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Oct. 12, 1999

Head Coach John Cooper

On Ohio State vs. Penn State
“As you know we travel to State College this weekend to play a great Penn State football team. This is the best Penn State team we have played against since the 1994 team.”

“It might be the best defensive team we will face this year. Obviously a smaller amount of points will be scored than in past years. This is going to be a real challenge for us. We look forward to the challenge and we will have a good week of practice.”

On Playing at Penn State
“You are not going to hear me complaining about playing at home. I would rather play every game we play at home. It is great. As a matter of fact, the crowd helped us win that game on Saturday, otherwise I am not sure we would have won had we been on the road.”

“State College is a fun place to play. The crowd gets very involved in the game. Of course we are familiar with the lion roaring. They either need to outlaw the lion over there or we need to do the same thing here. It is a tough place to play, because the crowd is probably the loudest in the conference.”

On Penn State’s defense
“They play about every defensive front that you will see: three, four and seven. They are going to give you every alignment known to man and a lot of different looks. The try to confuse your quarterback and give you a lot of looks on the secondary.”

On LaVar Arrington
“He jumps the line. He is a spectacular player. He’s got great speed but he will jump over you, jump out in front of you, grab you with one hand, get in your face during the kicking game. That is what he is trying to do this year. He is trying to intimidate some of the punters. We saw it in the Pittsburgh game. He does a great job.”

On Ohio State’s offense
“I am concerned about our running game. I am concerned about our passing game. I am concerned about our turnovers. It is so inconsistent. At times we look good running the football, at times we look good passing the ball, but we have not put that game together all four quarters.”

On Quarterback Steve Bellisari
“He reminds of some quarterbacks when I first started coaching. We had Gary Beevan at UCLA and Bobby Douglas at Kansas. We ran a lot of quarterback offense, quarterback sweeps and the quarterback was allowed to run the ball. I hope he turns out as good as either one of those players. Steve is going to make something happen, it is not always going to be good but he is going to make something happen. He is an exciting football player to watch.”

On Penn State’s offense
“Those guys have really improved. Their quarterback in the past had not been that involved in their offense. In past years they have been fairly conservative and kept the football away from you and kept a power running game and things like that. They have featured some great running backs like Ki-Jana Carter and Curtis Enis. This year they have opened their offense up. That is something they worked on in bowl preparation and last spring. They have been a lot more explosive this year.”

So. Center LeCharles Bentley
“We are going to find out who we are and what we are made of when we go up against Penn State. They are an extremely good team, but we will have to play with our hearts. It will all come from within.

“Penn State is an extremely difficult team to prepare for. They will take a defense and change it up 18 different times. This will be a huge challenge for our offensive line. Thee key for us is communication and knowing our assignments.”

“Our win over Purdue helped us a lot. There is a change in attitudes. There is a change in our self-esteem. Our confidence level is higher and we are ready to play. This was very much needed heading into this week.”

Fr. Defensive Back Donnie Nickey
“Our critics have said that we are not as good as other teams from past years, but that’s the challenge. We haven’t helped by losing two games, but we will be fine and win out the rest of the games. You have to approach every week with that mentality. A team will never win when they have already said they will lose, before even playing on Saturday.”

Sr. Defensive End James Cotton
“I never put another team on a pedestal. They breathe the same air that I do, so that is why we play the game on Saturday. That is when the decision will be made on who is the best.”