How did the offensive line do against Penn State in your opinion?
"We played pretty good. Made a few mistakes, but overall we played good against a very good D-Line."
What's your comment on Shane Olivea's status?
"I think Shane will be back. But it's all about how he feels, we definitely don't want to rush anything with four ballgames still to play. Shane is the type of guy that can anchor a line down, so we definitely want him back."
Is it tough moving from left tackle, to right tackle, or are you comfortable at both?
"I feel comfortable on either side. I've played a little more left, so I'm more comfortable over there, but it really doesn't matter to me. The coaches said last spring that we'd have to learn more than one position and this is why. Look at all the shifting we've had to do this year. But all of that has made us a better line."
What do you expect from Minnesota's offense this week?
"They want to run the ball. I'm sure they'll have some trick plays for us, but Terry Jackson is their guy. They also have a great backup who's a bruiser, so we have to be prepared for both of them. They definitely have some weapons."
Being undefeated, does the pressure mount each week? Is the BCS in the back of your mind?
"We're happy to be in this situation. Sure, the pressure builds as each Saturday passes, but all we can do is win all of our games. We can't worry about the BCS or any of the polls. We do enjoy being 9-0 and having all the talk about us. But it's one thing to get caught up in all of it, both positively and negatively. You just can't get lost in all of that."
When you think back to the 2000 Minnesota game, what goes through your mind?
"It's tough. We thought we were a big part of something special, as we feel now, and they came in and got a win in Ohio Stadium. We thought we were a team on the rise and that game kind of ruined our season. It took a lot out of us. Obviously, we are going to be prepared this week for them. We know what they are capable of."
What is different about this year, compared to 2000, aside from having new coaches?
"There is a different feel this year. We understand what kind of players we have. We're tough guys, we're going to gut it out and rely on each other when things might not be going our way."
Is it hard to get up for Minnesota coming off a big win?
"I don't think it's tough at all when we're this close to our goal. You know, we're 9-0 and we'd just love to keep things rolling, so it's not hard to get up for any of these games."
Talk about the freshman linebackers. Did A.J. Hawk's play against Penn State surprise you?
"No, that's what I expected out of A.J. He practices the same way he plays. He plays with such intensity and is always focused in on the details. The sky is the limit for that kid, he's going to be a really good one before he leaves here. ... You've got a physical specimen in Mike D'Andrea. Once his football mind catches up with his body, he is going to be a freak out there on the field. ... And Bobby Carpenter, he's got another year under Rob Reynolds, but he also has a very bright future here. I've been impressed with all three of those guys."
What's your comment on Glen Mason's return to Columbus?
"Coach Mason, obviously with him being a Buckeye at one time in his career, we know they are going to come in ready to play, just like in 2000. He is going to have his guys ready and with so many Ohio guys on their roster, they are going to be excited to play in Ohio Stadium."
Do the Buckeyes have that killer instinct right now?
"I think so. You know, we can't just go out there and play not to lose. We have to have a killer instinct. We feel like if we play our style of football and execute, we are going to come out with the victory. We just want to go out every Saturday and earn some respect. We're relaxed, we're a young team. We just want to go out and play our best game every week."
Any worries about a letdown this week?
"No, we are building towards a championship and we need to understand that each week is a part of that. So, our focus is not looking past any opponent. Hopefully, every one of our guys will be ready for the Gophers this Saturday. I think we've done a good job this year not looking past anyone, even though we've had some tight games."
Mentally, what is the strength of the team right now?
"We been doing a real good job of just taking it a week at a time. The coaches have done a great job of making sure the guys are dialed in on what needs to get done. After a big win, guys might come in and not want to put out the effort that they need to, so the coaches have done a great job of keeping us focused."
Are there still lingering effects from the Minnesota loss two years ago?
"Definitely, especially with the older guys. We know what happened two years ago and I'm sure people are going to be talking about Glen Mason and all that, him wanting to get another victory here, so there's all kinds of reasons to get excited about the game."
Are you expecting Minnesota's defense to stack the line and try and stop the run?
"Yes, but we've gone up against that every week. We've got people lining up eight and nine guys in the box, so we're going to have to be ready for that. And I think when the time has presented itself and we've needed to throw the ball, we shown that we've been able to do that. We've got to shore up our protection a little bit and we've been working hard on making sure we get those things tightened up and ready to go."
A loss now would knock OSU from the national title hunt. Have the coaches mentioned anything about the fact that each win means even more now?
"There is not a lot of talk about that. You don't want to be walking around on egg shells thinking, 'Man, we're 9-0, we can't blow it.' You've got to take the mindset of, you know, we just have another game that we need to win. It's just like when you go out and play not to lose, you are probably going to get beat."
How has the team stayed so focused through some of the off-field distractions this year?
"I think the coaches and the upperclassmen are doing a good job of keeping things loose, no matter what is going on. You have to find the balance of maintaining your focus, but not getting too caught up in the hoopla about the game, or whatever else is going on. We've been able to take all of the outside influences and outside distractions, as numerous as they have been, and just kind of keep them on the outside and just do what we need to do to be successful."
You caught three balls in the first drive against Penn State and none after that. Does the offense script plays to begin the game?
"Not at all. My idea, I guess, going into the game, was that I was going to be doing my best to protect Krenzel and keep him from getting too many hits. So, to come out like that and get all those balls was surprising. I think they just ran the one play where I was the primary to see what would happen and it worked
Buckeye Quotebook - 10/30