Coach Tressel Press Conference Transcript

Full transcript of Coach Tressel's press conference.

Aug. 30, 2003

No. 2/2 Ohio State 28 (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten), No. 17/19 Washington 9 (0-1, 0-0 Pac-10)

Ohio Stadium - Attendance: 105,078

Ohio State Postgame Press Conference


TRESSEL: Well, obviously, we feel good about how hard our guys played

tonight. I thought they've done a good job preparing. Really ever

since we got back in January they've really put their nose to the

grindstone and had a passion to become better. They focused hard

through the spring practice and the summer. I thought they worked

hard this preseason.

And, you know, we had a tough match-up for an opener. And I

feel good about how hard we played and the leadership that these guys

and their colleagues gave our team. And, you know, we've got a long

way to go.

There's a whole bunch of things that we'll analyze that

we've got to do better. But if you come out and play harder like our

guys did, good things can happen.

REPORTER: Coach, either you or any of the players with the

distractions in the off-season and all the talk of repeat, repeat,

repeat. How nice was it to get back between (inaudible).

TRESSEL: Well, it was great to play football. That's what we like to

do. That's one of the reasons these guys are at Ohio State. And, you

know, it's just great to play, it's 105,000 people out there, the

atmosphere was extraordinary, the competition was good, our guys'

effort was special, and I know speaking for myself and our staff it

was great to get back at it.

REPORTER: Did Craig rise up?

TRESSEL: Tim, just wait.

KRENZEL: What was the question?

REPORTER: Nice to get back on the field?

KRENZEL: Yeah, it was -- it was a lot of fun. You know, I think

that's the best thing about it, we're just a bunch of kids out here

playing a game. It was a lot of fun out there tonight. Like Coach

said it's one of the reasons we come to Ohio State is to get back out

there. It's kind of like being back at our home. The best thing

about being there tonight is camp's over.

TRESSEL: How does it feel to get back out there. Let Tim talk.

SMITH: It was great to get back out there, just to play, you know

what I mean. Like coach said we got 105,000 out there, the fans were

great, everybody was great. The team was prepared for this game.

Just came out, we were excited from the first play to the last play.

ANDERSON: I think it was nice to finally attack somebody else for

once. You know, we've been going against the same guys for, you know,

three weeks or four weeks, however long we've been here. You know, it

was nice to get out there and, you know, finally see some new faces

and make some contact with somebody different.

KRENZEL: Allowed to hit the quarterback, too.

JENKINS: Just what these guys say, a long time since you've been on

the field, nice to get back out there and play a football game.


REPORTER: What did you for touchdown runs do for this team.

TRESSEL: No doubt, we always talk about the fact the most important




thing the quarterback does is make decisions. He goes back, and he

looks to see if any of the routes are open, and if they're not, he

steps up and goes. And, you know, he did that 49 times last year for

7.9-yard average. Today he did it for I don't know the exact average,

but two of them were big touchdowns and that's huge for us.

REPORTER: Can you --

REPORTER: Starting tonight and today like last year, you faced a

quarterback like Kingsbury, like Jason Guest early in the year. You

had Pickett tonight, you held them without a touchdown until late in

the game. Could the two defensive players comment about the defense?

TRESSEL: I think our defense did a great job preparing for them.

These guys put great pressure up front. They're a good team. But

these guys could speak a little bit more to why we were so successful.

SMITH: I think that prepares us for the course of the season, playing

against great quarterbacks at the beginning of the season, like Cody

Pickett and then, you know, he struggled out there, but he still

performed and you could see he was a great quarterback, he was doing a

lot of good checks and everything. So I think this is going to help

us, the Ohio State defense out more than anything.

ANDERSON: I think the biggest thing was we were fighting around, we

were making good open-field tackles, linebackers and DB's, I don't

think we missed very many tackles and when there was a tackle, you

know, there was four, five, six guys in there. I think that was the

key, and I think that's why we had such a good performance tonight.

REPORTER: You used a lot of defensive line tonight. Number 12 I

would say. Is that something we're going to see this season.

SMITH: Absolutely, we have a lot of great young guys and the coach

wanted to get them some experience. I think Dave Patterson, he had a

sack at the end of the game. He was pretty excited about that. Simon

stepped up. Marcus Green, you know, I mean a lot of young guys that

are the future of Ohio State when me and Tim leave.

ANDERSON: I think, you know, it's definitely a bonus if they can step

in and help out. Because, you know, I know, you know, if we're in a

tight game, and we're in the fourth quarter, we're still going to be

fresh, we can roll guys through the whole time. You know, that's

something that not very many offenses do, they don't rotate offensive

linemen in there. If they can keep stepping up and keep making plays

out there and make the rotation, that's going to help later in the


REPORTER: Craig, can you talk a little bit about you came out tonight

and you were on fire, you threw the ball a lot, making big plays the

big pass completion, that set up the eventual touchdown, the first

touchdown, talk about what it meant to you tonight to get off to is

such a good start through the air and on the ground.

KRENZEL: It meant a lot because we were scoring touchdowns, that's

the bottom line of the offensive line, our goal is to go out and score

touchdowns and take the pressure off our defense. We came out and

knew in order to help our run game, we wanted to come out and throw




down the field. We did make the plays and got them thinking a lot,

which let us do some underneath things.

REPORTER: When you had those touchdowns, make you feel more like a

quarterback or a tank?

KRENZEL: Still a quarterback.

REPORTER: To beat a ranked team on opening night, national

television, defending national champs this is a wake-up call, this is

a reminder, do you feel like you reminded the rest of the country, hey

we're the team to beat. Was that this type of performance? Craig, we

can start with you. Was your thought, was this a message game?

KRENZEL: I think more than anything, it was a message to ourselves.

We feel confident enough in the players we have and the coaches we

have and the way we're going to prepare week in and week out that we

can go out and beat anybody in the country. We set more expectations

on ourselves than anybody in the media, the fans in the Columbus area

or around the country can do. With that in mind, we proved ourselves

right, we felt we could come out here and play, it's a good Washington

football team, but we could beat them. It's a challenge to go week

in, week out and get better. That's one of the great things our team

did last year. If we don't do that this season, we're not going to be

where we want to be in January.

REPORTER: Did you expect to be as cohesive defensively as you were?


TRESSEL: Well, I know that our offense had to face our defense all

spring in preseason. They sure looked pretty cohesive. They were

hard to move against. There are some positions where we're young, and

we're going to be tested. We understand that. But the nice thing is

the guys up front are veterans and they set the tone and, you know,

you have veterans like Dustin Fox and Chris Gamble out on the corners

and Will Allen as the steadying influence there in the middle. Robert

Reynolds and Fred Pagac have been around a long time. I think that

mixture of new and veterans, it will keep working hard to get better.

We're going to have a good defense.

REPORTER: Could you comment on the play of your running backs, did Al

and Maurice separate themselves?

TRESSEL: I think we've got to get a lot better running the football

than we were today. Our running backs missed part of camp, which

doesn't just slow their progress, it slows the guys up front because

you just don't get to banging in there as much. I don't know about,

you know, one distancing themselves from the other. I thought they

both played hard and most important thing you do as a running back is

you hold on to the football and you get every yard that is available

to you. I thought they played well. But we've, Rusty in answer to

your question, we're not anywhere where we need to be as a running

football team. But, it's game one. So I hope we get a lot better.

REPORTER: Can you discuss, along with the offensive side of the ball,

the performance of the offensive line? They seemed to keep Washington

from getting persistent pressure on the quarterbacks.




TRESSEL: You know, that's the key, I think, to the passing game, is

that if you have good protection, starting with good assignment

protection. I don't know that we had any blows. Usually when you

watch a game film if there's a sack or two, at least one of them is a

protection blow. And I don't think we had any -- any blows from that

standpoint. I thought our guys did a good job, Craig did a good job

stepping up into the pocket, when they kept protecting and our

receivers did a good job of finding the open areas. You know, we're

not anywhere there up front where we need to be yet. But we just were

kind of anxious to find out today where we were. Because you go so

long practicing against each other, spring, preseason, it was nice to

find out and you know Washington's a good team, we're going to play

some teams that are better. But, you know, it was good to play a good

football team. And now find out where we have to get better.

REPORTER: Do you feel the offense was successful by spreading the

ball out to other playmakers and not relying solely on one top


TRESSEL: I think Craig could answer that.

KRENZEL: I'm sorry. I wasn't listening.

REPORTER: Do you feel that the -- do you feel that the --

TRESSEL: Four-point student.

KRENZEL: Sorry about that.

REPORTER: Do you feel that the offense was more successful to spread

the ball out to other performers and try to get in scores aside from

relying on one person to make all the plays for you?

KRENZEL: I don't know that we ever just relied on one person. To

answer your question, this year we have so many weapons offensively,

receivers, running backs our tight ends are doing a great job. We

have so many weapons offensively, that we're only going to be as good

as our ability to spread the ball around. If we start depending on

the run too much or the passing too much, we're not going to be

successful. We need the balance and disburse the ball.

REPORTER: Any comments on Simon Fraser's play?

TRESSEL: I thought Simon Fraser did a good job. These two guys

brought his name up. He made some big hits early on some run plays.

I don't know if he beat his guy one-on-one and met Alexis there in the

backfield or not. But he made some plays there and I'm sure he did a

good job on some pass rush lanes. Simon Fraser is an important part

of that front.

REPORTER: You picked up a score that was result of punting the ball

on the 1-yard line.

TRESSEL: You could see two great examples of downing it on the 1. We

downed one on the 1, and we ended up with some points they downed one

on the 1, I don't know if they ended up scoring a field goal. They

were knocking at the door. When you ever down one on the 1-yard line,

it's a heck of a swing for your football team. And special teams are

very important. And I think there are some areas in our special teams

that we certainly have to get better at, thought it was a solid start,




but not extraordinary.

REPORTER: Could you talk about the difference from last year to this

year being a senior this year, going through what you went through

last year, winning a national championship, and -- and just maybe the

difference between the way you felt a year ago to maybe now?

KRENZEL: I think just having played all those games in between,

whether you win or lose every game is more experience, and the more

experience you get the more the game slows down and the more

confidence you get in yourselves and your teammates and your ability

to go out and play well. As a unit offensively we had a lot of

confidence we could come out and do some good things and move the

ball, because we had a lot of returning experience and we have a lot

of talent.

TRESSEL: Tim had a question, did we rest Gamble. We didn't play him

as much on offense, quite honestly, because of the challenge he had on

defense, doing so much covering of Number 1. I think our defense put

the whole second unit in virtually the whole fourth quarter, wasn't

it? So, you know, obviously E.J. and Ashton Youboty are two guys that

are really going to be good, were playing those positions that Chris

normally plays.

REPORTER: Jim, eventually you will have Gamble more at receiver, and

have guys like Paul and Childress passing going to be more of a part

of it.

TRESSEL: If you ask Craig, he would like it to be, if he's

listening. I think he's tired. Craig's usually in bed by now.

You know, we're going to do what we have to do. And if they load up

the box, we're going to have to throw it. I think we do have some

good weapons, especially if you get Chris involved a little bit more

as well. We need to be a good balanced team. I was hoping we would

rush it for about 200 tonight and throw for 250, and I don't think we

did either. But, you know, that's our goal.

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