Toledo's Monday Press Conference

Head Coach Bob Toledo talks about the Ohio State game and what he thinks will be an emotional atmosphere at the Rose Bowl this Saturday...

Notes:

-- The Rose Bowl will open two hours before game time. No big bags, coolers, etc., will be allowed into the Rose Bowl.

-- Senior fullback Matt Stanley has been chosen team captain for the week. Two years ago, he played well when UCLA faced Ohio State in Columbus, scoring a touchdown, and earning himself a scholarship. Stanley is originally from Columbus area.


 

Head Coach Toledo comments…

On Ohio State…

"As far as Ohio State, they're 1-0. They beat Akron 28-14. They have a new coaching staff. They're big, they're strong, they're tough, they're physical, they're athletic. They're an outstanding football team, and they have a rich heritage, as far as tradition is concerned. It will be another difficult test for our football team. The nice thing about it is, it is our home opener. I think it will be a great crowd, a national TV audience. A lot of eyes will probably be on this game."

On injuries…

"Injury-wise, Dennis Link right now has a thigh bruise and won't practice today. Sean Phillips got operated on this morning for a torn meniscus. Hopefully he'll be allright in a few weeks. Everyone else it appears will be ready to practice. I know Ieremia-Stansbury had an ankle, but he's going to practice as much as he can tolerate. So, we're in pretty good physical shape right now."

On finding motivation to play Ohio State after losing to them two years ago…

"I think the motivation will be is that it's a big game, it's a new year, it's the home opener for us. A lot of these guys didn't have an opportunity to play in that game. We had 11 players that didn't play, that were suspended. We had 11 freshmen that started in that game. We had a freshman quarterback and a sophomore quarterback, Drew Bennett. And Cory Paus had never played quarterback. It's just a different football team. As far as motivation, I think Ohio State coming to the Rose Bowl is motivation enough."

On how the mood changed during practice last week…

"I think the mood was better. Tuesday was horrible, as was mine and I'm sure yours. But I think as the week wore on they got better. As I talked to them, it's like a family or friend, when someone loses their life. You mourn, you pray, you get depressed. It was a long, hard tough week. Also there comes a point you've got to now move on and carry on with your life. I think they're now willing to do that, never forgetting what happened last Tuesday.

"I think these kids are intelligent people, resilient. They understand what's going on. Like I said, you can never forget what happened. Nobody will. But they do realize, if you're going to play, let's go play, or let's not play at all. I know there's concern about the stadium, security, fear, you can't have any fear. You have to move on. If you're going to live with fear and play with fear, you might as well not do it. We have to hope that people who are in charge of security do a good job. We just have to hope something like this never happens again."

On the atmosphere of the game…

"I think it will be kind of emotional, particularly early. You take that field, someone sings the national anthem. It will be a touchy thing early. But football brings out aggressive people and eventually when you kick it off you'll see some good football."

On how postponing an early home game like ASU affects recruiting…

"Well, we're doing pretty good in recruiting. We're on top of it pretty good right now. I look at it like we had three away games. I don't like to cry over spilt milk. We'll make it up. This week will be a big one for us. Obviously we have to reschedule some things because of what happened, as far as recruits coming to the game and things that we do with them. In talking to the recruits this week, no one's changed their minds. They're all very receptive. So, there's nothing we can do about it. Let's make it positive, let's move on and go from there.

"I wish I could tell you the 19 guys we have committed right now, but I can't." [Said in jest]

On what the team did over the weekend…

"Some of them went home, particulary the ones who live close. They just hung out and relaxed, healed up a little bit, recuperated. There wasn't any football to watch, so it was a time to regroup."

On what Toledo did…

"Friday I went home and did some honey-dos. My wife and I went out and had a nice dinner, just she and myself. A good friend invited me out to Sherwood [Country Club]. Parred the last two holes, and sunk a 40-foot putt on the last putt of the day and I'm definitely coming back. And then my wife and I went out to dinner with some friends that night. Then yesterday we came in and started working again."

On what his golf score was…

"Zwahastwafsofsreawz."

On Ohio State quarterback Steve Bellisari…

"That was kind of his break-out game when we played them two years ago, if you want to call it that. John Cooper, talking to him after the game, he said, ‘Well, I found a quarterback.' The thing about him is that he can throw the football, and he's extremely mobile. Now they're running more options with him, too. [Head Coach Jim] Tressel is a coach that will run some options. Bellisari presents some problems with his arm and with his legs."

On comparing him to Kansas's Kinsey or Alabama's Watts…

"I think he's better than Watts. Running and throwing. Probably both. I think he's better than both of those quarterbacks. Kinsey's a little faster, but he didn't throw it as well. So, as a quarterback, he's better than both of those guys, in my opinion."

On how this is a real test of the team's physicality…

"It's something were anxious to look at. We want to see how physical we really are. Because they're a strong, physical team. Their offensive line is huge. Their fullback and tailback are huge. They pound you. Defensively, they have a real good defensive tackle, three linebackers are outstanding, and both safeties are extremely good. So, in baseball you talk about being strong up the middle, they are strong up the middle. I tend to believe that in watching the video of Akron, they didn't do a lot. They were fairly conservative. They were working on fundamentals and trying to get better. They were holding some things back, to be perfectly honest with you. We watched a lot of Youngstown film and a lot of Michigan State film, because that's where the defensive coordinator is from. And there are some things they didn't do that we have to prepare for."

On preparing for strong safety Mike Doss…

"He's obviously a Thorpe candidate. The thing that impresses me is he looks like a big kid that can run extremely well, and he'll hit you. He can cover very well. He's one of the better defensive backs in the country. He and the free safety are very good. The free safety played against us as a freshman."

On how he has said he would continue to open up the passing game after the first two games…

"Both games we played were a little different. In the second game, we scored some points early and we didn't need to open up the playbook, if you want to call it that. We didn't throw a lot of passes, particularly in the last 20 minutes. We didn't really throw the ball, we didn't have to. In this game, we'll have to throw the ball more. They are a big, strong, physical football team, and you're just not going to pound them. That's not going to get it done. But on the other hand, we need to run the ball and be very efficient doing it."

On using Dave Ball at strongside linebacker to offset OSU's size…

"We may substitute according to some formations and personnel groups that they have. And you look at the tight end,


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