Dec. 27, 2016
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COACH WARINNER: The schemes, sometimes it’s young receivers. It’s a combination. But if there was one thing that we just would put our finger on, we could probably have fixed that a little faster. But that’s one of the challenges we have is to try to be consistent in the passing game, but to be balanced, to be able to run the football and be able to throw it.
We love our players and love J.T. And so that’s been a big focus, like you said, in our preparation for this game, is how to be efficient there.
Q. How familiar are you with Brent Venables, and how hard is it to game plan when he throws that many looks at you?
COACH WARINNER: I’m familiar with Brent. I coached in the Big 12. I knew Brent back then. He left Oklahoma and went to Clemson. And we played against him a couple of years ago in the Orange Bowl. So he does a great job of mixing up his defenses and applying pressure. So I think Brent is an outstanding football coach. And he’ll have this team ready to go. And it will be exciting to see what they bring to the table, because they’ll have some wrinkles for us.
Q. Is it fair to say, though, that there’s no rhyme or reason down and distance to when he’s going to bring pressure, not bring pressure; he doesn’t follow the rule book, I guess?
COACH WARINNER: Yeah, I think he doesn’t have tendencies. If you mean — if you really study the whole body of work for the season, it’s hard to say that they have tremendous tendencies, which I think is intentional. And I think that’s also what makes them good is they have really good players and they aren’t predictable. Therefore, they’re hard to game plan.
Q. Has Noah been a marked man since Oklahoma; does he draw that extra attention?
COACH WARINNER: I think people are very aware of where he is in certain situations, yes, I do. But you know he’s a guy that, again, we need to get him involved and have him make some plays for us.
Q. I want to go back to the Clemson defensive line. It’s a little different than Michigan or Penn State or Michigan State even more edge-based as opposed to Clemson is a little stronger in the middle. Does that play into your strengths a little bit on the offensive line, or is that something you guys are preparing for a little bit differently?
COACH WARINNER: Not necessarily. I mean, they are stout inside. They do have some big run-stoppers in there that play fast and they do rotate people through there. So they have a lot of depth.
But, I mean, we just have to see how our players match up as the game goes and try to get a feel for.
Q. You have two offensive lineman, All-Americans in 42 years or something. And we spend so much time talking about the offensive line how it’s not where it needs to be. Is there an opportunity to really, for Michael and maybe even Isaiah this week, to step up and try and show that they’ve taken that step?
COACH WARINNER: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we’ve had some great preparation. Those guys have made improvements even at this point in the season. There’s been room for improvement, and they’ve done it. I like how they prepared.
And so, yeah, collectively as a group, that group needs to play well against a really good defensive front for us to have success.
Q. Negative plays, looking back at what happened, seems like Jamarco Jones as a whole came out it pretty well but everyone had a glaring breakdown. How can you avoid that one that changes the game, I guess? What can you do — I know it’s going to be difficult but —
COACH WARINNER: It’s hard this pinpoint that. It’s hard to say. That’s one of the things we’ve played some of the top defenses in this country this year. If you really look at the people we played on our schedule. And defensively they’re where they stand statistically on the year, and so that’s the challenge we have and we’re playing another good one.
Q. What is defined in that defensive line group right now? Was everything that’s been said about the unit and how they played the back end of the season?
COACH WARINNER: Oh, I think with the leaders we have and with Pat and Billy in there, that they have a good mindset, that they’ve worked hard, that they are accepting the challenge to play at a high level because they know they need to. We plan on — we expect them to. We plan on them doing that, and they’ve — wow, have they worked hard in this month of December. Since we played our last game, the amount of time they put in with the coaches and the amount of time they put in without coaches around to just continue to grow as a unit.
And I think it will be fun to watch.
Q. (Indiscernible) a group which is typically anonymous gets a lot of attention.
COACH WARINNER: Yeah, usually that’s something they’re not used to. And usually it’s not for — that position is usually you don’t want to talk about the offensive line unless there’s a problem.
And so it is what it is. But I mean they’re mature guys, and they’re good football players. And they’ve worked hard. They’ll be ready to go.
Q. Were you able to bring in former guys to work them, give them some reps?
COACH WARINNER: Yeah, we had a couple of guys come in and practice with us. Bobby Carpenter and Zach Boren came in and practiced with us and they lined up on defense. One played linebacker. Well Bobby played outside linebacker like a D end, rush end, and Zach played inside linebacker. So it was good to have them out at practice a couple days last week. We enjoyed that.
Q. Clemson will line up three 300-pounders on their defensive line usually every snap including Christian Wilkins, sometimes four 300-pounders. Did you see that before do they remind you of anyone because of their size?
COACH WARINNER: No, I don’t think we’ve seen that kind of size in a group that’s that deep. So I think that will be probably the first time, yeah.
Q. What do you think about Christian Wilkins, who plays that defensive end position after moving from tackle? Just your thoughts on watching him on film?
COACH WARINNER: Good football player. Physical. I think he uses his hands well. I think that’s why they were able to move him out there, and he has a good first step. So I think they thought he could handle the edge and they put him out there and he’s done a nice job for them. Really nice job.
Q. You mentioned you brought Carpenter to play as scouts. Any former players that you had come play on the scout team?
COACH WARINNER: I’m not sure the total number. Hartline, a wide receiver that played for us, came and helped the defense, played some wide receiver for them. That was most recently with the Browns. But the two guys that helped us were Zach Boren and Bobby Carpenter.
Q. Fun thing to bring the guys back?
COACH WARINNER: They did a great job. And it was fun to have them there, and they understood what they were there to do, and it wasn’t just to have a flashback moment for them. It was about helping us. And that’s the great thing about Buckeyes is they love to help Buckeyes so it was good to have them.
Q. I know you watched film. When you see Deshaun Watson and J.T. Barrett, can you tell me about the similarities of the two guys and the difference in those two guys?
COACH WARINNER: Both of us want the ball in their hands in big-time situations and big games. And both of us have won a lot of football games with those two guys at quarterback. I would imagine, because I don’t know him, he’s a tremendous leader. I can just tell by listening to him talk that he has leadership qualities. I imagine that we know from video evidence and watching him play he’s an outstanding athlete.
So I think they’re what people look for in spread offenses at quarterback — a versatile, athletic leader, tough, can run the ball and make plays in the passing game when they need to.
And he’s had a great run there. And J.T.’s had a great run for us. So I think it’s an interesting point you make that both teams are where we’re at, at least offensively, because of the leadership and the play of those two guys.
Q. … throwing the football, pitch and catch, connecting, protecting, all of that?
J.T. BARRETT: I mean, I think everybody, the main thing was we have like three phases into what we try to do, and so the first phase is fundamentals, and that’s for everybody.
So, like you said, if it was quarterbacks, it was footwork, fundamentals and getting to the receivers so it would be easy pitch and catch on things. O linemen, making sure they get their steps right as far as pass blocking and the run game as well.
So it was for everybody involved, not just offense, also defense, to make sure they was getting back to the fundamentals so we could still be fundamentally sound when it comes game time.
Q. Do you think it’s better?
J.T. BARRETT: Yes, sir.
Q. What’s your assessment of this Clemson defensive line, and where would they compare to maybe some of the other teams you face this year?
J.T. BARRETT: Yeah, I mean, they’ve got some dudes, that’s for sure. I think they’re at there at the top as far as just disrupting things. I think as a defensive line that’s what you try to do is just cause havoc. I think they do a good job of that.
Defense as a whole, they have a lot of things that they like to do, which makes them not predictable. So you kind of — you have an idea of what they like to do, but then, too, you don’t know because they’ve got a mix of everything.
Q. How ready do you feel this offense is? And is this game on this big a stage — you want to be playing your best this time of the year. Where do you see this offense?
J.T. BARRETT: I like where we’re at right now, I think we’re going to be at a good place. I think with the preparation this week for game week, this portion of things that we’ve already done in bowl practice, I think we’re going to be ready when game time comes. So I like where we’re at.
I have confidence in the things that we’re doing. I think, like I said, with the preparation, the extra preparation we had this week, I think it’s going to be really good for us and just help us all be more right for the game.
Q. You told me you felt like the passing game was right there, just a little hitch there, whatever. You guys worked — I know Coach talked about it in real hard in practice to fine tune, where is the passing game right now?
J.T. BARRETT: Like I said, we’ve got a good spot, I think, as a whole on the offense. I think we’re trusting in what the coaches are telling us as far as players believing in the fundamentals and then also, too, the things that are being called and going out and executing them to the best we can.
Like I said, I like where we’re at. I think what we’re going to do this next week is going to help us, and so we’ll see.
Q. J.T. and you Deshaun Watson became friends at quarterback camp. You know each other well. Did you ever talk about or even dream about meeting each other on this sort of stage?
J.T. BARRETT: No, we talked about it at the beginning of the season. Kind of like any top team in the country you see yourself at the end of the year being in the playoffs and things like that. And early in the year, it was, like, hopefully I’ll see you at the end. And sure enough we’re here.
But like I said, I think as individuals we have that set out for ourselves and our teams. But then I think being friends and being able to go against each other just makes it all the better.
Q. Two of these teams are very young, do you think experience is overrated?
J.T. BARRETT: I don’t think it’s overrated. I think it comes into play at different times when it needs to be. I think also, too, is how your season goes has a lot to do with how experienced you could be.
I think with our schedule and the way things played out, we grew up really fast. And I mean the road games we had and also, too, just the tight games in general, I think that helped us a lot and being able to get the experience we needed to put ourselves in a position to play at this type of game.
So I think that plays a lot into how your season goes, because I feel like if it was not challenging to a young team, then there’s going to be a time where there were challenges and they may not respond the way they needed to.
Q. What’s your thoughts on Boulware and the way he plays the game?
J.T. BARRETT: He’s around the ball. I think with him, he’s just one of those playmakers, ball-seekers. I think he does a great job of, like, deciphering plays, like what the offense is trying to do.
I think he’s instinctive in that way. But he’s definitely a ball player, finds himself around the ball a lot.
Q. Considering how many big games are played (indiscernible), how does this feel (indiscernible) than any other game?
J.T. BARRETT: I think at Ohio State we do play in a lot of big games, but I’m not going to sit here and lie and say like this is another, like another game, because it’s not. Like we’re talking about the College Football Playoffs, and we’re talking about the chance to go play for a national championship.
So to sit there and say that, I think that’s not the truth. But I think we understand what it takes in order to win the big games because the preparation that we put into it. But it still intensifies and just there’s more focus into this type of game because knowing the responsibility and the stakes that’s within it.
Q. When you look at all the Ohio State past national championships, how much does that make you lock in to this week and make you want to be a part of it?
J.T. BARRETT: Honestly, I don’t even think about that, really. I mean, that’s one reason why you came because you understand the tradition and things like that. But when it comes into game weeks and playing for the national championship, you try to focus on the moment and understand it’s already a responsibility for playing for Ohio State but also, too, just make sure that you go out there and play your best.
So I think, I don’t know, I never really thought about it. But definitely is already a responsibility to be an Ohio State player. So you just try to go out there and play the best for the fans and for your teammates.
CURTIS SAMUEL: I can assume that they’re going to try to game plan on certain guys. But if you put all three of us in the backfield, I don’t really know what they can do. They don’t know if it could be a pass or run. We could do a whole bunch of different things they got to worry about — three different runners in the backfield.
That’s a great weapon that we have. And it kind of confuses the defense a little bit, has them thinking a little bit.
Q. You give Coach Meyer a month to get ready he’s got a record that speaks for itself. What’s he been like this month getting ready for this game? And why is he so successful?
CURTIS SAMUEL: He’s been great. We have some fun times, we have some laughs, but when it’s time to lock in we lock in. But he just helps us understand the moment, really, just understand where we’re at, how we got here. Don’t never change. When you get to a bigger stage and just be at the state of where you was, but just to trying improve and execute on the little things.
But it’s been fun with Coach Meyer. He’s great at what he do, his record shows you give him some time he definitely is going to be able to pick apart the defense and I feel like it’s great having him.
Q. Is there some comfort in the fact you guys played in this stadium last year? It’s a little different NFL stadium and you had success in this stadium. Any comfort level for you there?
CURTIS SAMUEL: I guess a little bit, just because we played there last year. But no matter where we play I feel comfortable all the time. It doesn’t really matter to me.
Q. Coach Dabo Swinney compares the way they use you (indiscernible) walk in. Is there anyone you table your game around, the varied things you do?
CURTIS SAMUEL: No, not really no more. I mean, when I was younger I used to think about Percy Harvin, but now as my game is evolving I don’t really think about that too much about that too much. I just try to be the best player I can be and do all the things the coaches need me to do.
Q. Is there any particular facet you enjoy the most (indiscernible) the passing game, the running game (indiscernible)?
CURTIS SAMUEL: No, I find my game is pretty even. I love doing both whether it’s running the ball or running down the field catching the ball. I feel excited about doing both of them.
Q. Every great player visualizes a game. Do you and how does this game compare?
CURTIS SAMUEL: Growing up, one of my coaches always told me, if you can’t see it it will never happen. So usually before games I picture myself doing something spectacular. I picture the team doing spectacular even before the play. Even before the play is ran, I picture myself doing something spectacular. So it doesn’t surprise me when I probably scoring a long run or catching a long pass because I seen it happen already.
Q. You talked about Clemson’s defensive line. What else on the defense stands out to you?
CURTIS SAMUEL: They have good linebacker play. They play together. They send a bunch of different blitzes, come at you at different ways. Their DBs are sound. They don’t make many mistakes. And I feel like that’s what makes a defense good, not making too many mistakes and playing together.
Q. Do they remind you of anybody that you played with before?
CURTIS SAMUEL: Probably, I don’t know, we played against a bunch of good defensive teams. So I’m not sure.
Q. With as many big games on the schedule as there is with Ohio State, how much does this compare to a normal week, or do you start to feel extra nerves, extra big stage here?
CURTIS SAMUEL: No. Not at all. I feel like this is as important as any other game we played this year, because if those games weren’t important we wouldn’t be here now. If we didn’t win those games we wouldn’t be here now. So, we played against a bunch of great teams this year so far. So I don’t really feel no pressure in this game at all.
Q. What about the history with Ohio State, winning national championships. You want to be able to join that group to be a part of a national championship group?
CURTIS SAMUEL: Oh, it would definitely be great. My freshman year I was a part of it. But I did the little things, like special teams, which I’m proud I was able to be out there with those guys, just being able to contribute in some type of way. It didn’t upset me that I wasn’t out there running plays, but I was happy to do anything for those guys and just being a junior now and being able to try to accomplish something like that will be special and will be great for me just understanding that I had a big role in that year and being able to look back and just understand that it was a great year for everybody. And the guys that wasn’t part of the team in 2014 was a part of it in 2016.
MIKE WEBER: They’re really fast on the back end. They have really good, athletic corners and safeties. And their “D” lineman are really tough and gritty down there in the trenches. And it’s going to be a tough game.
You expect to play against really good competition at this level. And we just — the most prepared team will win this game. That’s what we’re focusing on.
Q. (Indiscernible) what’s it like to be a part of this?
MIKE WEBER: It’s an honor. There’s a lot of great running backs that came through here — from Archie Griffin to Zeke. It’s good to be a part of that and to say I played for Ohio State. And to play in that category of guys, it’s a blessing. I thank God for it every day.
Q. You have to throw the ball to compete in this game?
MIKE WEBER: We don’t know right now. But I feel like if we run the ball really good, we can win this game. I feel like we’ve been running the ball all year, and if we run the ball this game and possibly the next game, I think we can win it all.
Q. This year has been your first — first start, first touchdown. What are you expecting in your first playoff game to be like?
MIKE WEBER: To play the best game I can play. Block the best block, blocking, and run the ball the best way I can, catch the ball the best way I can.
And I just really expect to be a really big impact in these playoffs and hopefully I will.
Q. Question about J.T.
MIKE WEBER: When defenses key on different guys they open up different ways for other guys. And I feel like J.T. being a threat and Curtis being a threat to our offense, it opens up things for me, and I open up things for Curtis, and I open up things for J.T., and J.T. open up things for Curtis. We all work together. And I feel like us three together is really hard to stop.
Q. Can you describe J.T.’s leadership style?
MIKE WEBER: J.T. is probably one of the best leaders on the team. He’s so poised when it comes to like tough situations. And he knows how to handle tough situations. And I feel like when things are not going well, he’s really calm and just knows how to handle different things.
And that rubs off on different guys on the team and I feel like it helped us a lot this year.
Q. So much history of Ohio State football and the national championships. What would it mean to join this group, make a run at the national championship, to actually join a group of national champions?
MIKE WEBER: It’s an honor, like I said. A lot of people didn’t really think we was going to be that good, be here this year, because of how young we were. And I knew it the whole time what we were, and all we had to do was work hard and listen to the coaches and follow the game plan. And we did it this year and now we have a lot of work to do still. And if we continue to do that and continue to be the team we need to be good things will happen.
Q. Is it kind of a special group of guys being so young and making a run at it? Or are those things overrated in college football? What’s your perspective on it?
MIKE WEBER: I feel like it’s a special group. We’ve been through a lot of things, especially not playing last year and going through a lot of tough times. And I feel like we all came through the adversity as young players. And we had a hard time and it’s paying off right now.
Q. Can you talk about how it’s been for you coming from Michigan, coming to Ohio State? Do you get a lot of haters back home or how is that?
MIKE WEBER: You know, it’s a lot of — like you said, haters back home. I wouldn’t say haters. I would say more of supporters, but don’t like the team I’m at. That makes sense. But I picked Ohio State because I feel like it was the best fit for me at the time.
I mean, I think it still is because I have had a lot of success here and playing for the College Football Playoff. And it’s a great university. I’m surrounded by really good teammates and coaches. It’s a good feeling.
Q. Does being here validate you being at Ohio State over Michigan?
MIKE WEBER: It does at some point. I came here to win a national championship, and I have a chance right now and I’m trying to do everything I can to make that happen.
Q. Is experience overrated?
MIKE WEBER: No, I wouldn’t say that. I feel like me playing against Bowling Green my first game and me playing against Michigan is totally different, just because of experience.
I’m more poised and I know what to expect on a college level now than Bowling Green. I didn’t really know what to expect. I was just out there just running around.
And I think experience is really a big factor of maturity.
Q. Do you have to stretch the field to win this game?
BILLY PRICE: We just need to execute. That’s what it comes down to. And to look at, hey, we need to run this play or do this or this, I don’t think it’s part of what we need to do. Again, we just need to execute on our end of it and make sure that the offensive line takes care of their responsibilities, and running backs and so forth and so on.
Q. Any added pressure to score points when you’re going up against an offense like Clemson’s who essentially every game this year has piled up a bunch of them?
BILLY PRICE: I think there is that — to be aware what their offense can do. To play an offensive shootout game, if that’s what it comes down to, if the offense has got to score, they’ve got to score. So I think that’s just make sure we take care of what we need to and execute on our end.
Q. When you look at their front set and up front and the linebackers, who stands out and who could you foresee being a problem?
BILLY PRICE: Well, we prepare for all of them. So I don’t want to say that one person in particular is going to be a problem. Again, you’ve got to respect your opponent, you can’t take them lightly. Their linebacker corps is very good. Their defensive line is very good, big, strong. They get off the ball. They’re very explosive.
If you don’t get a hand on them and you don’t slow them down, it’s going to be a bad day for your offense.
Q. 42 and 90, both underclassmen. Is there any edge going into it, knowing that they’re young, that maybe you guys know something that they don’t?
BILLY PRICE: No. I don’t want to say that, not necessarily just say, hey, because I’m older that I’m better that way. I have had a little bit more experience just in game time experience and whatnot. But, again, you’ve got to stay focused on the task at hand and make sure you go out and execute.
Q. Do they remind you of anybody?
BILLY PRICE: I reference the team up north for us. Kind of similar to Wormley and their interior guy, just how big and strong those guys were.
Q. The youth on this team, there’s been a lot made of the youth on your team and how you guys maybe gel. What’s been the key there?
BILLY PRICE: I think the leadership. The leadership has a huge role in it. Again, because if we don’t have J.T., Pat Elflein and Raekwon, some of us older guys, again those young guys don’t know what really to expect or what’s going to happen, make sure that we stay on task.
You have so many distractions and so many things, especially as a young player, being a first-time player at Ohio State, so many distractions, and make sure you stay on path and stay on route.
Q. Is youth overrated in college football. What do you think?
BILLY PRICE: I think it’s accumulation of everything. If you don’t have leadership, you could be all over the map. If Mike didn’t have J.T. as a quarterback, if Mike didn’t have Pat as one of his boys, myself, again, you can be straying in different directions, especially with all the temptations and stuff around college football players, period.
Q. As close as you guys were to play in the playoff last year, and play in the stadium, what’s it mean to be back in the stadium playing for a playoff?
BILLY PRICE: Just again, very honored thankful to be here. A lot of hard work has been put into this and we’re going to be able to showcase that on Saturday.
Q. You had some former guys go against you in bowl practice.
BILLY PRICE: Yeah, that was fun. Old guys kicking off some dust.
Q. Were they trying to go hard?
BILLY PRICE: You know, just trying to give us a good look. So just be appreciative of them.
Q. Throwing, pitching and catching, protecting, is it getting to where you want it to be?
BILLY PRICE: Is that — what was the question?
Q. Throwing the football, maybe improving that, getting vertical, is that an emphasis?
BILLY PRICE: I don’t particularly think it was an emphasis during the bowl season. Just, again, because if you can’t block, then you can’t throw the ball downfield. We put a big emphasis on making sure we were getting better up front.
Q. Do you like where this team is right now?
BILLY PRICE: Yeah. Got a good mindset going into this game. Very prepared. Just really being able to take things in stride and appreciate where we’re at and not taking things for granted. You have 100 some teams wanting to be here. And there’s only four of us here. Very thankful.
Q. Do you compare their D to Michigan?
BILLY PRICE: Yes, a little bit. They’re big, athletic and explosive. The guys up front, like the team up north, just exciting for us.
PAT ELFLEIN: So it’s just a matter of are you ready when you got your opportunity; and, yes, these guys are ready. So they just learn from their previous players that were there in front of them, do a great job of doing teaching the younger guys the ropes and how to act and how to play. So I think that’s a credit to the older players that were in front of these guys and just the whole program in general.
Q. How has playing Oklahoma, the team up north, Wisconsin, playing in these big games, these overtimes, these pressure games, how has that helped prepare for this type of atmosphere and this type of game and for you and the entire team?
PAT ELFLEIN: Just the fact that all those previous games that you just mentioned were prime time games, game day, at night and big-time environments. That’s going to help us.
So know these experiences, pressure situations, it’s all going to come into play in this game, because I’m sure there’s going to be situations, games that are high pressure, it’s going to be loud and hostile. So using those to help us get through that.
Q. One of the things that you had in all those places was Buckeye Nation. They’ve always showed up. They’re really comfortable here. Coach Meyer talked about them yesterday when you got off the plane. What are you hoping for from Buckeye Nation to show up here in the Valley of the Sun and give you guys that little extra support?
PAT ELFLEIN: Oh, I know Buckeye Nation is going to be here. They’re going to be here full force. They’re going to be here supporting us. They always do. Wherever we go. California. Wisconsin. Texas. New Orleans. Wherever we go, Buckeye Nation is there full force. So I expect that they’ll be here again.
Q. It was about this time last year, you announced you’d come back, had a kind of checklist, beating Michigan. You’ve done everything. Where does the national championship fit into the script when you decided to come back?
PAT ELFLEIN: That’s all part of the plan. So a few of those things you mentioned were personal goals. And obviously you have team goals which is win Big Ten, College Football Playoff, and National Championship. So I think it’s worked out pretty good so far.
Q. What have you seen about Clemson?
PAT ELFLEIN: They’re big. They’re explosive. Talented. Really talented players across the board, all of them. So they’re a big, physical group.
Q. What about the linebackers, they don’t get a lot of the credit in terms of the media, but they’re a big part of the pass rush (indiscernible)?
PAT ELFLEIN: Yeah, they’re a complete defense. They have players everywhere. No. 10’s pretty good. So I mean they’re a complete defense. And that’s what makes them great.
Q. Has there been something with bowl practice that Urban has pounded into your heads, the team, saying that it’s something that you’ve keyed in on the last month?
PAT ELFLEIN: It’s been a countdown of how many days we have until the game, and it really puts into perspective how quick it goes and how crucial each practice is.
Q. Obviously the goal’s to score points. When you face a team like Clemson, essentially every game this year piling on a bunch. Is there extra motivation to know you guys have to convert touchdowns and make field goals?
PAT ELFLEIN: Yeah, we know this team scores points. We have to do our job on offense to make sure we score and put our defense in a good position to help us win the game. So, yeah, you take that into account.
Q. Take us through your acting performance for Elflein, what was the motivation; do you have an agent?
PAT ELFLEIN: Well, we have a creative team that puts all that together. So it was their idea around Christmastime. So we were in the holiday spirit.
And Elflein on the Shelf worked out good. Got an elf costume and had to get Wild Bill over there to be my partner.
Q. How about his acting?
PAT ELFLEIN: I think it was good, but there’s room for — some room for improvement. There’s room for improvement.
Q. You mentioned when we were back in Columbus that when you found out he was an All-American, he went into Bill Mode. Could you define what Bill Mode actually is?
PAT ELFLEIN: Oh, man. It’s hard to define what Bill Mode is. It’s more of like a visual. I’m sure you guys have seen Bill get into Bill Mode before. And I’m sure you’ll see a lot of Bill Mode during the game.
Q. It’s just a very excitable version of just his normal self?
PAT ELFLEIN: Yeah. He turns up a notch, yeah. Bill, Wild Bill.
Q. I asked Curtis this (indiscernible). What has been put into the game plan from the start of the game plan, do you like the game plan? I know there will be changes, what you need for who Ohio State is, but do you like the game plan, what you’ve seen so far?
PAT ELFLEIN: Yeah, I think our coaches do a great job and put us in the best position they can to help us win the game. And they put a lot of time into it.
And every player has to really invest and buy into the game plan. So, yeah, I think we all like it.
Q. When you talk about the pressure that players feel when they go into a big game. Some people really embrace that. You as an offensive line, do you feel like you’re going to put this on your shoulders a little bit?
PAT ELFLEIN: Yeah, you have to as an offensive lineman. You win games by controlling the front, controlling the trenches.
And if it’s running the ball, if it’s passing, whatever it may be, you win the game. You get momentum, get confidence, if you control the line of scrimmage. So, yeah, we know we have to do that.
Q. Do you all look at the season, the product, the 12 games you played as a group, two All-Americans in the group, have second-team All-Defense, a pretty accomplished group. Do you all look at the group as where you want to be, or were you somewhat disappointed?
PAT ELFLEIN: I mean, yeah, you always look at the group of where you want to be. Obviously some individuals got some big accolades, which is pretty cool, and good for them.
But, yeah, you want to look, when you evaluate offensive line, you look at it as a whole how they do together.
We had some growing pains at points, but I think overall we’ve had a good season.
Q. Coach Meyer, you’ve been around him now in big games, you’ve been around him for years. Is he taking the same approach? Is he still that — I know you guys had some fun in practice and stuff like that. But the approach that he takes for games like this?
PAT ELFLEIN: I think this is when Coach Meyer is at his best, in games like this. So then we have some fun, too.
You have to have that, because if you’re locked in all the time like that, it’s not good for you to be like that and be so tense.
You have to be able to relax a little bit and enjoy your teammates. So we do a little bit of both of that. When it comes time to lock in and go hard, that’s what we do too.
He always says that’s a sign of a good team to be able to lock in and being able to relax a little bit. So we did that this bowl prep, and it was successful.