Last Blast: Fiesta Coaches Meet With Media

OSU's Jim Tressel and Kansas State's Bill Snyder meet with the media for the final time before Friday's Fiesta Bowl (8 p.m. Eastern, ABC). Among other things, Tressel discussed his team's health, his team's motivation, his search for a defensive coordinator and Maurice Clarett's status.

Head coaches Jim Tressel of Ohio State and Bill Snyder of Kansas State met with the media today for the final time before Friday night's Fiesta Bowl (8 p.m. Eastern, ABC).

Here are some selected comments from the coaches from today's session:

* Tressel on how his team has been received in Arizona -- "As we expected the treatment and hospitality and the efforts of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and its 3,000 volunteers have been extraordinary again. Our practice facility was even better than it was a year ago. The cooperation from everyone involved has been out of this world."

* Tressel on his team's preparations -- "They have prepared hard and they understand the difficulty of this task. They have done what they need to do to prepare for this tremendous task. They are anxious to tee it up on Friday night."

* Tressel on his team's health -- "I think we're real healthy. We had good bowl practice before we left for the holidays and everybody came back in good health. We banged around for two or three days after we got here. I think we're in as good a shape as we could hope to be. I would say there will not be any limitations in anything we do (because of injuries)."

* Tressel on containing Kansas State‘s strong running game, including run/pass QB Ell Roberson -- "I think that makes it exponentially more difficult because the quarterback has to be accounted for. When you go into a game, you say, `Well, here's who's going to run the ball,' and you have to account for him. That's a whole new world. They have a complete package."

* Tressel on who‘s more conservative: He or Snyder -- "Gosh, I don't know. I don't know Coach Snyder that well. I have admired what he has done with his program. All of us dream about having the kind of impact he has had on a program."

* Tressel on K-State's defense -- "They have such extraordinary players on the edges. Then, their guys on the inside are a good complement. They play low and with speed. When you do that, you have a chance to do pretty well. They do both of those things."

* Tressel on his team's motivation for this game -- "We better feel it's more important than anything we've ever been a part of, not just because it's the next game but even beyond that. We have a chance to compete on the national stage and compete against a team like Kansas State. We are in kind of a stand alone situation there on Friday night where anybody who is interested in football will be watching. This will also be the last time for this group to play together. To me, that's what makes this so exciting."

* Tressel on whether he has spoken to Nebraska interim coach Bo Pelini about the defensive coordinator's job -- "I really haven't spoken to anyone about our defensive opening. We don't have a defensive opening yet until after the game Friday night. Bo Pelini was the first guy I offered a scholarship to when I was the head coach at Youngstown State. Obviously, he didn't take it."

* Tressel on whether losing Mark Dantonio will mean he has to spend more time with the defense -- "I wouldn't want to foul up our defense. I'm smart enough not to go over there."

* Tressel on a report in The Arizona Republic that Maurice Clarett would like to return to the team -- "I guess I spoke to him sometime during the pre-holidays bowl practice in Columbus. I haven't given it much thought this particular week because I know who's going to be here Friday. I think he knows full well that I think that would be the best goal for him. That's my opinion. That's a great goal."

* Tressel on whether Scott McMullen might play at quarterback -- "I would hope that he would have an opportunity to play in his final bowl game and a game of this magnitude in the BCS. That's the same scenario for all of our seniors. I hope he has a chance to play in the game, as I also hope for our backups at other positions. But there is no preordained rotation (of QBs) that we're going into the game with."

* Snyder about the importance of having a 12-win season for the first time at K-State -- "Somebody asked yesterday about getting over the hump. I'm not sure about that. They say it might be a breakthrough, but I ask a breakthrough to what? Every ballgame is an extremely important ballgame to us. If we win, it would mean a 12-win season and it would also mean a victory against one of the finest football programs and football teams in the country. It‘s another step if we‘re able to do that."

* Snyder on getting his team back up after beating top-ranked Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game -- "That remains to be seen whether that has happened yet. We have had some time to get through the Oklahoma celebration and some time to move on and prepare to be 1-0. That's always been our battle cry."

* Snyder on whether he is more conservative than Tressel -- "I don't know. I just don't know Jim that well. I know what kind of tremendous coach he is. I don't know about his personal habits, though."

* Snyder on what concerns him most about Ohio State -- "Just the fact they have an excellent punter and field position is a major issue because their kicking game is so strong. They play so well defensively, collectively. They are a very talented defensive football team. The speed of the players they have in place is a factor in the ballgame as well. They've just been a team of minimal mistakes. They are a tremendous field position team. You look at how you can neutralize that. You don't want your offense always having to go 85 or 90 yards. Ohio State has the ability to make you do that."

* Snyder on whether he expects a high scoring game -- "I don't know that you're going to score 35 points against Ohio State. That's a hard question. Now, would I have projected a 35-point game against Oklahoma? No. Nobody knows what will happen. But I think our players understand that we anticipate a four-quarter ballgame."

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