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Oct. 29, 2002

Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel
On Minnesota:
“We understand fully the last time they came to Columbus they played an outstanding football game. They play extremely hard and with great enthusiasm.”

On Minnesota quarterback Asad Abdul-Khali:
“He’s a fourth year junior and after playing in prep school he’s become a pretty mature guy who’s way beyond his years. He did a great job against us keeping plays alive and making big things happens. He has an outstanding running game to go along with it.”

On Minnesota’s defense:
“I think they have excellent quickness and toughness. They do a great job of mixing in their pressures and coverage. They’ve given quarterbacks some trouble in disguise and do an excellent job on forcing pressure on an offense.”

On Minnesota’s special teams:
“Their kicking game is pretty good. Their kicker and punter return. Nystrom (Dan), seems like he’s been there forever and their punter has been there for quite some time averaging over 40 yards. Their punt returner is from Columbus and he’s a dangerous guy. He is a guy that is going to make the play. They have blocked three punts this year and put a lot of pressure on people from a punt rush standpoint.”

On Ohio State’s seniors:
“We talk constantly about having a good football team, which is only possible if your seniors have a career best year. As you look at Kenny (Peterson), Andy (Groom) and Mike (Doss), they are having career best years.”

On turnovers:
“We first have to understand the importance of turnovers. People don’t do anything well until they thoroughly believe that it is important. Once the belief and importance is solid then that concentration and focus is set.”

On Minnesota’s schedule:
“I have watched them play Purdue, Michigan State and Illinois and they are a good football team. They are doing what you have to do to win in the Big Ten. Minnesota is 3-1 in the Big Ten, their schedule is what their schedule is.” On game plan vs. Minnesota:
“The team that is able to do both (run and pass) will win this game. I do not think either team is going to be able to line up and just do one thing. They throw the ball well and they have great rushing numbers. We have good rushing numbers. I think we have made some impact from throwing the football. So, I think it is going to be two balanced teams, which have good speed on defense and pay good attention to special teams.”

On the tough games:
“Coach Earle Bruce recently reminded me that it is almost November. He used to say that October is for pretenders and November is for contenders, which is the truth. November is when all of the decisions are made.”

On Minnesota’s players from Ohio and the intensity of the game:
“There are a lot of great football players from Ohio. I think that is partially why Minnesota has such a great football team this year. The Ohio kids will definitely be excited to play here. They will turn it up a notch on us. What we see on film is not exactly what we are going to get, we are going to get much better. I like to believe it will be the same way when they watch film on us. I like to think as each day goes on we get better as well.”

Ohio State defensive tackle Kenny Peterson
On the polls:
“It does not matter to me where we are ranked, those types of things are going to be taken care of regardless of what we do. The only thing we can take care of is getting the win every week.”

On Minnesota’s offensive line:
“They seem to be downhill runners and a pretty physical bunch but I have not really seen too much film on them. They definitely have a good offensive front and they like to setup their scheme to run the ball downhill.”

Ohio State cornerback Dustin Fox
On Halftime:
“The coaches really stress to us at halftime that we need to go back out on the field and focus on the fundamentals, for example tacking and making simple plays. When we come out in the second half we do those things and we get turnovers.”

On Donnie Nickey and Mike Doss:
“It has been very beneficial having guys like them around. They have been here and in the system for so long that they know all of the schemes. However, it is much more than that. The experience they have and the fact that they share it with me is tremendous.”

Ohio State punter Andy Groom
On the Polls:
“We look at it and see that we dropped to No. 6. At the same time, we have four more games and we need to take one game at a time. We have to win every game before we even think about the BCS.”