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Dec. 9, 2002

Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel
About the Miami vs. Virginia Tech game:
“That game magnifies the fact of how quick-strike they are. They have had extraordinary success during the last couple of years and are a great football team. What I like about them on defense is that they run so well and on offence they have the type of balance that we all would like to have. They have great ability and great schemes.”

About being underdogs:
“Hopefully you don’t pay attention to any labels. If you are a great favorite or an underdog, you should not pay attention to it. What you have to concentrate on is what you have to do to win the game.”

On what the team is focusing on right now:
“Right now, I hope the team is focuses on academics with only their occasional thoughts on Miami. Then once finals are over, I hope 100 percent of their thoughts are on what we have to do to go against an excellent team.”

On the score of the Miami vs. Virginia Tech game:
“We don’t look at a final score and make any generalizations. We look at film and talk about why that happened. What was it that made the score what it was. Usually, when you see a score like that you would have to say that there were some turnovers and big special teams plays because you can’t score that fast on offense. We will break things down in an offensive, defensive and special teams point of view.”

On visiting Miami’s spring practice:
“I think it reinforces what you need to have to be a champion. You need to have excellent players, which they do. You need an excellent coaching staff, which they have. The tempo and balance of what they were doing was excellent. They spent a lot of time on special teams. In our profession, the exchange of ideas is common.”

On difference of talent:
“They have great speed; great talent. We ask our guy to do certain things and they ask their guys to do certain things. I would like to think that both of us have better talent for what we ask our guy to do than the other team.” On Ohio State’s team speed:
“We have good team speed. Would we like to be faster is some areas? Sure. We would not have been successful at all without team speed.”

On the timing of the national championship game:
“We knew what the schedule was on July 29. We knew we were going to play a preseason game and have our off week right after that. We knew we were going to play 12 in a row and we wanted to be somewhere in January. We knew that there was going to be six weeks before the bowl. So, plan accordingly.

“What is important is that the time you have, you use. You can overuse it or under use it. We have got to do the right job blending. The factors involved right now are three-fold: academics, rest and preparation. Add a forth for the coaches: recruiting. We have to do a good job balancing that time.”

On preparation for the national championship game:
“Our goal is to have our guys prepared. The goal of our guys is to be prepared. This has been a group that works extremely hard and they haven’t batted an eye at what has been asked of them. The coaches have done a great job of what they have asked. That will have an impact on the game – how well we have prepared.”

On the team co-MVPs:
“What’s fun is when the team votes on something. When the player ballots came in, there was a one-vote difference between Craig (Krenzel) and Chris (Gamble). They were clearly the two highest vote getters. When the coaches’ ballots were added, it ended up exactly a tie. I didn’t feel that we had any other choice than to have two MVPs, which is unusual but we have an unusual group.

“I feel good. Both Craig Krenzel and Chris Gamble have done and extraordinary job for us and will continue to do so. They are very different. Krenzel is a great leader. Gamble, just by what he does, raises people up. They are very valuable to the Buckeyes.”

Ohio State Quarterback Craig Krenzel
On team MVP honor:
“When you look back on this team and this season, there were a number of guys who wwere deserving. To receive an award that was voted on by your teammates is a great honor.”

On Miami:
“They have a tremendous amount of speed. They have big-play capabilities, great athletes. Defensively, they run to the ball very well. They are physical. Their speed stands out the most.”

On the national championship game:
“We believe that we are where we belong. We deserve to play on Jan. 3. We respect Miami. They have a lot of talent. There is not a guy on our team that thinks we can’t go out and compete. We are excited to represent the Big Ten and to play a team like Miami with their speed and their talent.”

On being an underdog:
“We are the kind of team that we are going to prepare to play as well as we can whether we are favored by 20 (points) or underdogs by 20 (points). We are going to be prepare physically and mentally.”