Buckeyes Discuss Disappointing Defeat

Glendale, Arizona-- After Ted Ginn's electric game opening kick-off return it looked as though the Buckeyes would have an easy time dispatching the Florida Gators, but the Gators did not collapse as they soundly defeated the Buckeyes on Monday Night. Here is the transcript from the Buckeyes post-game press conference.

MODERATOR: Coach, I'll turn it over to you for an opening comment.
  COACH TRESSEL: First off, we have to congratulate the University of Florida. They did a great job, and earned a national championship, and there's no question about it.
  We scored on the first play of the game, and from that point on really couldn't keep the pressure where we needed it to be, all the way beginning with the second play of the game, when we allowed the kick to get returned and had a penalty and allowed them to not be under the gun of being down 7-0 and really didn't do things all the way along to do what you need to do to be a champion.
  But with that being said, starting with these four guys up here, who have been great leaders and 14 other seniors and a bunch of great kids, we've been awfully proud of the way they've represented college football and represented Ohio State and they've achieved a lot on the field. Fell short this evening. But, you know, they're champions in my book.
  MODERATOR: Open it up for questions. Please state who your question is for.

  QUESTION:  Jim, the 4th and one call with like four minutes left in the second quarter, is that one of those all or nothing sort of calls that you're looking to spark your team?
  COACH TRESSEL: We thought we could make it, and the good news was is our defense did a great job of holding them to three, which was outstanding.
  But, you know, it ended up being the wrong call, obviously.

  QUESTION: Troy, how would you describe this night? It's not the way you wanted to go out obviously. Was it sort of a nightmare out there just trying to get something going offensively? The way you were harassed by their defensive ends, just describe your feelings now about the night and the frustration of getting something going offensively?
  TROY SMITH: In this kind of situation I'm a realist. I have an understanding that not everything in life is going to go the exact same way that you want it to. You know, you're not going to be able to come out and score points like you want to score every night. And Florida is extremely well-coached and they're a great team. Can't say enough about those guys. They came out and fought for 60 minutes and they did exactly what they needed to do to get the win.  I don't have any regrets, though. I really don't. We came out. We fought. If we come up short and you know this is the worst thing that happens in life to us, then I'm pretty cool. But, you know, the other guys, my seniors, I want to apologize to them because wasn't able to send them out on the right note. And I think I could have played better.

  QUESTION:  Doug, was there anything they were doing defensively upfront that you hadn't seen or was there some confusion there to allow them to get the pressure on Troy?
  DOUG DATISH: I think in any big game, especially when you have this long of a lay-off, teams are prepared and ready to bring something new to the table each week. This week seemed like they brought something new. We've seen it a couple times. Just a credit to them, how good they really were, and they did some different blitzes and did different things and we weren't able to get done what we needed to.

  QUESTION:  Troy, was it more of a lack of execution on your part, the offense's part, or was it what Florida did and maybe you weren't prepared for it?
  TROY SMITH: I have to say it's a lack of execution on my part as a quarterback. Simply because I am the one guy out there that, you know, pretty much can control everything. And I didn't do a well enough job in controlling what was going on. Florida did do some great things defensively, but not nothing that we couldn't have handled. And I have to take all the blame in the world for that.

  QUESTION:  Jim, could you talk about -- tell us exactly when Ted got hurt and how much that hurt you guys not having him out there for most of the game?
  COACH TRESSEL:  If I could respond first to rebuttal on Troy there. I think we at times put Troy in a situation that was tough, you know, from a scheme standpoint. And, you know, didn't give ourselves, you know, as good a chance as we could. Our goal as coaches is to get our guys in the best possible positions versus the things that are thrown your way. So I appreciate Troy's willingness to burden a lot, but he's burdened a lot this whole year. And I have to say, you know, it was a combined effort, starting with the coaches. And as far as when Ted got hurt, I don't know exactly when it happened. I guess it was in the first quarter at some point. And I don't know exactly what it is. But, you know, obviously we would have loved to have had Ted in there, but it wasn't to be.

  QUESTION:  Troy, Doug talked a little bit about he mentioned the lay-off. Is the quarterback offensive, is it tough to get it going almost after two months off?
  TROY SMITH:  No. Again, you know, you want to go out and have great games and whether it's X amount of days off or a week off, sometimes we have great games and sometimes you don't. I can't talk about the lay-off because I don't believe in that, not for one bit. We all prepare the same way regardless of how long the lay-off is.

  QUESTION:  Doug, comment was made about their speed. Where they had an advantage up front were they quicker than what you thought?
  DOUG DATISH: They looked fast on film and they proved to be as fast as they looked on film. But I'd say it makes a big difference when they get up, when they build a lead they can then dictate to us what we're going to do. We're more or less predictable of what we needed to do. We needed to get points. We were coming from behind, and any time you allow guys especially with that type of spin to pin their ears back and not have any reads it's tough. It's something difficult and something they dictated to us where we would have liked to have dictated to them.

  QUESTION:  Quinn, for various reasons Florida's offense spent a good part of the first half on your end of the field defensively. When you're on the ropes like that, you feel like you have so little margin for error? Did that come into play at all in some of the outcomes of the results?
  QUINN PITCOCK:  It's difficult being on the plus side of the 50 like that, but we were in a lot of situations like that this year. And we take pride in being that. It does give them a momentum. You can see them charged up. And, you know, Florida does a lot more, you know, different plays, trick plays, stuff like that when they're on the plus side. So it kept us on our toes. But they're a great team. From the beginning I always said it's going to be a battle to the end, and it was.

  QUESTION:  Question for Coach and David. Everyone talked about who was going to be bigger and faster and stronger. Did this game come down to who was hungrier tonight?
  COACH TRESSEL: Oh, I'm not sure I would say that for sure. Obviously I don't know for sure, but I think games usually come down to who makes the plays that need to be made. And we felt going into the football game we needed to be flawless in our kicking game to start with. And outside of the opening kickoff return our punting game probably wasn't what it needed to be. You know, our return game didn't -- after the first one didn't give us the edge. And then offensively we didn't do the things you need to do. Now, is that because we weren't as hungry? You know, I don't know for sure if that's the case. I guess that's the coach's responsibility to create the appetite. But I think our kids prepared, did everything we asked them to do and we just didn't get the job done across the board. Not just Troy or not just this person or that person. But Ohio State didn't get it done.
  DAVID PATTERSON: We as a football team just did not do the things that it takes to win. We lost a rusher. I mean, we didn't cause any turnovers. We lost the turnover margin. It doesn't have anything to do with being hungry or anything like that. We wanted to win the game. We just didn't do the things it takes to win.

  QUESTION:  Jim and Troy, how much did losing Ted, though, take away from just your game plan of things you wanted to get done out there tonight? What effect did that have on that?
  COACH TRESSEL: Well, you know, I think sometimes when you lose a guy that's a big part of what you do and constantly gave you sparks throughout the course of the years, you know, it affects you.
  But, again, that's part of the game. And you have to create the depth. You have to create the broad approach so that you know if you lose a guy here or there you're going to survive. But it certainly didn't help.

  QUESTION:  Troy?
  TROY SMITH: It was very noticeable, but even at that, you know, we were getting a lot of positive publicity on the year about how deep we were with different guys. So that's not an excuse. I've never been a believer in things like that can take us out of a game. Don't get me wrong, he's a great player, sensational player. Phenomenal player. On and off the field.  When we're on the sideline, he gives us a boost and a lift in those kind of ways. And not having him in spirits definitely took a little bit away from the team. But we can't harp on that simply because we have great guys coming up in the ranks also.

  QUESTION:  Jim, defensively, for the first 11 games, you guys dominated the opposition. The last two games you gave up a total of 80 points. What happened in the last two games defensively where you guys were dominated in the other way?
  COACH TRESSEL:  I think if you look at the last two games, in both cases we turned it over back in there. And earlier in the year I think after about eight or nine games, we're in the top few in the country in turnover margin, and that helps your defense.And so, you know, very seldom do we get into an evaluation process that leaves any part of our game out, whether it's what the special teams did or didn't do to affect the defense or what the offense did or didn't do to affect the defense. I would say this, you know, Florida is a good offense. And I thought for a good majority of this year that Chris Leak was a little underappreciated. I think he's an outstanding player. Makes things happen. He's in command of what they do. Gets the ball spread around to some very good guys.  And so I'm sure part of it is that Florida is very good. Part of it is that the other components of the whole team left the defense in some tough situations, as we did in our last game in the regular season. But I'm sure we can turn on the defensive film and see where we could have done better there.

  QUESTION:  Jim and Troy, after what a great regular season dominating teams, obviously you know you can lose any game. It's possible. But does it shock you that a team was able to dominate you the way they did tonight, with the score being so one-sided and does that hurt?
  COACH TRESSEL: Well, when you look at what transpired in the game, it's not surprising that the score ended up the way it did. And we gave them every opportunity to make it a 40 whatever to whatever game.
  And does that hurt? Absolutely. You know you always want to do your best. Most especially when you know you don't get a chance to go out and play again for a while. But we always talk about you get as your works deserve, and we didn't deserve to be the champions.

   QUESTION: Troy?
  TROY SMITH: I'm a firm believer in, you know, what happens to you is meant to happen. Obviously, you know, for some reason this was meant to happen today.
  Can't say enough about the University of Florida and their play. When you are going into a game and you lose this way, obviously you lost this way for a reason. You know, the spread and the score, whomever -- who would have ever thought it would be like that. But there's not that much that you can really do about it. Life goes on.
  There's so many other things that makes these seniors smile. Everybody happy. And I know this year made so many people happy in the state of Ohio. You're not going to be able to do things and have a storybook ending all the time. That's life. I'm a firm believer in that. And I think after this point, you know, your true character comes out. And, again, I'm a big fan of college football. I love everything about it. Wouldn't have it any other way. But this really makes you grow up.
  MODERATOR: Thanks, guys.

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