Just minutes after learning that Ohio State is the No. 2 seed in this year's College Football Playoff and will play No. 3 Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 28, Buckeyes coach Ryan Day, center Josh Myers and defensive tackles Jashon Cornell and Robert Landers met with the local media at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center to react to the selection and look ahead to the semifinal game.
Bullet-point notes from each of them are below, beginning with Day:
- "Do I feel like we should have been the 1 seed? Yeah." But immediately follows up by saying LSU, and specifically former Ohio State quarterback Joe Burrow, has had a great season.
- Day said he thought Clemson had a case to be the No. 1 seed too, and now the Buckeyes have to put all of their focus on preparing for Clemson.
- "At the end of the day, you have to beat the best to go win the national championship."
- On the second-half comeback against Wisconsin: "That was the best game we've had all year, because of that, and we found out a lot about ourselves."
- Day said Drue Chrisman has experience playing quarterback and actually took some snaps last summer when the Buckeyes were short on quarterback depth, so they knew he could threw and were confident having him throw a fake punt pass against Wisconsin.
- Day notes that Clemson is the defending champion and it hasn't lost since, so it's going to be a huge challenge to play the Tigers.
- Day said there's a strong case that Clemson has been the best defensive team in the country over the past five years. He described Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables as "innovative." "He does a great job."
- Day said Brendon White, who didn't make the trip to the Big Ten Championship Game, "wasn't available for personal reasons."
- Day said Ohio State will use the 31-0 loss to Clemson in 2016 as a "reference point," but doesn't think it will be a huge motivating factor because this year's team is very different than that team.
- On Wisconsin's defensive front: "They're a good front, and they're one of the best rushing defenses in the country for a reason."
- Day said the Buckeyes will treat this week like a bye week, the following week will be treated like a game week, then they will allow the players to go home for a couple days before traveling to the Fiesta Bowl and having another game week of preparation there.
- Day said the Buckeyes are "OK" health-wise right now with no major injuries.
- Day said the Buckeyes limited Justin Fields' running plays against Wisconsin because of our sprained MCL.
- "Our guys see ourselves as being the best in the country, so the moment won't be too big for them."
- Myers said he thought it would be a "toss-up" whether Ohio State would be No. 1 or No. 2.
- Myers said Clemson is a great team and he's impressed by what he's seen from them on TV, and he's looking forward to diving into watching film. He said he watched Clemson play during the day before a couple of Ohio State's night games.
- "All four of these teams are great football teams," so playing Oklahoma would have been a tough matchup too if Ohio State was No. 1.
- "Coach Day is excellent at motivating our team, and I'm sure he'll use every angle he can to motivate our team as much as he possibly can."
- On the second-half comeback against Wisconsin: "I'm so proud of the way we turned around and came back and gritted our teeth and won that game."
- Myers said he isn't overly disappointed about being the No. 2 seed. "We're in the College Football Playoff. What else can you ask for?"
- "The Big Ten is a great conference, and we're going to do our represent the Big Ten, to represent the North."
- Myers, who wasn't on the team yet in 2016, said he was "in shock" seeing Ohio State's 31-0 loss to Clemson.
- Cornell said the Buckeyes can't focus on playing Clemson or what happened against Clemson the last time Ohio State played Clemson, but on what they have to do to play their best football. He said the Buckeyes are a completely different team now than they were in 2016.
- Cornell said the Buckeyes are ready for a physical break after playing their five straight games.
- Cornell said that when the recruiting class of 2015 arrived, they didn't realize everything it took to be a college football player, but the fifth-year seniors who are still at Ohio State have learned that collectively over the years.
- On dropping to the No. 2 seed: "We're ready to play. We don't care where we're at."
- As he has said in the past, Cornell said the Buckeyes are having more fun playing for one another than they have in past years.
- Landers said he expects both teams to be ready to play a great game in the Fiesta Bowl. "At the end of the day, you never know what's going to happen on a Saturday."
- "When we played Clemson in 2016, it was a different era of Ohio State ... I feel like the team that we are now is completely different from the team that we were in 2016 ... yes, it's in the history books, but that's it, it's history. We gotta focus on the present."
- Landers said ultimately, the Buckeyes' success will be determined by the players and how well they play.
- Landers said the team was more disappointed than shocked by the Buckeyes' 31-0 loss to Clemson in 2016.