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Video: Highlights | Head Coach Jim Tressel | Ohio State Players

COACH TRESSEL: Well, we talked at halftime about the fact that the turning point in the game was when we stopped them on fourth down in the second quarter and that all the stories were going to be written as that being a turning point, so don’t make me a liar. And our guys went out the second half and took over, but I think it was fueled by how hard that defense fought in that last series that they had to stop them. And, you know, we weren’t a great first-half team. That’s the facts. And I guess we do a bad job after open weeks or something, but they played their fannies off second half and I’m awfully proud of them.

REPORTER: Coach, in this game, can you talk about the demeanor in the locker room at halftime? What were the players like? Was it matter-of-fact? Was it — you know, what was the personality at halftime? And just add a little bit about the way your defense played, two interceptions for touchdowns in the second half.

COACH TRESSEL: Well, the halftime locker room was not a fun place, but it was not a place that looked like there was any quit in anybody. There was a lot of discussions of adjustments and where we needed to get better, and as far as our defense, you know, they — as time went on, they put more pressure and you put more pressure, you have to throw it a little bit sooner, and if you have to throw it a little bit sooner, you might not be right, and he was wrong a couple of times whereas in the first half he did a great job, I mean, the quarterback, he was good, but, you know, it’s a four-quarter game and our guys kept coming, which — we heard a lot this week from folks during Veterans’ week about the fact that you just keep going, you know, and you lay it on the line for your teammates and I thought that’s what our kids did today.

REPORTER: Jim, can you contrast the difference between Devon Torrence’s first half and second half? Did it sort of mirror the way you guys played too?

COACH TRESSEL: I’m not sure he was in the exact same coverage in the second half, you’ll have to ask those guys. He was maybe doing a couple different things, but you learn on defense as you watch what people do and so you get a feel and you say, okay, I see when No. 2 releases to the flap, et cetera, et cetera, he obviously learned as the game went on, but he might have been in a little bit different look sometimes versus others.

REPORTER: The follow-up, might his interception have been another turning point too?

COACH TRESSEL: Yeah. It would have been too late for that turning point perhaps if we didn’t stop them in the second quarter. Emotionally. That’s a good football team and, yeah, when there’s a turning point, that doesn’t mean the game ended. Turning point means you’re starting to head in the right direction and then you have to do things like, I don’t know, we rushed for 314 yards and they had two defensive touchdowns and did a little bit better on third down, but you’ve got to get the momentum flipped and then come up with those plays like he did.

REPORTER: Jim, you had talked in previous open weeks that the team had maybe gotten ready too early, like Wednesday they’d be ready to go. How do you feel the team did with extra time off and did you guys get ready to play at the right time?

COACH TRESSEL: You know, I think we did. It was an emotional week. Not just for us, but for everyone in our country. And we happened to do some things that raised their level of awareness from a Veterans’ standpoint and I think there were some emotions spent perhaps at that time, but they scheduled the game this week. Veterans’ Day is a little bit more important, but I thought we were as fresh as could be and, you know, maybe we learned that it’s not all about how you’re ready football-wise, but how you’re ready as a man.

REPORTER: Coach, 35 unanswered points for you, might have Boom been a guy that turned some momentum? He had a big run to get you out of a hole on that 96-yard drive.

COACH TRESSEL: Yeah, that — when you can take the ball 90 plus yards, which we’ve done a couple times here in recent weeks, Minnesota game, it was huge when we did that, got that thing broken open, but Boom, 21 carries for 190 against Penn State, that’s — that’s pretty good. And he just, as we’ve talked all week and for quite some time, Boom just has that ability to lift the group. He breaks tackles and then the other guys come in, B. Saine breaks them, TP, and so forth, but, you know, Boom — Boom is a special player.

REPORTER: Jim, what was your view of the tipped ball play to Sanzenbacher for a TD? And also were you surprised — Paterno in the past — I thought he was going to kick the field goal to make it two scores. Were you surprised he went for it on fourth and one?

COACH TRESSEL: I was looking at it across the field and I thought he was suggesting that, and I thought, oh, shoot, I hope they go for it, because the kicking team kind of stepped out there a little bit and I’m glad they didn’t. Sometimes when you have committee meetings, things get all screwed up, but that was crucial.

Now, as far as the tipped ball on the deep pass, we had the long run down to the five and got called back with holding, so we were second and a mile, and we felt going into the game we needed to lift the ball up just like we do that opening drive, they play aggressively, and we thought we had to challenge them, and there weren’t many times in the course of the next while that it seemed to be the right thing to do, that one, second and forever, and really I think he was going to DeVier and DeVier went up for it and their guy got inside of it and it was a little double — yeah, it was better than that.

MODERATOR: We have time for one more question.

COACH TRESSEL: I wasn’t even half done with this one.

MODERATOR: You can keep going. Keep going with this one.

COACH TRESSEL: This is a very important win.

MODERATOR: I’m trying to help you out.

COACH TRESSEL: Are you inferring I don’t like being with my friends?

MODERATOR: We’ve got captains waiting to speak.

COACH TRESSEL: I don’t even know what my question was. What was my question?

REPORTER: Have you ever had a contrast like that?

COACH TRESSEL: Gosh, I remember we were down 17-3 in the National Championship game when I was at Youngstown, and we came back and won. That was a contrast. Probably wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t have won. All right, last question.

REPORTER: Jim, talking about — you were saying turning the momentum there at the end of the first half and not letting them get in, for instance, the Wisconsin game you had a good comeback in the second half there, but it seemed like the hill was a little too steep to climb.


REPORTER: Was that maybe part of the difference there, you guys didn’t let it get too far away?

COACH TRESSEL: When you’re behind a good team 14-3, it’s hard. When you’re behind a good team 21-3, it’s real hard, because they can relax a little bit. When it’s 14-3 and all of a sudden you draw it to 14-10, maybe all of a sudden the pressure is on them. Just like when we drew it 14-10, maybe the pressure was on Wisconsin and they came back, what are you going to do? That’s why that stop was so huge in the second quarter and it just was a sign, I guess, to everyone that we’re not done and that was an important message for our guys to know.

Okay. The captains are here. The Iowa result? We were that flat? I thought they executed well. Penn State did a good job. They did a good job. We came out, we went down and scored a field goal, you know, and they came and executed. I don’t know if we were flat, but maybe we were. I don’t know. You were right. I better get out of here.

REPORTER: Dane, just describe that play. It looked like you didn’t have a pass thrown to you all day and that one just popped into your hand. Tell us what went on there.

SANZANBACHER: Well, one catch and it wasn’t thrown to me. Yeah, that was just one of those plays where I turned around expecting either DeVier to catch it or it was going to get tipped somewhere, so I just kind of put myself in the right position and it was easy for me.

REPORTER: Can some of you defensive guys talk about the fourth and one stop? Coach thought that was a turning point and he said make sure to stand up in the second half, can you talk about finally —

ROLLE: A great job out of Orhian who was there who actually played man coverage and usually man coverage throws you off and it’s kind of hard to stop him, but he did a great job being in the right place being on the man he was supposed to. That gave us momentum going into the second half and we talked in the locker room that stop is going to be the fourth and one stop, and I feel like that was big for us.

HOMAN: Definitely, it was a great call from the coaches, I think they did their part in the play, you know, you get a stop, and we did very badly as a defense, we put it all together one down and we got them.

REPORTER: Brandon, 35 unanswered points in the second half, two of those came by the defense, but can you respond on the difference in the second half and how satisfying that is to you guys to put 38 up there against Penn State, whichever way you want to go?

BROWNING: Well, first of all, we knew going into halftime that the things that we was calling, that it was close, they were very close to breaking it, and the second half it was just going to take us, just execute, maybe block a little bit longer, and fortunately our defense did a great job getting us some stops and I feel like we just did the best job we could at executing.

SAINE: Yeah, I definitely think that we really fed off the defense. They had a great second half and really turned the momentum for us and that gave us a lot of confidence going out there. We can’t just leave them out there with bad field position and different things like that, so we knew we had to do our part.

REPORTER: Brian and Cam, maybe you guys can talk about this, just the feeling of being — hearing the boos, I’m sure you heard them leaving the field at halftime. I’m sure that was hard emotionally. Did you feel the turning point was the stop at fourth and one? Did you feel that was the turnaround or did you feel the second half was where that happened?

ROLLE: Well, we didn’t hear the boos, but at the same time, we were the ones playing and not the fans, so — but that fourth and one, it was a turning point of the game. It was a 14-3 game and fortunately we pulled out of it, but we kind of took that as motivation going out in the second half. We didn’t talk about the boos. We didn’t talk about what the fans thought because obviously boos, it lets you know what type of fans you have, so I felt like on the fourth and one, we came out second half and the offense was able to put some points on the board?

HEYWARD: Just piggy-backing on what he said, you know, I think we, after that stop, you know, I think a lot of guys just calmed down, you know, we were really relaxed and there was nobody just pointing fingers. I think our coaches did a great job of just settling us down and I think the second half, we really got after it, you know. Ross was in there making a bunch of plays. B. Rolle was. Our secondary played amazing. The rest of the D linemen played amazing. I think we really showed that we’re a tough team and we’re ready for the long stretch.

REPORTER: (Inaudible ).

HEYWARD: Obviously I didn’t pay attention to it. It’s going to happen, but we had to respond in the second half.

REPORTER: Did halftime feel at all similar to what you guys had to deal with at halftime at Wisconsin, having a team up on you like that? And can you just talk about any of the emotions in the second half when you’re making so many big plays, what’s that emotional swing like to be so high after some tough things in the first half?

SANZENBACHER: I guess it was kind of similar, and I think it was also similar in the sense that we were able to come out with a lot of energy in the second half. I think even at Wisconsin, with it not going the way we wanted it to, guys were playing hard and we at least gave ourselves a chance. Obviously today we were able to get a little bit more points on the board, defense bailed us out. I think as an offense, we kind of have come to expect that, maybe a little selfishly, but we always expect our defense to make those huge plays for us.

ROLLE: It did kind of feel similar to Wisconsin, but our seniors, other than that situation, from that situation, we had it different getting in the locker room and knowing that we just have to settle down like Cam said earlier and play our defense. It wasn’t like in the first half that guys weren’t doing their job, guys were just trying to do too much, too excited. We had it in the back of our mind, we was talking about it earlier about two years ago how it didn’t go our way, I think guys went out there with excitement, a little excited about it, but in the second half, I felt like after two years in the locker room, coaches got together, talked about it, just settled down, offense play hard, defense, special teams, we did that and guys did amazing.

REPORTER: Ross, can you talk about being back?

HOMAN: It felt good being out there with the rest of my teammates and everything, kind of experiencing that, so it felt great definitely with the win and how we bounced back from the first half, so it felt good being back out there with those guys.