Dec. 26, 2017
ARLINGTON, Texas – Ohio State completed its fourth on-site practice Tuesday in preparation for the 82nd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
The Buckeyes (11-2, 8-1 Big Ten), No. 5 in the CFP rankings, worked enthusiastically for two hours in helmets, shells and shorts at AT&T Stadium. It was their second practice at the game venue after working twice at a local high school. They’ll meet No. 8 USC (11-2, 8-1 Pac-12) on Friday.
Media were given 15 minutes early in practice to take photos and video. The remainder was closed to media and the public. A few guests were allowed to stay, including Ricky Dudley who is a former Ohio State football and basketball letterman. Dudley was a first-round pick of the Raiders in the 1996 NFL draft and played nine years in the league.
The offense, defense and special teams all spent time fine tuning their game plans.
In addition to learning the Trojans’ offensive and defensive tendencies, the Buckeyes probably have the tune to the USC fight song ingrained in their heads. Fight On!, set to a background of crowd noise, played over the sound system through much of practice as part of simulating game conditions.
After practice, offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson along with QB J.T. Barrett, WRs Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin, RB J.K. Dobbins, C Billy Price and OL Jamarco Jones met the media at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas.
Wilson on bowl prep thus far: “I think our coaching staff has a lot of respect for these players. It’s a great group of seniors, very, very talented team. We didn’t play well a couple times. But the way they played down the stretch, we’ve practiced. We’re a tremendously competitive team in practice. And our practices have been awesome.”
Barrett on finishing his career in his home state of Texas: “We’ve just been enjoying it each and every day. I haven’t looked too far ahead and try not to think as far as it being the last game. Just taking it day by day and enjoying it and being thankful for each day.”
Dobbins on what he sees from USC’s defense: “I see an athletic defense, guys that play well together, and I feel like nothing will come easy against them and it will be pretty hard to run against them.”
McLaurin on returning to AT&T Stadium, where Ohio State won the first-ever CFP national title: “You get that feeling back. My role is different from then and now so I have a different mindset. I’m really preparing to win the game, where I was preparing just to get the defense ready. So that’s different. But you go into that big stadium, it kind of takes your breath away, especially it’s the Dallas Cowboys. But you also kind of compartmentalize and focus, especially when you’re going to be a big part of the game plan.”
For the evening entertainment, players had the option of attending the Mavericks-Raptors NBA game or going to Topgolf.
Many of the players could be sporting new haircuts for the next practice. Personal barbers were scheduled to give haircuts at the team hotel on Tuesday night.
The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic celebrates its 82nd anniversary on Friday, Dec. 29. Airtime on ESPN is set for 7:30 p.m. CST, with kickoff slated for 7:40 p.m.
This marks the fourth consecutive year for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl to be a part of the ESPN bowl lineup. Bob Wischusen and Brock Huard are set to provide the call from the booth with Allison Williams reporting from the sidelines.
ESPN Radio returns as the Classic’s national radio partner for the sixth consecutive year. Brad Sham, the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys,” teams with Rod Gilmore in the booth and Quint Kessenich on the sidelines to describe all the action from AT&T Stadium. This is Sham’s 21st consecutive year as the Classic’s play-by-play voice and his 25th overall.