The Players Speak - Ohio State

SEATTLE - It's that time of the week to hear the players speak. It's all veterans this time around, except for the first guy - Vonzell McDowell. And we wanted to talk to him for good reason - he had the game-clinching interception to preserve a 24-10 win over Boise State Saturday in Husky Stadium.

CB Vonzell McDowell
On the pick: "It felt really good, honestly. My first college interception...a lot of emotions and a lot of excitement going through me. I was real happy."

On who was there to see his first home game as a Husky: "My whole family was there - my Mom, Dad, sister, my grandma, aunties, cousins, friends - they were all in the crowd. I didn't know he (Alameda Ta'amu) was there. I saw (Rainier Beach Head) Coach Mark Haley after the game in the stands, but I haven't gotten a chance to talk to him. Not yet."

On the speed of the game from high school: "That's a big change because everything moves so fast. You only get three days to learn everything about this team. It's fast-paced. I'm still learning, though. I have a lot of learning to do. The whole pace of it is fast. I have to keep up with it if I want to stay on the field."

On things starting to slow down: "Sometimes when I know something is going to happen, things slow down a little bit. But it's still a fast game. Maybe as more games go I'll get used to it, but I still have little jitters before games."

On the hardest part of learning the gameplan: "The formations during games. Knowing where to be and learning my assignment on every play. I'm getting that down pat, though."

On Boise State: "That was a lot of shifts and motion. To get that down pat, I don't think a lot of other teams do a lot of shifting and motion like that, so to understand what their motions are about was huge."

On Ohio State: "Ohio State is going to come straight at us. They have a big strong back and they hit the holes hard. Both are good teams, but now it's all about playing Ohio State."

On playing against bigger receivers: "With receivers, you just have to understand them. That's why we watch so much film. And with Marcel (Reece), Corey (Williams), Quintin (Daniels) and (Anthony) Russo, going up against them in practice helps me a lot. Marcel's tall, Corey's tall, Russo is quick and speedy off the line. I just take that to the game."

On Roy Lewis getting Pac-10 Player of the Week honors: "That's my mentor. I'm happy for him. Hopefully in the years to come I can get a couple of those under my belt."
DE Greyson Gunheim
On competing with the the big teams: "Last year was a big eye-opener to show people that we could play with anybody, we just needed to finish. So far this year we've been able to do that."

On watching Ohio State last year: "I just watched their offensive line. I also knew that they were going to lose a bunch of people too. So I just started studying their strengths and weaknesses, what they like to do."

On the Husky Stadium crowd: "While you're out there playing, you don't notice as much. When you're on the sidelines, it's not as loud, but you can tell it gets loud when we make a play. It really pumps us up and I definitely think they had an effect on the offensive line. It was so loud they couldn't hear their checks or anything. I like it a lot."

On the fans affecting Ohio State: "I think our fans are going to be even louder this week, more riled up. I'm excited for that. But Ohio State plays in front of over 100,000 people a lot of the time. I'm hoping our fans will play a role in the game."

On having their schedule, as opposed to Ohio State's: "I'd rather have our schedule. It's the perfect setup. If we win everything, we'll be the national champs."

On the significance of playing Ohio State: "Coach Hart reminds us every chance he gets, because that's where he went to school. But it's Ohio State. It's going to be a huge game. Everything they bring to the table is big."
SAM Dan Howell
On playing against Ohio State: "I expect us to play great. I expect us to play disciplined, hard-nosed football. And anything less is not where we want to be. Regardless of how the offense is doing or not, I want to play perfect defense."

On getting the fans to come to Husky Stadium: "You play well, and the fans will come - right? A packed stadium would be nice, but then again it's nothing Ohio State isn't already used to. They have a big stadium too. So bring on the fans, but we have to play some good football out there on the field."

On his injury: "It's just a little strain of my knee. It's nothing serious. I'm ready to go Tuesday. I took a couple days off. Everyone's a little sore, but I'm always ready to hit."

On Boise State being physical: "They were hitting us, we were hitting them...and apparently we have some bumps and bruises. But we'll bounce back and play a really physical team this week."

On the significance of playing Ohio State: "Ohio State is about as big as it gets. And to get an opportunity to play them while I'm here is just incredible."

On reviewing the Boise State game: "I definitely think we came out fast. We came out fast and that was important. We got on top of them, and we adjusted so quickly to their formations and were able to get lined up, I don't think they realized that we were going to do that as well as we did. That, in and of itself, threw them off too."
RB Louis Rankin
On playing Ohio State: "It's more of a challenge. They are a great defense, and they make us want to go out and make some plays."

On the biggest key for him playing well: "The biggest thing is knowing what you can do. You can't fall for what people say. A lot of times they are that, but you have to know you can do the same thing - and if you believe that, you can do some big things."

On the Huskies' schedule: "It's set up perfect for us. It gives us a great opportunity to do what we want to do. If we win every game, no one can deny us for being No. 1 in the nation."

On the speed of Boise State's defense: "It didn't affect my style. I made a few mistakes, I couldn't get going early. And some other guys made some big plays for us."

On sensing when he's going to have a big game or not: "You never know. You always go into the game hoping to have a good game. Once you make a big play, it boosts your confidence."

On his biggest key when struggling: "The biggest key is just to stay in there and keep going at it. If I'm not going early, keep doing what we're doing and something big is going to happen."
WIL E.J. Savannah
On what makes him a good player: "That's one of my biggest qualities, my speed. I like to hit people too. So when I get there, I like to be explosive."

On the key to taking on Ohio State's offense: "Hitting them in the mouth before they hit you. And if you sit on your heels and wait for it, they are going to put you on your butt."

On the excitement of playing a team like Ohio State: "What excites me the most is the opportunity. It's an opportunity to show off my skills on this type of stage. That's why I came to the University of Washington - to play in games like this - to get us rolling and get the momentum going. That's what we have now, and that's what I think we're going to show against the Buckeyes."

On Boise State being his breakout game: "I think it was my breakout game, but I think I can do a lot better. I think I missed a lot of tackles. I don't think my performance has peaked at all, but I think you're going to see more performances like that."

On his battles with stingers and neck injuries: "During the summer, doing all the neck exercises, that means so much now. I don't have any stingers. I don't have any problems right now."
DT Jordan Reffett
On the defense reaching its potential: "We have guys behind us that can play, can flat-out get after it. So it's exciting to see because I don't think we've reached our potential yet, obviously. We can be a lot better."

"That was the gameplan. He had to drop back into coverage. He thought he was Mr. Hot Shot, making the interception. He always has to out-do me. He got that pick, but he was athletic enough to stay on his own two feet, we could have taken it to the house, but he got tackled right away. But it was fun and that was a pretty good catch. It's always exciting when a d-lineman gets a pick."

"Just like every game with a running back, you've got to hit him, you've got to take him down and you have to have a lot of guys doing it. We have to have 11 hats going after the football, trying to get it out and make big plays - be at the right place at the right time. We've got to be disciplined and we've got to play fast."
WR Marcel Reece
On Ohio State's defense: "Statistically are they the best defense in the nation? It's good, everyone has their stats and I'm sure they are going to come in and be a great team. They aren't going to lay over for us just like we aren't going to lay over for them. They have to come to Husky Stadium. They are very fast, they swarm to the ball and they have great athletes just like we have great athletes. We just have to go out and play."

On having another Pontiac 'Game Changing Moment' for the Ohio State game: "We all try to go out and make plays. I always try to make a big play. I wish I could make a big play on every play. That's why it's a team game. I just want to go out there and get some more."

On what he expects from the Buckeyes: "They are going to come after us. We know they are going to come after us, and they know that we know they are going to come after us. That's fun. That's why it's football. You're going to go up against different teams, different schemes, different athletes every week - different personnel every week. They are very well coached just like Boise State was very well coached. And we are very well coached. Everyone is coached well to do what they do, and they are going to come out, come after us, pound it and take their deep shots, and our defense is going to step up just like they did last week. And as a defense, they are going to keep it simple and come after us with the blitzes. They are going to stay home, they are going to be disciplined, and we need to execute like we do every day in practice and do our thing."

On looking at this game when he was being recruited: "You always look at the schedule when you're getting recruited, and I think I saw schedules all the way up to 2010. Every schedule is hard at the University of Washington. This year they are saying it's the toughest schedule in the nation. And it's a great opportunity for us to go out there and try to conquer it every day."

On having this schedule, as opposed to Ohio State's schedule: "I love this schedule. Everyone doubted us the first two weeks, and we came out and played our game. I'm sure they are going to be doubting us this week too. They are ranked No. 10 in the nation, and their defense is the best in the nation, and we're just going to go out there and play our game again. This is what you live for. This is why you signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Washington - to play with great tradition. And Ohio State is going to come in with their great tradition, and we're going to play ball. Because no matter what the stats say, no matter what the schedule says, no matter what the critics say, no matter what the point spread is, you have to get on the field, come to Husky Stadium and play the game of football. We're ready for every game. We don't play any 1-AA teams or anything, but no matter who it is, we're ready to play. You've seen it with so many upsets, you still have to come out and play the game of football."
CB Roy Lewis
On getting hurt during the BSU game: "I had a few things bugging me, but as a Husky, that mentality - that Purple Hurt, tough-Husky mentality - has to kick in. I go down, stay out a play, and come back in. The team needs me and that's the way it has to be, and that's what I would expect out of any other Husky on the team. I had some cramps and I got hit in the wrong area (groin). I had to go out. That was pretty painful too. Those kinds of things happen during the course of a game. Those are obstacles that you have to overcome. You have to get back out there and continue to play."

On the name 'Purple Hurt': "We were in the team room talking, and it's the mentality that the older teams had. Purple Swarm - guys just used to go down and get after guys - pin their ears back and get the job done by any means necessary. I know that our d-line has been watching a lot of that old film, and with Coach Hart they've seen how those d-lines played. They are trying to adopt that attitude - let's get it done, let's get after guys. And as you've seen, our d-line has been playing like a bunch of crazy dawgs."

On the origins of the name 'Purple Hurt': "I think it was Fred Wiggs who said the term 'Purple Hurt' to me, and I was like, 'Wow, I like it. I like it'. I think it was a couple weeks ago, right before we travelled out for the Syracuse game."

On the importance of a defense having a name or identity: "I like it. I enjoy it. It's fun to play around with it. It's nice to have an identity, something you want to be known for. I think it's a great thing to try and live up to."

On playing special teams: "Kickoff team is like the first play of defense. It sets the tempo. You go down there and you set the tempo for the game."

On his big hit on special teams setting the tempo for his day: "I think so. I liked it. I heard a little bit of the crowd reaction, but I didn't get to see what happened. I just had a chance to make a play so I caught him while he was off-balance and capitalized on that."

On his reaction to being named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week: "I was surprised. It was as much a shock for me as everyone else. I usually don't try to get into all that accolades stuff. I just play football. I don't read the papers. I just play football, prepare for the next game and let my game try and do the talking for me."


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