On how the DB room is making this WR group better:
I think that’s huge. That’s probably been understated. The DB’s we have on this football team are some of the best in the country. As a group, very elite. This could be one of those years where the best defensive backs we see are the ones we’re facing day-in and day-out.
On CJ Saunders:
He’s a phenomenal young man. Taking the opportunity and turning it into captain, that’s pretty unprecedented. He adds great depth to our room. He’s a warrior. He’s a machine. When I need a guy, he’s always that guy. I feel very confident when he’s on the field.
On teaching guys to enjoy the moment at Ohio State:
I try to teach them what it’s like [in the NFL] and how fun it is to be here right now with your teammates. For some, this is going to be the most fun they ever have playing football, and they need to embrace that.
On how the players have received him:
They’re paying attention, and if you’ve seen practice, I get after those guys. It’s a hard position to play. I want them to be great. They want to be great. They’ve bought in, and I appreciate that.
On the state of the secondary:
I think they’re gaining confidence, which to me is the most important thing. I want those guys to play confident. I want them to have fun because on game day, we got to go play. They’re getting close. The confidence is definitely growing.
On his staying at Ohio State after the addition of Coach Hafley:
I never had a good feeling to leave, but after talking to him, I had a good feeling to stay. I got excited, and if I was to leave everything that’s happening now, be on the outside looking in, I would be so sad. I’m happy I stayed.
On why exactly he stayed:
Because of what’s happening now. I saw it in that office when we were talking [in January]. … Because of his resume, off the bat everybody respected what he had to say. I would tell the young guys how I felt about him, and I feel like my say has a lot of weight.
On how performance in Michigan game changed his mindset entering last off-season:
It kind of humbles me more just to know that the coaches, players are expecting more from me. I’m expecting to make an impact on offense and more on special teams – block punts, be a gunner, run down on kickoff, play kickoff return. Just do what my teammates expect from me.
On how many defensive backs will get playing time:
With our defense being so versatile, there will be opportunities for different guys to get on the field and utilize a lot of different skill sets. Guys have a lot of different skill sets … Coach Hafley has emphasized if you’re ready to play, he’s going to put you on the field. He doesn’t have a preference whether two corners play or four corners play. He just wants the best guys on the field. That’s been the philosophy at Ohio State, not just with the defense.
On where he’s been playing defensively:
I do more linebacker work than DB work, but at the same time, as the season has progressed, I’ve been doing DB work as well. I got to be able to know both roles. I think I’m doing pretty good with both of them. It’s a mixture of both, definitely.