FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Ohio State and Clemson have now been in South Florida for 24 hours. The Buckeyes practiced Sunday, while the Tigers go through their first practice on-site Monday afternoon. In each schools’ first meeting with the media, coaches and players revealed excitement but also a business-like attitude.
A vacation this is not. Ohio State and Clemson both have critics to prove wrong. Instead of the Orange Bowl, the Redemption Bowl would be an appropriate moniker for Friday night’s game at Sun Life Stadium. Big wins dot the resumes in recent years, but so too do massive disappointments.
“We’re ready to go,” said Urban Meyer.
- Defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said there’s “always hope” Noah Spence can make it to Miami for the Orange Bowl, but Fickell said team has to continue preparing without him. Jamal Marcus and Steve Miller are the next guys up.
- Fickell confirmed Vonn Bell is the starter at nickel.
- Asked how he deals with criticism, Fickell says you don’t listen. He said he even his kids have made suggestions on defensive adjustments.
- The most similar offense Ohio State has seen in comparison to Clemson this season is its own in practice, according to Fickell.
- “I don’t know if we've seen a receiving corps the entire year like [Clemson’s].” –Fickell
- Bradley Roby, who’s missed some practice time in recent weeks and wore a sleeve on his knee yesterday, was scheduled to appear at interviews but did not show up. Roby is day-to-day, Fickell said. He's still rehabbing. Buckeyes are hopeful to have him match up against Sammy Watkins.
- If Roby can’t go, Armani Reeves will start.
- C.J. Barnett called Sammy Watkins one of the fastest guys OSU’s faced and someone who’s playmaking ability is through the roof.
- On improving the defense, Fickell said it’s as simple as the 11 guys on the field working together.
- Ryan Shazier said the NFL Draft Advisory Board gave him a second-round grade.
- Offensive coordinator Chad Morris called Ohio State one of the finest teams in the country and said they’re probably one play away from playing for the national championship.
- Sammy Watkins was an unknown when he arrived at Clemson. He’s since evolved into one of the best wide receivers in the country. Morris raved about Watkins’ explosiveness and his ability to go up and grab the ball with strong hands.
- Tajh Boyd spurned Ohio State in the weeks before National Signing Day five years ago. He said if he had committed at the Army All-American Bowl, he would currently be an Ohio State Buckeye.
- One week after Urban Meyer was hired at Ohio State, Clemson won the ACC championship. The next day, Morris said his contract was re-done and he became highest paid assistant in the country. Translation: Meyer wanted Morris as the offensive coordinator at Ohio State.
- “For me, it’s about playing the best game I’ve played so far. Not just for me, but for this program and this university.” –Boyd
- Clemson lost to West Virginia 70-33 in the Orange Bowl two years ago. Boyd said it was a product of the team being young. Two years later, he said they’ve matured and are eager to make up for that poor performance.
- In talking about the Buckeyes’ recent pass defense woes, Boyd kept it simple, saying Ohio State hasn’t played its best.
- “If we go out and execute our system, I think we can have anything we want.” –Boyd
- Morris told a funny story where he had team doctors look at Boyd's eyes because he thought he needed glasses. His vision was fine – 20/20, in fact.
- Boyd said he was an impressionable young kid during recruiting process. Said he probably would have committed to final school he visited. After committing to Clemson, Boyd said he never talked to Jim Tressel because he felt so bad. But he said today Tressel is still his guy.
- At one point, Boyd said he wanted to go to Michigan, then added he wouldn't have liked it. He'll make friends in Ohio with that comment.
- “Ohio State has some of the dopest uniforms in the country.” –Boyd