Four days before Ohio State takes on Miami (Ohio) and three days after the Buckeyes beat Indiana, starting quarterback Justin Fields and a trio of teammates – Robert Landers, Wyatt Davis and Damon Arnette – each took the podium for press conferences on Tuesday.
Here are updates from all four Ohio State players:
- Landers says he has gotten "a lot of feedback" after expressing his thoughts on mental health awareness. He says he has had a couple opportunities crop up that he hopes to soon capitalize on as a speaker.
- How does Ohio State succeed on third downs? "We play a lot of football in practice." He says it allows for the players to simulate scenarios in practice.
- Landers says Justin Fields is a "phenomenal football player both physically and mentally." He says Fields' IQ is off the charts. The starting defense often faces the starting offense, he says.
- He says the three nose tackles all have different styles of play and they understand where they each fit within the defense. They push each other, he says, and they get happier for each other's success rather than their own.
- Landers: "I've been here a long time." Even when it's a "grind day," he says he always has fun going through the grind together.
- On Jonathon Cooper: "Coop is Coop. I love Coop." He says they have a great relationship right now and will when they're "old and wrinkly."
- He says the mindset of the defense is they still have a lot of work to do. "What I'm seeing is special, but it could be 100 times better."
- Landers, when told the defense is allowing just 1.7 yards per carry: "Oh, that's ridiculous. It's crazy because we could be a lot better."
- He says they did more team drills in the offseason than they did in past years.
- Landers says the things Chris Olave does in games, he does in practice: "Our offense is a show every week. They're a pain in practice, Monday through Thursday."
- On going back to the film and nitpicking: "It's a learning experience, but it's also kind of a wow moment."
- "We also feel like our ceiling's very high."
- Fields says he missed too many throws on Saturday. "Again, that's just on me." He says he watched film and began working on making improvements beginning on Sunday.
- Fields on whether he surpassed his own expectations or not: "Kind of what I expected." He says it's not too surprising how he has played.
- He says Ryan Day talked to him about improving his footwork and keeping a wide base during Saturday's game.
- Fields says he has been low key his entire life. He says his dad told him to always stay humble.
- "Not every quarterback can hit the woah quite like me."
- He says physicality has been a focus of the offensive line since fall camp.
- Davis, when asked about the Indiana coaches focusing on attacking the right side of Ohio State's offensive line: "I just try not to focus on stuff that comes from outside the team." He says he understands why teams could say that because Branden Bowen dealt an injury and he's relatively inexperienced.
- Davis says Ohio State always celebrates the wins, especially since the offensive line has graded out as champions.
- "If we continue on this path, we can be something really special."
- He says Jonah Jackson has the most knockdowns and they're trying to knock him off the top.
- Davis on one of J.K. Dobbins' touchdowns: "That run was crazy. He was looking like Marshawn Lynch out there."
- He says he looked up to Michael Jordan, who took him under his wing when he entered the program. Jordan has told Davis he misses playing at Ohio State with the tradition and atmosphere of the games.
- Davis says the offensive line has finished blocks better as the season has progressed.
- Why did pancakes turn into knockdowns? "I'm actually not too sure about that one. I miss pancakes too."
- Arnette says he wouldn't throw the ball down the field against this defense. He'd throw bubbles if he were an opposing defensive coordinator.
- "We've got just as much confidence as we need right now to continue playing how we're playing."
- Arnette says the interception return for touchdown reminded him he made the right decision by returning for school. He says, though, it first hit him when he ran out of the tunnel for the first time.
- Was the interception return for touchdown the best play he's made in his Ohio State career? "That's the biggest play I've made in my life."
- On the interception return for touchdown: "There's a couple more coming."
- He says Jeff Hafley has improved his knowledge of understanding formations and concepts.
- Arnette says he had to pass 18 credits of classes in order to graduate earlier this year. "Last year, it was really all or nothing."
- Was there any doubt you'd make an NFL team had he left after last season? "Nah, there wasn't a doubt about that."
- He says Ryan Day's excitement is motivating. He says he'll have to get another interception for touchdown and see if he runs down the sideline with him.
- On whether he has a message to those who doubted him: "Oh, no. They've just got to keep watching." He says Ohio State fans just want greatness and that sometimes comes out with hate, which he understands. "I can be mean, too, so I ain't tripping."
- Arnette says the game has slowed down and he sees it in slow motion. He thinks everybody on defense is locking in on their jobs.