NEW ORLEANS, La. – Six more Ohio State players – kicker Devin Barclay, return man Jordan Hall, defensive back Orhian Johnson, long snapper Jake McQuaide, defensive tackle John Simon and linebacker Andrew Sweat – met with the media Sunday afternoon at the team hotel.
The player interviews represented the last of the 22 such interviews Ohio State players engaged in at the 2011 Allstate Sugar Bowl. They were conducted at the team hotel rather than after practice because the team chose not to travel to the New Orleans Saints’ practice facility for what would have been a typical “Thursday” walk-through session. Instead, the Buckeye players had morning meetings and then additional afternoon team responsibilities at the hotel.
A few quotes from the interview session…
John Simon on Arkansas RB Knile Davis: “He’s a great running back and one of the better running backs we’ve seen this year. He’s got the speed and the power and he’s very elusive and we’re going to have to contain him.”
Orhian Johnson on the significance of the Big Ten getting outscored badly by the SEC Saturday: “It doesn’t really matter because none of those teams played us.”
Simon on staying disciplined for Arkansas’ play-action game: “It’s tough. It’s going to be very tough. But we’ve been working on it for a month now and when Tuesday comes we’re just going to have to execute.”
Johnson on Arkansas’ offense: “They have a great offense led by a great quarterback with a great running back and a great group of receivers. I think our defense is up for the challenge and we’re looking forward to it.”
Four more planes loaded with Buckeyes, including President Gordon Gee and the Board of Trustees, the Ohio State University Marching Band, spirit squads and administrators, landed in New Orleans Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon. All are staying at the official team hotel.
Early Morning Buckeyes
Two of the planes departed Rickenbacker around 5 a.m. Sunday (and then circled back to Columbus to bring the second Sunday wave to New Orleans). Individuals on those early morning planes were at the hotel by about 7 a.m. The spike in Buckeye fans on the streets early this morning can be partly attributed to their arrival. They weren’t able to get into their hotel rooms until later in the afternoon.
ESPN in the House
ESPN announcers Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe also arrived in New Orleans…late Saturday. The crew flew in from Orlando, Fla., where they had covered the most lopsided Capital One Bowl ever, a 49-7 Alabama win over Michigan State.
Members of the Ohio State delegation at the Allstate Sugar Bowl will be participating in the annual Buckeye bowl service project Monday morning. The group will be assisting at the Beacon of Hope in the Lower Ninth Ward beginning at 9 a.m. Coaches wives, administrators and even some players are expected to take part in the service project.
There will be no on-field practice tomorrow as the team’s preparation has reached its typical “Friday” point. Coach Jim Tressel will hold one final press conference at 11:30 a.m. in advance of the Sugar Bowl Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. EST on ESPN.