Notes & Quotes

Dave Biddle was out with the ol' tape recorder yesterday and brought back some quotes from the team. Today, he has quotes from Maurice Clarett, Craig Krenzel, Kenny Peterson, Maurice Hall, and Mark Dantonio.

Tailback Maurice Clarett is listed as probable for the Purdue game, but that doesn't stop all the rumors from circulating. Is the stinger really a separation? Has Clarett's family freaked out about the injury? Are they encouraging him to leave early for the NFL even more than ever?

Well, Clarett didn't get into all the rumors, but he did address a few topics on Tuesday. First off, how's the shoulder?

"I'm feeling cool right now since I didn't get hit this weekend," Clarett said. "I just practiced light all of last week and I'm feeling good right now, but I'm just taking things day by day."

Does Clarett want to play and more importantly, does he feel healthy enough to play?

"I'm not sure what their thought process is, but I wanted to play last week. But, everything is kind of put on the doctor right now. I was ready to play last week, but Dr. Lombardo said he wasn't going to release me to the coaches, so I've got to go with him. But I don't know what they are thinking this week. I'm just going to prepare like I'm going to play."

Out of the three games that Clarett has missed (including the Penn State game), which one was the most frustrating to miss?

"I'm not sure, all of them are bad. In your mind, you think you can go out there and play and help the team out, but you just physically can't, so it's frustrating," Clarett said.

Quarterback Craig Krenzel's toughness has been brought up a lot. He isn't afraid to put his body on the line and take a hit. But like a tough guy should, Krenzel said it's no big deal. 

"That's part of the business," Krenzel said. "You know, you play in the Big Ten and you play against defenses that are big and strong and physical, you know you are going to get popped. It's not something you worry about. On the touchdown pass to Chris Vance, you know you are going to get hit, but you have to do your job. Just like the guys up front know they are going to get physically hit every play, but they still go out there and do their job."

The one thing about Krenzel's play that might have some fans concerned is that he seems to be holding on to the ball far too long. Krenzel knows he needs to do a better job of throwing the ball away when the time comes.

"Yeah, a number of times when I got sacked last week was my fault. There were times I should have just thrown the ball away, instead of trying to make something happen. So, not only do we lose yards that we shouldn't have lost, but I take excess hits. I've got to do a better job of getting rid of it," Krenzel said. 

When the Bucks are able to win without Clarett, does that exemplify how good their other backs are.

"I look at it more as how it exemplifies football. It's a team game. We are a good football team and Maurice Clarett is a great running back, no doubt about it. As for Lydell (Ross) and Mo Hall, they've done a great job filling in, but it's not about them, or Maurice being out, it's how well we're playing in the football game. The Penn State game we made some mistakes, but our defense came up huge. Our special teams came up huge, we punted the ball well. It's a team football game. Offense, defense and special teams combine to make you as good as you want to be. Some days, when one of the aspects isn't clicking, the other two have to pick it up," Krenzel said. 

Does Krenzel think the Bucks are going to have to throw more than usual to beat Purdue?

"We'll see. We'll going to have to see what they want to do in the game, see how they want to play our formations. I think that any game we go into, we have to be able to throw the ball effectively, we have to be able to throw the ball efficiently, to try and keep the teams back and play us a little more honest and not try and load up on our run game."

What has the Buckeye QB seen from Purdue's defense on film?

"They like to blitz a lot. But, as in a number of times this year, what we see against opposing teams on film isn't what we are going to see on Saturday. We could see a totally different look, especially with them having two weeks to prepare for us. They might come out with a whole new book full of wrinkles and we're just going to have to be able to adjust. But you can only line up defenses so many ways in football. So, it's not a matter of them throwing something at us that we've never seen before, it's more of a matter of we were preparing for these looks and they're giving us something different. So, it's just something that you have to adjust to," Krenzel said.

Krenzel's take on the Buckeyes' No.2 ranking in the BCS?

"I haven't even looked at the BCS standings, or the points, or anything. Because if we don't take care of business these next three weeks, none of that matters to us."

Defensive tackle Kenny Peterson knows the Buckeye defense will be put to the test against the Boilermaker offense. He knows that Joe Tiller is one of the best offensive minds around and had an extra week to come up with something for OSU.

"They have two weeks to prepare for us, so they are going to show us something different," Peterson said. "But they've been successful doing what they've been doing, so they won't change too much. They are coached very well and they are a smart group of guys, so they are going to come out and throw the ball and run the ball, so we just have to be ready for them."

Although they are a bit down this year, the Boilermakers are still getting a lot of respect in the Buckeye locker room.

"If anything, Purdue has definitely been a sleeper in this league. They are a real talented group. They are physical up front, they've got a good quarterback and they've got guys who want it. We've just got to go out there and want it more," Peterson said.

What would Peterson have said if someone told him before the year that the Bucks would be 10-0 and ranked No.2 in the country at this point?

"Wow. That's a great honor. But right now we've got Purdue and you know it's a great honor to be No.2 in the BCS, but we don't want to just hold on to it for a week."

The Bucks were 7-5 a year ago. What is the biggest different in this year's team in Peterson's mind.

"I can't just put it on one specific thing, but a lot of things have changed: Team camaraderie, guys knowing their role on the team and guys willing to just step up and play their responsibilities and things like that. So, it's a number of things."

The defense has played out of this world recently with four straight second half shutouts. What does Peterson attribute that to?

"One thing that we have done as a defense is that we've played assignment sound the last two weeks. If we can continue to play assignment sound and with no mental mistakes, we will continue to do what we've been doing."

Peterson thinks he is working with one of the best coaching staffs in the country.

"I'm really blessed to be under a coaching staff like this. Their knowledge of the game... oh man, it just blows your mind how much they can put together. Coach (Mark) Dantonio, coach (Mark) Snyder, coach (Mel) Tucker and coach (Jim) Heacock, when they are out there talking, you listen," Peterson said.

Maurice Hall had his best game as a Buckeye so far in the win over Minnesota. How did it feel to finally get some opportunities?

"It definitely felt good," Hall said. "You know, everybody always wants to play, so once you get the opportunity to get in there and you do well, it feels good."

Did Hall prove something with his play?

"A little bit. I feel like I did pretty good and I just think I've got to continue to get better and continue to prove myself."

How does Hall mentally prepare for each game with Clarett's status up in the air?

"I just try to always prepare and stay focused, so whenever I do get the opportunity, I'm ready. Just try and work hard in practice and when Saturday comes, I'm going to make sure I'm ready."

What is the Hall expecting from Purdue's defense?

"We know they've got a pretty good defense and they are going to blitz a lot, so we're going to have to make sure we've got the pass protection down and just give Craig some time and I think we'll be OK," Hall said.

Dantonio has done a masterful job with the defense. Does he think the Buckeye D is peaking at the right time? 

"Around here, you better peak all the time," Dantonio said with a grin. "We're playing well right now, but it's a game to game thing. It's about matchups. It's about people preparing for you and how you prepare for the people that you are going to play because everyone is a little different and everyone has strengths and weaknesses. So, we just try and play to our strengths."

How does he explain holding a team like Penn State to under 200 total yards and a team like Minnesota to 112 total yards?

"I don't know. We played well, we prepared well, we practiced well and good things happen when you play hard," Dantonio said.

There has been a lot of talk about the excellent halftime adjustments that Dantonio and his staff seem to make every game. He says a lot of that has to do with feeling comfortable with each other and comfortable with the system.

"Anytime you are working with people for a longer period of time, you're going to know each other a little better and will be able to make better adjustments. And the system that you use will become a little more advanced as you go. So, I think that we've been with each other for a while and we've got great coaches here and they do a great job with their players and the players know what is expected of them. But the adjustments have a lot to do with what type of football players we have because they're able to make the adjustments. It's one thing when someone tells you something, 'Hey they're doing this,' but it's another to be able to do that on the field. We've been able to do that and that's repetition and good football smarts. Our coaches and players do a great job," Dantonio said.

How big is it that OSU's defensive players have been in the same system for two years?

"I think it's big. We're trying to always fine tune things a little bit. Add things, or subtract things, or change this, or change that. So, the players being in the system a little longer helps. Last year, we had a lot of sophomores up front and now there are more juniors and seniors. We lost a lot of close games last year, we were up and down as a defense I thought, but we are playing with more consistency this year."

Does Dantonio see a difference in this year's Purdue offense compared to past seasons?

"Yes, they run the football more a little bit. They try and establish the run and be a little more even. They do it out of the one-back set, a lot like Minnesota's offense in some regards. But they will also go empty and throw it around a little more."

The Buckeyes are preparing for both Brandon Kirsch and Kyle Orton this week. How difficult is it on a defense to prepare for two different quarterbacks?

"It's tough because they are two totally different types of quarterbacks. Kirsch is more of a run guy. He can improvise and make plays, or take a bad play and make it into a good play, which I think you have to do at quarterback at times. The other guy (Orton) is more of a thrower, has a little more experience, so they each bring something different to the table. It will be interesting to see who they go with," Dantonio said.

Even though we are approaching the 11th week of the season, freshmen like Mike D'Andrea are just now feeling comfortable out on the field. Dantonio spoke a little bit about that. 

"Our freshmen now have played 10 games. They've been here for 14 weeks, so they are now playing with more knowledge in what they are doing and they're not as lost. I think it's difficult when you come in and there's a lot of vocabulary. It's just like if I went to a different Big Ten school. The vocabulary would be completely different and it would take me a point in time to get used to the vocabulary and know what's going on. I think that's natural. On top of that, you step up a level, certainly, and the players are faster and you're asked to do a lot more things, be more disciplined, instead of just running around and making plays."

Dantonio was an assistant at Michigan State from 1995-2000. He obviously had a personal relationship with Bobby Williams and was sorry to see him go.

"Yeah, I'm disappointed that all of that happened," Dantonio said.

There will be a lot of people who think Dantonio is a candidate for the MSU job. He says that is not the case.

"No, I'm not interested in that job. I am very happy at Ohio State. I came here to be with coach (Jim) Tressel for a period of time and I'm not interested in any other job. I'm very happy here and my family is very happy, so hopefully we'll just stay here," Dantonio said.

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