Presser Bullets: Justin Fields, Jeff Okudah, DaVon Hamilton, Austin Mack Discuss Michigan Win, Upcoming Big Ten Title Game

By Colin Hass-Hill on December 3, 2019 at 1:45 pm
Justin Fields

Four days before Ohio State takes on Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game and three days after the Buckeyes beat Michigan, Justin Fields and a trio of teammates – Austin Mack, DaVon Hamilton and Jeff Okudah – each took the podium for press conferences on Tuesday.

Here are updates from the five players:

Justin Fields:

  • Fields says there will always be people who doubt you, so you just have to play your game. He doesn't thrive on doubters.
  • On his focus right now: "That I still have room to grow. That I still have room to improve."
  • He says he does different exercises and ices his knee every day to get his sprained MCL healthy.
  • Fields says he doesn't remember the first time he met Garrett Wilson. "Garrett's always been a cool guy." 
  • He says his dad told him when he was younger to just do whatever he could to get off the field, but he couldn't do that on Saturday. As time passed, the pain began to go away, so he put on the bigger brace and went back to play against Michigan.
  • On his knee braces: "I had the big one on the Tuesday and Wednesday practice. And then I had the one I started the game with on Thursday." He says the bigger brace limits running, but that's necessary for injury prevention. He'll wear the bigger brace on Saturday.
  • He says he just goes with the flow and never gets too down on himself. "If I tore my ACL, I would be the same way right now."
  • He says the weather doesn't affects the offense. "I feel like the offense will be the same" as it has been both at the beginning of the season and in the past few weeks.
  • On his knee: "It hurts right now, of course." He says he tries to get into the training room as often as possible to rehab it.
  • He says he'll play on Saturday.
  • Fields says he won't be able to be as mobile with the bigger brace, but he has to wear it to "keep my knee safe."
  • He says he didn't think much of his touchdown pass after coming back onto the field immediately, but after the game he realized it was "remarkable" since it happened in his first play back.
  • Fields doesn't think his knee brace affects his throwing ability.

DaVon Hamilton:

  • Hamilton says there's always room to improve each week, even from the last time Ohio State faced Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor.
  • On picking up five sacks: "I'm just blessed to be able to do that." He says his pass-rush skills have been one of his biggest improvements.
  • Says Taylor is "very patient" and "quick," which poses a challenge.
  • He says "mental toughness" has been the key to winning week after week.
  • Hamilton says he didn't try to set a sack goal. "I'm just trying to be as good as a player for my team as possible."
  • He says being a nose guard means his main job is to take up double teams and stop the run.
  • On when Ryan Day got hired: "When we first heard about it, we were pretty excited." He says not too many people expected the success that Day has had, which has gained trust. Having Day already on staff aided the transition from Urban Meyer to Day, he says. 

Austin Mack:

  • "I was like, 'Dang,' because I had just caught the ball from him." He says he thought Chris Chugunov would be able to "hold it down." Says it was "definitely a little bit scary." 
  • On playing indoors in this week's Big Ten Championship Game after several games in bad weather, he jokes: "I don't know what's better, getting to play for rings or getting to play inside."
  • He says he has a "lot of momentum" right now. On his touchdown versus Michigan: "They were going to have to hit me kind of hard for me not to score on that one."
  • On Day: "He's a great dude, just personally." He says his office is always open and he wants players to "just come in and hang out."
  • On Day: "As a coach, he's a fighter."
  • Mack says it's difficult for a passing game to thrive in bad weather. On playing inside on Saturday: "It's going to be fun."
  • He says Day was in a program that wasn't his last year. Then when he took over in the spring, it had a Meyer feel before he put his own stamp on it.
  • Mack says he'll forever be able to forever say he never lost to Michigan. "It's dope."

Jeff Okudah:

  • Okudah says Ohio State's secondary set a goal in January to "bring BIA back."
  • He says he expects Shaun Wade to be back on Saturday and that he was missed against Michigan.
  • Okudah says Donovan Peoples-Jones began to shy away from contact as the game progressed due to the physicality of the defense.
  • On Damon Arnette playing through pain with a cast: "I think it's been really commendable, what he's been able to do."
  • He says Arnette sets the mentality for the defense and it would be a different team without him.
  • Per Okudah, Day said before the Michigan game that in a heavyweight fight, you'll get punched a few times. "I just think that showed our resiliency."
  • He says that "stepping up for a player like Shaun is never easy."
  • On possibly winning the Thorpe Award: "It would be big just to be recognized among the top DBs that came through here." He says it would be big both for himself and the university.
  • On leaving Texas for Columbus: "It feels really good. I'm really glad I made the decision to come to Ohio State."
  • Okudah says you have to "expect the unexpected" when facing a team for the second time.
View 14 Comments