Jan. 6, 2015

Ezekiel Elliott, sophomore running back
On yards after contact
“Coach [Stan] Drayton places a lot of emphasis on yards after contact, contact speed. He tells us all the time he needs a back like Carlos [Hyde] and he wants to develop our running back room into that type of player. It’s mentality you have to have that you won’t be brought down and that you’ll get those tough runs.”

On the Oregon secondary
“They’re athletic and fast, a little undersized and they’re cut blockers. We’ll have to have good contact speed and low pad level.”

Tyvis Powell, sophomore safety
On surprise over the performance of Cardale Jones
“I’m not surprised. I know the world is, but I’m not. I’ve seen it so much in practice. He’s calm, cool and collected.”

On the Penn State game
“That’s where I first saw us all come together as a team. We all felt confident moving forward from that experience and knew nobody could separate us.”

Joshua Perry, junior linebacker
On memories of the 2002-03 national championship
“I remember the highlights, especially the end of game. Of course, you also remember the big play Maurice Clarett made. To have the opportunity to be able to do that with this group would be special.”

On Coach Meyer’s statement that he would hire him as a coach after graduation
“It’s very positive to hear. Coach Meyer doesn’t sugar coat anything, so you know he means it. It’s great motivation to continue to work and stay on a positive road.”

On the team culture
“It’s all things you’ve heard before: four to six, A to B, competitive excellence and brotherhood of trust. We give full effort in everything we do. We’ve faced a number of difficult situations in game and out this season, and the culture we’ve developed has helped us succeed.”

Cardale Jones, sophomore quarterback
On playing one more game
“It’s exciting. We’re chasing the ultimate goal. We’re all very emotional and ready to go.”

On third down running
“I don’t mind running if that’s what I need to. If I have to run for a first down I’ll run, if I have to pass I’ll pass. I just do what the team needs from me.

On pregame butterflies
“I wouldn’t call it butterflies, but jitters. Once you’re under center it’s just you and your guys doing something you’ve done your whole life. If you’re prepared, which we always are, you have nothing to we worried or nervous about.”

On the NFL being a future possibility
“I can’t think beyond tomorrow at the moment. I’m taking everything day by day and just working on what I have on the table. I’m not even thinking about next season or the NFL yet.”

Jacoby Boren, junior center
On practicing under center vs. the shotgun
“Practicing under center is something we do every day. We are comfortable with it and have it just in case we need it.”

On his 2014-15 season
“I think I’ve had a pretty good year, but I still have things I need to work on. Ask me that question again after this game and I’ll have a better answer.”

Michael Thomas, sophomore wide receiver
On success at Ohio State with Cardale Jones following Fork Union Military Academy
“I’ve always been a big dreamer and we would always talk about playing right way at Ohio State, about contributing and winning a national champion. We’re blessed to be in that position and to have the opportunity in front of us.”

On his TD catch in the Sugar Bowl
“I’ve made those catches in practice but never in a game. When it came down to it, I figured I had one foot down but I didn’t know if I had any part of it on the line or not. I was surprised I was able to twist my foot like that. It’s up there as one of the best of my career.”

On whether or not the season is already a success
“It won’t be a success until we finish. We still have one more mission.”

Adolphus Washington, junior defensive line
On former high school teammate Dwayne Stanford
“We would talk about playing in a national championship every day in high school at [Cincinnati] Taft. Now, we both have the opportunity to win one, which is exciting. We’ve got to go out there and represent Cincinnati.”

Devin Smith, senior wide receiver
On Ohio State’s emphasis on the deep pass
“It’s not difficult, especially when you have a guy like Cardale [Jones] throwing the ball who puts it right on the money and hits you in stride. I feel like we’re way more effective when we throw deep. Not to take anything away from J.T. [Barrett], but with the strength Cardale has in his arm it makes it a lot easier for us.”

On the state of Ohio
“With everyone doubting us and now to come through and play in the national championship, I think the whole state of Ohio is going to be tuned in. They’re very proud with the fact that we’re on the big stage.”

Michael Bennett, senior defensive lineman
On why Coach Meyer is so successful in big games
“All year all we’re prepared to do is excel in tough situations. In the winter, spring, summer and throughout the season, we’re preparing for tough situations and the big lights. You don’t come to Ohio State to play lower level teams. You come to Ohio State to play for conference championships and national championships. Coach Meyer beats that into our brain from the very moment you get here.”

On Ohio State’s defense
“I think it’s really something special that we get to go against these kinds of talents and these kinds of teams. For the past two games we’ve been able to shut them down. I think that speaks volumes to our entire defense because you can’t do that with just one guy on defense or nine guys on defense. You need all 11, which is what we’re going to need.”

Joey Bosa, sophomore defensive lineman
On preparing for Oregon’s offense
“I think it’s pretty obvious our biggest challenge will be their speed and tempo. We’ve been doing 16 seconds between plays and have had periods of hurry-ups. We’ve also been really be focusing on our conditioning this week. It’s been a tough two days.”

On the differences between Ohio State and Oregon’s offenses
“I think our offense is more execution based. We’re more focused on beating your man on a route. Oregon is more based on fatigue and tiring us out, which works very well for them. They’re very talented at that aspect of their game, and by the end of the game they just completely wear people out.”

Vonn Bell, sophomore defensive back
On his ability to make big plays
“It’s just about being a football player and having a knack for finding the ball. I always want to be a ball hog and make plays for this defense. I always promise Coach [Chris] Ash I’ll get him a pick every game. We’ve kept that deal going, and he gives me a cupcake after every game I get one.”

On playing against a Heisman winner
“I relish in this challenge a lot. I hope his fourth pick comes to me. I keep watching film on him and he’s a great player. I told you earlier, he’s such a smart player. He knows what to do with the ball and controls their offense. We just have to continue watching him on film and studying.”

Evan Spencer, senior receiver
On Oregon
“We’ve watched a couple clips on their last game. I can’t talk too much as to how they’ve changed. I know the type of program they have. They’re always going to have athletic guys that can run, move their hips and work well in space.”

On playing in an unprecedented 15th game
“We’re feeling it a little bit. I was talking to someone earlier and they said it’s been like 25 weeks. I guess it is just part of the grind. Part of our job is taking care of your body and making sure you’re ready to go when you’re number is called.”

On his own skill set
“I guess I’m really athletic. There are a lot of things I’m able to do on the football field. I just try to do everything I can while I’m out there to the best of my ability, whether it’s blocking or throwing.”

Darron Lee, freshman linebacker
On how the team bounced back after its loss
“It’s all about our approach to practice. Everything became more serious after the Virginia Tech loss. It became more of, ‘Hey you have to take your job seriously or we’re not going to have the type of season we want to have.’ It all started on the practice field. Then we started winning some games and building momentum. Our work really showed in the Michigan State game.”

On defensive keys
“We need to stick to our job assignment and get lined up. This is obviously the biggest game we have to do our job in, and if we can’t contain their quarterback he’s going to make a play downfield.”

Taylor Decker, junior offensive lineman
On bouncing back after the Virginia Tech loss
“You just have to have confidence in your unit’s ability. A lot of people turned against us after the Virginia Tech loss and said we couldn’t play at this level. I don’t think that mindset got into our heads.”

On handling adversity
“We’ve seen guys grow up. You see how they’re going to respond when put in an adverse situation. It definitely brings us closer with any position, unit or team. When you go through tough games or situations, you’re going to get closer.”