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It’s time for the Ohio State football team to put last week’s performance against Oregon in the review mirror and focus on what’s next. And by next, we mean another game of American collegiate football this Saturday against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
It’s a contest the Buckeyes should be able to handle, but when you are looking at making fix some things by potentially making some significant changes on defense, maybe it’s not as open as shut as one thinks. Still, the talent running out of the tunnel on the scarlet and gray sideline is head and shoulders above the opponent.
Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery knows that all too well. He met with the local media in Tulsa to preview his team’s trip to the Horseshoe and bestowed praise upon Ryan Day and the OSU program.
Here are the highlights of what he said about Ohio State as the teams prepare to face off on Saturday.
Opening statement about Ohio State
"We know we got a great opponent. Coach Day's done a great job up there, tremendous talent, and got it at every position. They're big, they can run, they're well-coached. And we know we got our hands full traveling up there but I know our team is excited about the opportunity to go play, is ready to compete, and knowing that tall task in front of us. Yet, that being said, our team is going up there with one mindset, the mindset of taking care of business, continue to improve, and to get better, and to have an opportunity to give ourselves a chance to win."
On Opportunity to go up and play in front of a big crowd
"I think any time you know the quality of opponent that you're fixing to face -- and our guys like to be tested at the highest level -- and that's what you're getting an opportunity to do this week. Playing in front of a large crowd, we do that quite often. That's not part of it. You know the tradition and the legacy that they have around their place. It's a special place in college football obviously. That being said, we've been up there before, played there before. I think it's more about our guys enjoy the opportunity to go and compete at the highest level."
On what he remembers about the last trip to Ohio State in 2016
"Played them pretty tough there for a little while. The (quarterback) made a couple of throws there late in the second quarter, about three or four minutes probably left in that half. One was kind of a misread by the receiver and him just not being on the same page, another was just a tremendous play by (Malik) Hooker coming across the field on a pick. But, I thought our team played at a really high level that day for most of the day. Then we have the storm come in, I think we're in the locker room for about an hour and a half before we get back onto the field. At that point, I think they just tried to line up and pound on us at that point. So, I thought -- again -- our kids played extremely hard. We gave ourselves some chances there in the first half. I think there was a 4th and short down there on the goaline there we were close to getting, some timeout things if I remember in the middle of all of that. But yeah, I was proud of our kids and the way they competed."
On if he took anything from that trip he can use for this time around
"I think our guys are aware of that part of it. They know that Ohio State's got a lot of talented players. See that year in and year out, they do a great job of recruiting and being able to attract that type of athlete. I think we've got good players too, and I'm excited for our guys to go up and compete, and get an opportunity to test themselves vs. one of the elite programs in the country. As far as the logistics of the stadium goes, again, our guys have played in big stadiums, they've played in front of large crowds, they've been in environments where it's loud. We got to handle those in the proper way, but we'll talk about them, we'll visit about them. Obviously, from a noise level standpoint, we'll work towards that this week, but I don't think they're going to be intimidated by the size of the crowd or stadium or any of those things."
On coaching different after a loss like Ryan Day is going to be doing
"I think all of us are different, they handle it differently. I think more times than not, most coaches are in the mindset of you get through that tape with them, you're going to study it, you're going to learn from it. I'm sure there are some critical things that they want to coach up and preach on. And you get back out to work, you're going to focus on your next opponent, but you're going to go back to some of the fundamental things that you got to make sure that you get right to give yourself a chance to win each and every week. I don't know that he's going to coach dramatically different than he did the week before. There's some things maybe in some of those win games that you might slide here or there, after those losses all of those are being addressed and being taken care of."
On facing an explosive Ohio State offense
"More than anything else, you've got to eliminate as many of the explosive plays as you can. I mean the running backs are explosive, their receivers, they've got dynamic receivers on the outside. The quarterback obviously is young but playing extremely well, can do it with his legs and with his arm. So, you've got to eliminate those explosive plays as much as possible. And then, you've got to try and do a good job of being really aggressive to an extent of trying to get them behind the chains. if you're first down, second down, first down, first down, first down, second down -- you got to get them in those third-down situations You got to get them in those third down and long situations. You got to make them earn yards, you can't give them cheap yards. And you got to find a way to create a turnover here or there."
On whether this year's defensive team is better equipped to matchup than the one from 2016 that was more offensive
"Overall, every game we go into, it's about what we do as a team. It's going to be offense, defense, special teams. You got to have all three segments playing at a really good rate. I do think that this is a talented defense that we have. Obviously, we need all of them over there to be able to perform at the level that we want to play at. Then offensively, kind of the same thing. I think we've got good weapons, we've got guys that are really stepping up. I thought especially in the second half the other day, you started to see us starting to come around offensively and kind of gain some confidence, gain momentum. We got to continue to take those steps. But, it's going to be about us as a football team not about one side or the other or special teams. It's going to be about what we do as a team."
On how the atmosphere at Ohio State compares to other places he's been
"Shoot, we've been to a few places. Oklahoma State's crowd is always good. You start banging on those paddles and it's right there on top of you. OU's (Oklahoma) got a good crowd noise, and it's difficult to play in. Playing down in Austin is difficult. There's been a lot. At some point in there to me, you know, the noise level is that it is right? So, it's a big crowd, there's going to be a noise level to it. Is it greater than other places we've been to? I don't think so, but I know they're going to bring a lot of noise and we got to be prepared for it." [listicle id=60546]