel comfortable in those scenarios. Luke and I make a great team, we are comfortable with it and just want to win