December 27, 2017

Ohio State at Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: Day #5 Recap

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Dec. 27, 2017

 Defensive Press Conference Transcript |  Photo Gallery |  Medical Center Visit

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Ohio State Buckeyes turned in their final practice for the 82nd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Wednesday at AT&T Stadium.

The only on-field preparation that remains is the walk-through on Thursday before the Buckeyes (11-2, 8-1 Big Ten), No. 5 in the College Football Playoff rankings, collide with No. 8 USC (11-2, 8-1 Pac-12) on Friday.

Just as if they were back home preparing for a Big Ten game, the Buckeyes have followed their normal game-week process. Wednesday equated to a typical Thursday during the regular season because it’s two days before the game.

Most of the time was spent fine tuning the game plan with concentration and precision but at slightly less than full speed. Players practiced in helmets but without pads for about an hour and a half.

It was Ohio State’s third session at AT&T Stadium after practicing twice at an area high school.

This was the first practice on the actual game field. The Dallas Cowboys’ artificial turf was in place from Sunday’s Dallas Cowboys-Seattle Seahawks game for the first two Ohio State and USC practices. A crew replaced it overnight Tuesday, finishing up Wednesday morning as the Buckeyes arrived.

The NFL and college playing surfaces used at AT&T Stadium are the same in performance. The difference between them is wider placement of the hash marks on the college field. Additionally, the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic logo adorns midfield flanked on both sides by the Goodyear logo.

Before practice, Hall of Fame and former Dallas Cowboys running back, Emmitt Smith dropped in and visited with coach Urban Meyer on the field. Their connection is the University of Florida where Smith played and Meyer coached but at different times.

After practice, defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and LBs Jerome Baker and Chris Worley along with DEs Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard, Nick Bosa and Jalyn Holmes met the media.

Schiano on facing USC’s rushing attack: “They do some things schematically that are challenging. But I think the running back is phenomenal, not just fast, strong. Has an incredible feel right before he gets tackled. Not a lot of kids that you see in college football do this.”

Baker on what jumps out about USC’s offense: Fast, definitely fast. To a guy like me, I can run. But when you watch their receivers, their running backs, even their line, they can move. They’re really fast. 

Bosa on USC quarterback Sam Darnold: “Definitely a strong arm. He doesn’t panic often, and he’s always looking down field. And some of the throws he makes are just kind of ridiculous across the field, just how fast he throws the ball. You can see why people are impressed with him.”

Hubbard on Ohio State’s defensive line rotation: “I think that was something that we — it took a little bit of time and trusting each other and Coach [Larry] Johnson. But now it’s not something that is really on our minds. That’s all developed in the off-season and just trusting each other and spring ball. But, yeah, it was definitely a process and something that has brought us closer.”

The Buckeyes visited patients at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas during the afternoon. They had dinner together at the team hotel but no entertainment away from the hotel as they had in previous nights.

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.