There was fun when Arkansas' Bobby Petrino was asked by a Little Rock TV reporter to say "Let the Good Times Roll" in French. He stumbled, even after asking the young lady to repeat the phrase three times so he could soak it in.
There wasn't much fun for Ohio State's Jim Tressel. There were more questions about the side show of NCAA suspensions for next season for some of his players, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Tressel also discussed whether or not it's good to be "on" the radar or "under" the radar. He concluded it's both good and bad.
"I think that's always a concern you have defensively is you have a little bit longer in a Bowl game so you get a little bit more locked into what tendencies might be and all those things," Tressel said. "And you gotta make sure that information doesn't hurt you.
"Because all of a sudden, the key breakers can be devastating. And you know, Bobby's teams have always done that. I thought his brother (Illinois offensive coordinator Paul Petrino) did a good job of that against us earlier, came out early and did a couple of key breaker things -- and it was challenging.
"And so we have to make sure that in the course of the game, you know, that we don't get disappointed that, hey, you know, they're not doing exactly what we've prepared to do, because it's not within the rules that they have to. They're allowed to run whatever plays they want and line up in whatever formations they want and do what they think will work best against us.
"And our job is to react to that and execute -- the neat thing about every defense is it's engineered for success.
"And every offense is, too, so it will come down to who can block and tackle and protect and all those things."
Petrino knows that's on target.
"I think you always try to do what you do best and execute what you do best," he said. "And then adjust as the game goes on. So I think they'll come in and try to live with what got them here.
"We feel like we have a great challenge in stopping the run. Not only the runs to the running back with their quarterback runs, and try to get them in third and long situations.
"But obviously when you have this much time to prepare, you know, we're going to see something that we haven't prepared for. They'll probably see something they haven't prepared for. That's just how the Bowl games go."
Tressel had to answer questions about the controversial issues of the last several weeks, namely his quarterback and a little back-and-forth on opinions given by Kirk Herbstreit, an Ohio State alumnus, and then Pryor's take on Herbstreit's comments.
"As we talked about with any of our kids in terms of giving their opinions on things," Tressel said. "I've always felt that sometimes those are best left unsaid. Which is difficult sometimes for kids because they spend so much time hearing people's opinions of them. But I've always wanted to err on the side of sometimes keeping my thoughts. But I guess that's why we get to play this game in this great country and so forth.
"We're allowed to say what we think and that's, I guess, one of the standards that makes our country a little bit different. But as I've said before not simply about what TP might have said, but what anyone might say from an opinion standpoint, and I'm not sure giving opinions is that flattering."
Both coaches took turns complimenting the other team for their physical presence. Tressel dropped the best lines.
"I know this, they're a physical team," he said. "They are 10-2 and the schedule they played, week after week, the battles they were in. I mean, they're a well-banged, made-it-through-lots-of-rounds team.
"And I'd like to think we are. And that's the beauty of getting two folks together who both have been tested. Both have done a lot of good things. Both wished they would have done even better. And anxious to improve and to end their season the right way. But they're a physical -- I've said all along, I think they're the quickest, fastest physical team we've faced in quite some time. And I hope we are -- I hope he's right. I hope we are a physical team."
Petrino was asked to find a comparison with Ohio State and a team the Hogs have seen this season in the SEC.
"Yeah, I'm not real good on making similarities or comparisons between teams," Petrino said. "When you look at Ohio State, the first thing that jumps out at you is how well-coached they are. They know exactly what they want to do, what their schemes are. Their players execute them. They play extremely physical.
"They'll be as physical of offensive and defensive line that we've played all year long. So we got a great challenge ahead of us. It's been 38 days of studying what they do. And you know, I'm looking forward to the matchup. I think you'll see a really good football game."
Matchups? Neither really talked about any. Petrino did get into the Ohio State secondary, but not with any specifics.
"They've got two big, tall corners with long arms that are well-coached, have tremendous technique," Petrino said. "Their safeties are real impressive because they come downhill and make a lot of tackles, are able to be in zone coverage and get down to the line of scrimmage very, very fast.
"Their ability to read run or pass is something that's really impressed me. It will be a good challenge for us.
"We've got to try to get in some one-on-one situations. And we feel like we have good wide receivers and good quarterbacks.
"So that's what a good matchup will be."
There were no bulletin board flashes from either coach. Tressel seems excited to get all of the talk behind him. It hasn't been about football. One of the Ohio State media members pointed out that Tressel's teams had done the best when they were under the radar. What did Tressel think about that assessment?
"Well, I think all of us as coaches," Tressel said, "like to be on the radar from a standpoint of recognizing that our kids have worked hard and have earned this opportunity to be at a wonderful bowl game.
"We obviously don't like to be on the radar when we err, but we know that's part of being on the radar. And it's not wrong. But as far as whether we've been under the radar or over the radar, I guess I don't check the radar that close.
"But we've been working hard to prepare ourselves and get ready to play a whale of a football team.
"And I've been pleased with our preparation. The beauty of games, as you look back, there's been, what, 28 games so far? You look at those games that have been played, and the same things that make the difference in games during the regular season are the ones that make the difference in this game. And so what we've got to do is we've got to make sure we do the things you need to do to be successful against a very, very good team."
"And I wish I could help you more on the radar thing, because I'm not that knowledgeable on where we are there. It's a bad answer, I know."
There really were no bad answers, unless you struggle with French.
Bobby Petrino (left) and Jim Tressel pose for pictures at the coaches press conference.
Photos by Zac Lehr