Dec. 28, 2016
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Q. As good as Deshaun Watson is, one of the things he does is turning the ball over a lot. He’s got 15 interceptions. You’re opportunistic. You look at this as a great matchup for the defense?
MALIK HOOKER: We haven’t really paid attention to how many turnovers he’s had this year because we know he’s still a Heisman-candidate quarterback and one of the better players in college football. So really that doesn’t really mean too many things, because at any given moment he can go out and make a play for his team.
Q. Coach Meyer repeated for days you’re not strong Malik, you’re not strong. What did that mean and how did you react to that?
MALIK HOOKER: That means that not everybody is performing at the highest level that we’re supposed to be performing at. We take that as sort of an insult, because if we’re not performing at the highest level that means we’re capable of losing the game and that’s not something we want to do.
Q. Does it get you guys to refocus?
MALIK HOOKER: It definitely humbles a lot of us and makes us focus on what the objective was for the season which was winning the National Championship. If you don’t win this game, then we’re not capable of doing it. So without this game, we’re not focusing, then we’re not going to be able to play in the National Championship.
Q. Can you go into your decision not to go into the NFL draft?
MALIK HOOKER: Honestly I haven’t been thinking about that. I said I was coming back, just simply so everybody knows that I’m not really looking at that decision right now. So I’ll probably sit down and talk with my family maybe after the season, sit down and talk to my coaches, and we’ll go from there.
Q. When you were coming out of high school I think you were a top 50 basketball recruit. What made you choose football?
MALIK HOOKER: I felt it was a better path for me and before I made my decision, talked to my uncle, my coaches and my family and we felt it was a better path for me to take to be successful in the future.
Q. What schools were offering you basketball scholarship?
MALIK HOOKER: I didn’t even look. I committed early in my junior season I didn’t have a chance to look at it.
Q. People feel you’re here sooner than expected. (Indiscernible)?
MALIK HOOKER: I never really bought into that because we was with each other — most of the guys playing is from the class of 2014. So you know we knew each other and we’ve been through the hardest part of the program with each other. So people saying we was a young team, we never really bought into that.
Q. Do you think Deshaun Watson is going to be the best quarterback you faced all year?
MALIK HOOKER: Probably, I think he is. He’s capable of throwing the ball 65 yards with ease and he’s capable of running the ball as well. So I don’t think we have seen many quarterbacks this year that has the fundamentals and technique that he has. So, yeah, I definitely feel he’s one of the better quarterbacks we’ve seen this year.
Q. What have you guys done differently to prepare for him?
MALIK HOOKER: We really haven’t done nothing differently. We’re just hands-on, the way we approached the game this week. We just took a lot more into studying film and technique and stuff like that on the field but we really didn’t change too much how we approached it.
Q. Clemson’s Jadar Johnson made it pretty clear they’re not impressed with J.T. Barrett. You see him every day in practice. What do you think about that?
MALIK HOOKER: I didn’t pay too much attention. J.T. is our quarterback. He’s one of the leaders of our team. I feel like he’s one of the better players on our team so really didn’t pay no mind to no comments like that.
Q. Did you make anything of that material, do you use that?
MALIK HOOKER: No, we just go out there — we control what we can control. We don’t pay attention to comments and stuff like that. Because at the end of the day it’s not going to make us better.
CHRIS WORLEY: They have a great quarterback, they have a great team. We feel like we have the same thing. So may the best team win on Saturday.
Q. What’s your assessment of Clemson’s run game? Comment on their ability to average about 170 yards a game?
CHRIS WORLEY: They’re really dynamic. Gallman, he’s a really good running back, one of the best we’ve seen all year. And we’ve played against some really good running backs this year. If you look at the Oklahoma running backs, Saquon, Corey Clement is a really good running back. So we’ve played against some really good backs. This is just another challenge.
And no matter what game you’re in if you don’t stop the run you most likely won’t win it. That’s one of our biggest keys for our defense, stop the run. So we have to stop them.
Q. You’re going to have a lot of issues with the offensive line with regard to the schemes and things along those lines. How do you see that offensive front playing out as well?
CHRIS WORLEY: Just like stopping the run, another key for any team to win is the front guys have to play well, whether that’s the offensive line or defensive line. It all starts up front. And if our front don’t manage the game, it’s really hard for the rest of the team to react off of them. So it all starts up front, and we have a tremendous amount of faith in our guys. It’s another one of those battles within the game that’s going to be a dogfight.
CHRIS WORLEY: Coach Meyer, he’s a fiery guy. And once it gets closer and closer to game time, his message goes from a little storm to an earthquake as soon as we get closer to the game. If you guys could hear him, he was fired up. And he got us ready to practice. So that’s who Coach Meyer is. He’s a fiery guy.
Q. What does it mean to you and your teammates that Ohio State is a program that’s had such an extensive history in Arizona and a lot of success in the Fiesta Bowl?
CHRIS WORLEY: Here at Ohio State, there’s a tremendous amount of expectations. And with that you have to live up to it, and there’s no mistake about it. It’s one of the greatest programs of all time. Like you said we’ve had a good amount of success here at the Fiesta Bowl. So the only way to maintain that is if we win.
Q. Is it nice coming back to the same area for the second year in a row, playing in the same stadium, knowing the routine and lay of the land?
CHRIS WORLEY: Ohio State have a tremendous fan base here. And we love it and we look forward to playing here. And we were excited to come back here.
Q. You were at Notre Dame Prep yesterday and Pinnacle High School last year that you practiced at. Any difference in the two practice facilities?
CHRIS WORLEY: Not really. I mean, they were pretty similar. But I feel like we had a better view of the mountains. Guys were prepractice and stretch lines, it’s, like, look at that mountain. We weren’t this close to the mountain in the last place. But it’s just respect from being new. Last year we probably were the same distance from the mountain but just being here again is just crazy.
Q. Seems like a nice story line your defense versus Clemson offense. Do you take that as a challenge to make sure you come out on top in that battle of the two top —
CHRIS WORLEY: Yes, I mean, as long as I’ve been alive I’ve always been taught defense wins championships. And even when you play against a great offense with a great amount of talent, at the end of the day you have to stop them more than they (indiscernible) stop our offense.
If we do that, technically we should win. But I mean there’s different aspects of the game that comes into account like special teams, things like that. So you can’t just say, oh, if our defense play better than their defense we’re going to win a game because that don’t have to be true. But at the same time our whole objective is play better than their defense.
LUKE FICKELL: … the way he runs the entire program. It’s an extreme ownership. And I think that’s the difference, when all of a sudden you start to see, and I know the playoffs are different in the sense that you start to see some of these guys that maybe aren’t playing or what’s their motivation to play in some of these games.
This isn’t that. But the reality is the way the program is run with everybody so fully invested, and I’m talking about as a coach whether you’ve got another job or a player that might be thinking about the NFL, the ability to be so fully invested when you get to these situations, and last year was a great example.
And some people would say, okay, you’re not in the playoffs, you’re guys maybe disappointed in where you are and what you’re doing. The reality for those guys to come out, guys like Zeke Elliott and Joey Bosa to come out and play the way they were playing, the focus they were doing, it’s not just something you do in the postseason; it’s something that your entire program is built around.
I know it’s one of those huge things that I’ve learned in the last five years with Coach that you don’t just bottle this thing up for this last four weeks to say, hey, let’s make this run and how do we do this. It’s the way you run the entire program, the ownership that each and every one of these guys take in it as well as coaches.
That’s what bodes well at the end of the year.
Q. How does he know when to push harder and when to (indiscernible)?
LUKE FICKELL: I think his ability to push all the time is the key. And I think keeping that pressure on guys and understanding that. But if you change who you are, I think, is really difficult, because guys can’t get a little bit more adapted. And not saying comfortable, but they can’t understand exactly what the situation is. And Coach’s ability to be who he is all the time is, I think, what gives us that extra edge. It’s not like, okay, this week we’re going to change up, I’m going to be a funny, humorous guy. I’m going to have a lot of fun. No, no. Those guys know who he is. They know how he goes about his business.
That’s the way the program is built. And I think that’s what gives you the opportunity, consistency in your leadership, because he’s a masterful motivator. On a daily basis, his ability to do that. But it’s the consistency he has on a daily basis that those guys believe in it.
Q. If everybody knows the stakes of the game, (indiscernible)?
LUKE FICKELL: They’re 18- to 22-year-olds and motivation is the biggest thing that you can do with 18- to 22-year-olds. We have an ownership we talked about in our program, but the reality is we’re going to practice 15 times for this game. And all of a sudden you keep counting that down and counting it down, another practice, another practice, every day there has to be a little something.
That’s what Coach does an unbelievable job of. And for the ability to create some of that controversy, create some of that bulletin board material, we all need stimulation. And I think that’s the thing that Coach does such a great job of. But when you can get outside sources to be able to help you you’re always looking for ways to motivate your guys.
LUKE FICKELL: It starts with the management of the game. Obviously we played these guys four years ago and they had some incredible wideouts and those abilities with Sammy Watkins and those guys, but the ability for Deshaun to actually truly make every throw, the deep balls are the ones that he throws an unbelievable ball on. It’s not just the wideouts.
Everybody’s a viable option. Obviously we know he can run, but his ability to have the balance to be able to do it all is the thing that makes them to me the most explosive. You can’t say, okay, we’re going to stop the run and we’re going to make them beat us throwing. We can’t say, okay, we’re going to stop the pass, make them beat us with the run. The balance of what they do, his ability not to only throw the deep ball but to make every throw, I think, is what really, really makes him go.
Q. How many hours are you sleeping a night?
LUKE FICKELL: I don’t know. Sleep’s overrated. Sleep plenty some day when you’re dead. So don’t try to overdo it a little bit. Again, we know the most important — one of the things for us is we’ve got to have the energy for our kids.
If we don’t have the ability to turn some of the stuff off, focus in, lock in, get some rest and have the ability to have your energy when we go to practice, when we get around our guys, we’d be doing it a disservice.
So, yeah, there’s not nearly as much, the mind starts to race but the reality is that ability to focus back and say, okay, where has my energy got to be spent. When we get our four, five hours with our guys we’ve got to be on our toes and have the utmost energy. We can’t be tired because we haven’t had enough rest. The ability to balance those things as a coach is what we’ve got to do to be able to give our kids the most.
TYQUAN LEWIS: Coach Mick, he’s going to try to get everything out of you the Wednesday, mad drills or the Harley Davidson work outs, or the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. All those workouts and preseason training camp, summer runs, all those things bring us together even more because you have guys who like are almost broken down but you have guys like me or other leaders on the team who pick each other up and show love and care for one another. And that’s what makes us special.
Q. How about the hard times emotionally. For example, let me ask you this, would you say you felt more angry and hurt and frustrated about Michigan State loss last year or the Penn State loss this year?
TYQUAN LEWIS: I treat every loss the same. Just that loss in the pit of my stomach that I just can’t seem to get over. I say, like, this year, this is this year, not looking back at last year.
I mean, we move forward from that Penn State loss and we came out and we practiced and we played well the next week. Because we have to get it out of us. That’s just what we can’t do, we wanted to come out and dominate.
Q. That’s the interesting thing about this. You guys were almost the exact same thing. You were really talented team last year. Have one loss. Didn’t win the Big Ten but you didn’t make the playoff. A lot of people thought you should. This year it’s almost the same scenario but you did make the playoff. It’s kind of the randomness of the system. Have you guys thought much about that? It’s like you kind of don’t have control sometimes.
TYQUAN LEWIS: We don’t really think much about it, because like you said we don’t have any control over that. So I mean we control our own destiny. But sometimes it’s just not in our reach. So that was the main thing for us.
Q. Talk about the game, what do you expect out there? What do you expect for the team from that standpoint?
TYQUAN LEWIS: It’s going to be a very, very good game up front, because, like I said, they’re very good at what they do, have great coaches, great players. I mean, they probably have a great culture built just like us and it’s our culture versus their culture. And defensively speaking, we come ready to play every weekend. We practice very hard and these are the moments we live for as a defense.
Q. Talk about the Fiesta Bowl, all the stuff surrounding it that you guys are doing and going from place to place, talking to the media and all this?
TYQUAN LEWIS: The Fiesta Bowl, it’s a great place. I love Arizona. It’s my second time here. And last year I liked it a lot. Obviously the Buckeyes, we’re very familiar with the Fiesta Bowl. Coming here, it’s like almost like a second home. We have so many, like, Buckeye fans surrounding it.
It’s just a great time to be here. I appreciate everyone who, like, supported us through this time and allowing us to be here and just ready for the game now.
Q. Is this a long week or a quick week?
TYQUAN LEWIS: Since we’re not playing on the first or the second or the third, it’s kind of sort of like a quick week, because we just got back on Christmas Day and now we have to practice the next morning. And like everything’s like kind of sort of sped up a little bit.
SAM HUBBARD: I like being out here. I’ve got a lot of family out here and we’re happy to be here.
Q. Is there any added significance for your guys, sense to uphold the tradition of success?
SAM HUBBARD: I mean, we’re more focused on getting to the National Championship. Of course we always want to win, but we’ve had a lot of experience out here. I think that’s going to help us just from past experiences.
Q. Knowing how close you were last year, though, to playing in the playoffs, was it difficult to watch the championship game being played out here last year considering you played in the Fiesta Bowl just a couple days before?
SAM HUBBARD: Yeah, it was tough, especially when we thought we should be there. And that’s what I had in my mind all offseason, spring ball and why I want to get back out here so bad. And I’m glad we’re here.
Q. What do you see in a guy like Deshaun Watson, his athleticism, and that offense that they run? And have you seen any teams this year in the Big Ten or Oklahoma similar?
SAM HUBBARD: Yeah, he does a great job of extending plays and controlling the game. They’ve got a dynamic offense and a lot of weapons. And he reminds me of J.T. a lot with how he avoids pressure and controls the game. But we’ve seen a lot of great quarterbacks this year, and I think he’s definitely one of the better ones. And we’ve got a challenge to stop them and stop the whole offense.
Q. Coach Meyer said, four days, you’re not strong. And he’s been saying that for 20 days now. What is your personal reaction to that? Does it get repetitive or does it actually continue to motivate you through time?
SAM HUBBARD: I think it’s just a daily reminder that we’ve got to be nine strong and just to focus on my unit and myself to be ready to play the game and take advantage of every opportunity to prepare. And the most prepared team is going to win. So I like it as a daily reminder. But it does get repetitive, though.
Q. Are you guys doing anything particularly different specifically to prepare for Deshaun?
SAM HUBBARD: We’ve had I think over 700-something snaps from Clemson from our scout team this bowl season. So we’ve had a lot of preparation. We’ve had a lot of different looks. We’ve had different scout teams, quarterbacks.
We’ve had scrambling guys come in there help us out. Eric Glover-Williams. We’ve had Dwayne Haskins come in there and throw the ball all over the place.
We’ve done a lot of things and we’re prepared for a lot of stuff. And I think that these last two days we’ll wrap it up and be ready.
Q. Brian Hartline too?
SAM HUBBARD: That was pretty cool. He was giving more work to the corners than me. But he was doing a good job. Glad to be out there helping us out. We had some other guys, Zach Boren and Bobby Carpenter out there helping us too.
Q. Why is it important to get those different looks, to have different guys?
SAM HUBBARD: Just because he can do a lot of things. And we don’t have guys that can do all this stuff that he can do. And we want to see it all. And just being prepared for all that.
You just gotta do it in practice be able to do it in the game. You’re not just going to show up on Saturday and be able to do it.
Q. How is having a month to prepare for a team, how has that helped you — of course it’s going to help you but can you overthink, overknow, over and over and over again, of course — they’ve had time to prepare for you and they’re going to bring their A game?
SAM HUBBARD: Yeah, I think that we do — at Ohio State Coach Meyer and his staff have a really — we do it the same every year. We prepare for bowl games the same way. They’ve been very successful.
We break it down into three phases. The first is fundamentals. The second is game plan. And the third is finishing up the final touches.
And it really keeps you focused on one thing at a time and doesn’t put too much pressure on you for the game. So I think we do a good job with our bowl prep. And I feel like I’m ready to go. Not going to overthink it.
Q. Looking at Watson, what jumps out at you. Obviously runner-up in the Heisman. He has thrown 15 picks. He’s been sacked and what do you see when you see this kid?
SAM HUBBARD: I see a competitor, very mobile. Great accuracy. Great arm. And great ability to extend plays with weapons all over. So we’ve got our hands all over. They’re very similar to our offense and our scheme and what they do, and we see it every day in practice and we’ve got some stuff ready for them. So we’ll be ready on Saturday.
Q. What’s it like playing in front of guys (indiscernible) Latimores? And you’ve seen what they’ve done with the interceptions. Being up front and trying to get pressure on the quarterback, trying to get him uncomfortable, knowing that those guys back there can pick him off, what’s that like? How much of a motivation?
SAM HUBBARD: It gives you a lot more confidence, I feel like, to know that they’re behind you. And just we pressure them, they pick them off. So that’s what we do. It all ties in together. I think that having a great secondary comes from having a great “D” line and a great “D” line comes from having a great secondary.
So the fact they’re playing really well helps our game.
GREG SCHIANO: Probably, that’s one of the things when you’re on such a talented offense. Not overlooked by us, I can tell you that. We know what he’s capable of. It’s one of those deals, you better take care of every phase or you’ll have a problem at the one that you didn’t really focus on.
So that’s been our challenge as a coaching staff, is to prepare our guys for every different phase of their offense.
Q. How do you handle a stable of wide receivers they have, especially a guy that’s so big like Mike Williams?
GREG SCHIANO: That’s one of the big challenges. And on top of that you have a guy that can get him the football anywhere on the field. He can get it when he’s moving. He can get it when he’s stationary in the pocket. So it’s a huge challenge.
Probably the best — not probably, the best unit of receivers that we’ve ever played, certainly Mike is an elite level guy, but I think the guys that surround him are not far back. That’s what makes it a challenge.
If you had one great receiver you can do certain things to take him out of the game or limit his chances to touch the ball. But when you do that you leave yourself exposed in other places but you can’t in this offense. The other guys will beat you there. So you gotta play more balanced up and hope that you can — you’re not going to win every battle but hope you win your share.
Q. Tell us about Urban’s approach that’s so successful. What do you think goes into it?
GREG SCHIANO: Well, he certainly has a strong set of beliefs on how to approach the postseason. Very similar to the way that I had done it as a head coach. So it’s very comfortable for me. There’s no guesswork involved.
You get to the point in your career where you’ve done it; it’s been successful. And I think everybody in the organization gains confidence from that knowing that the leader knows exactly what he wants to do in these next 26, 30 days, whatever it is.
There’s different phases in bowl preparation. It can’t be just getting ready for the game the whole time. Otherwise you’ll end up, I don’t know if burned out is the word, but bored.
So we basically have three different phases in our preparation. And that’s worked very well.
Q. Two years ago, Ohio State was tackling in practice up until the day before the National Championship game. Let’s talk about that. Is that still the same deal, are you guys going live right up until the day before the game?
GREG SCHIANO: Pick your spots, yes. As long as you have shoulder pads on, there’s certain things we’ll do live.
When you look at bowl games, it’s much like first and second games in the season. Really, first games. Because if you’re not careful, in first games, what do you look at? Special teams aren’t real good and tackling. Those are the two things that really jump out. Bowl games are the same.
So if you tackle in your preparation, I think you can nullify that one bad thing that can happen. And then if you really work some special teams at a high rate of speed. I’m not saying live special teams, that’s too dangerous, but you really work them at a high rate of speed and you frequently do them, you can kind of get that out of the way as well.
Those are two areas that I think long layoffs affect the most.
Q. Marshon Lattimore, came into this season, redshirted, barely played last year. First-round pick if he leaves. What’s enabled him to make that kind of a jump as far as his play?
GREG SCHIANO: I think a couple things: Number one, he’s an exceptional athlete. Physically very, very gifted. Tremendous hand-eye coordination. I think if we moved Marshon over to the other side of the ball, he would be one of the best receivers on the team. That’s the kind of athlete he is.
But what he’s been able to do, you mentioned he had injuries his first two years, he’s been able to learn how to manage his body and take care of his body like a pro, and that’s allowed him to go out and play consistently week after week after week, which allows him to make those plays.
Q. I heard the medical staff doing something like new age with him, his hamstring, could you talk about what they’ve done with him?
GREG SCHIANO: Really, Coach Mick and the whole staff are on the cutting edge with everything we do, without a doubt the best I’ve ever been around, and I think the best in America. So whatever it takes to be able to get that player to perform at a high level, that’s what our performance specialists do.
There’s a lot of different things they’ve done with testing and strength training as well as just the gear that he wears. So I think no stone is unturned when it comes to their performance.
Q. When you look at — let’s start over. You’ve been in this business a long time, when you look at Deshaun, where does he rank amongst some of the quarterbacks you’ve seen throughout your career?
GREG SCHIANO: He’s one of the elite ones that I’ve faced for a lot of reasons. One, he makes you play 11-on-11 football. He can run the football.
Number two, he’s got tremendous arm strength. So from any spot on the field, whether he’s in the pocket or he’s moving, by design movement passes or the play breaks down and he just uses his athleticism to get out, he can hit the — he can throw the ball 50, 60 yards down the field. That’s what makes you really have to be honest with every part of your coverage.
If for one minute you stop doing what you’re supposed to do, he’s going to find that. He’s that kind of player. And I mentioned it earlier in our preparation: He understands not only the plays they run, but he understands the game. You can see that. And great quarterbacks do. I think J.T. understands the game. So little things that he does that an inexperienced quarterback or a quarterback who doesn’t understand the bigger game within the game, as simple as I’m going to hand the ball off when we’re up by 30 even though my read tells me to keep it because we’ll gain three or four yards anyway and I won’t get hit.
Whereas, the game is on the line or in the red zone, I’m keeping the ball, I’m putting it in the end zone. I’m going to make the play because I’m the best player. That may sound really simple, but that’s hard to get guys to do for a lot of reasons. One, selfishness, they want plays.
You can see that he’s a mature quarterback as well as being one of the more gifted ones that I’ve seen.
Does it restrict you to play a lot of zone then because if you’re in man and —
RAEKWON MCMILLAN: No, our coaches have done a great job of sticking to what we do and we don’t have to change anything up.
Q. Is he the best quarterback you’ve ever faced this year?
RAEKWON MCMILLAN: I won’t know until after the game. I mean, you can base it off film against other teams, but I’m not really that kind of a guy to do that. So I won’t know until after the game. So you can ask me after.
Q. Question in terms of the running game.
RAEKWON MCMILLAN: Quarterback RPOs. Whenever you have an RPO, has a chance to get the ball or pass it to one of the best receivers on the team. So anytime you think it’s a run but then he pulls the ball and then throws it to the receiver. So if you’re making too much of him throwing it to the receiver, then he gives it to Wayne Gallman who is a running back, once he gets to the next level, it’s hard to take him down.
Q. Have you seen many running backs like Gallman in this season?
RAEKWON MCMILLAN: We’ve played against some great running backs, Wisconsin running back Corey Clement. Northwestern’s running back, he’s pretty decent. Played against good guys all year. Oklahoma’s running backs, I ain’t even said Oklahoma’s running backs. Both of them were special.
Q. Had you been to Arizona before last year’s game?
RAEKWON MCMILLAN: Had I been to Arizona? Yeah, I’ve been here before. I visited Phoenix and Scottsdale when I was younger. Don’t really remember it, but I’ve been here before.
Q. How did you like playing inside the University of Phoenix stadium?
RAEKWON MCMILLAN: I think it’s kind of weird how the stadium has grass but it’s indoors. The stadium rose up — the grass rolls out or something like that. I think it’s very unique. And just being able to play on grass inside, I think, is an awesome feel. And it’s one of the better stadiums in the nation.
Q. Do you feel like you’re a year ahead? Looking at the beginning of the season people prognosticated two or three losses, here or there. Seniors —
RAEKWON MCMILLAN: Two, three losses?
Q. Michigan. Michigan State.
RAEKWON MCMILLAN: Wow, you thought we were going to lose to the team up north?
Q. Do you feel like you guys are where you were two years ago?
RAEKWON MCMILLAN: I’m never going to roll through a season thinking I’m going to lose two, three games. That’s crazy.
I mean, I don’t feel like we’re a year ahead. We go out and we work hard. And I’m just baffled that you say we’re going to lose two, three games. I don’t know what to say.
I don’t ever think we’re going to lose two, three, games. I feel lie we go in there and put in work during the offseason just like any other team. And Coach Meyer never showed he was going to drop games like that.
RAEKWON MCMILLAN: I mean, that’s true as well. But we recruit — like I said, we recruit some of the best in the nation. We’ve got some of the best coaches. So I think we’ll be all right.
Q. Is your mentality then the beginning of each season that you’re going to be undefeated?
RAEKWON MCMILLAN: I mean, yeah, I don’t go into any stadium thinking I’m going to lose the game. Nobody ever rolls into the stadium thinking they’re going to lose. Maybe if you’re not in a top 10 program. But, I mean, I don’t really know how that feels, rolling into a stadium knowing that you’re going to lose a game.
Q. You guys have not been shy about approaching this as not just another game; it’s a big game. What’s that mindset like, especially for the younger guys to jump in and know that this is the semifinal?
RAEKWON MCMILLAN: Yeah, we’ve been playing in some big games over the last couple of weeks that have got us in the situation we’re in. And the older guys have done a great job of showing the younger guys that — I mean, this is it. This game is to play in the National Championship game.
And it’s nothing less than that. And we’re not going to sell it short because the young guys need to know and they need to have the experience of playing in the big game so they can get back, just like I was in my first year here at Ohio State. To be able to get back my junior year is a blessing.
Q. There’s been a lot of talk about J.T.’s quality of quarterback play. Is there anything that Deshaun Watson does that J.T. can’t do?
RAEKWON MCMILLAN: I mean, he might — I don’t know. I can’t really say. I don’t see them as very much different. They can both run. They’re both dual threat quarterbacks. They both have a winning record.
I think J.T.’s only lost three games here at Ohio State. And Clemson has probably lost the same amount. I don’t really know the records from two years ago. But he’s a winner. And that’s what I see in both of them, they’re both winners, and they both don’t sell their program short of anything.