Presser Bullets: Justin Fields, Shaun Wade, Marcus Hooker, Nicholas Petit-Frere, Chris Booker Talk About Upcoming Penn State Game, Game 1 Reflections

By Colin Hass-Hill on October 28, 2020 at 11:57 am

Several Buckeyes were in front of the mic on Wednesday.

Quarterback Justin Fields, cornerback Shaun Wade, safety Marcus Hooker, right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere and walk-on wide receiver Chris Booker (the special teams player of the week) joined the media to talk about Ohio State's season opener and the upcoming showdown with Penn State. 

A bullet-point rundown of their comments:

Justin Fields

  • He says he'd grade his spin move on the touchdown a "B." Fields says he looks to scramble when nobody's open or when he sees "some green grass." He says it differs throughout the game.
  • Fields on if he cares about there not being a White Out: "No, not really. I wasn't really going there for the experience." He says he plan was to go there to win and beat Penn State regardless of the crowd.
  • He says he doesn't have a set number of carries he wants in each game.
  • On running instead of throwing to Garrett Wilson in the end zone: "I just saw green grass. I think a big part in playing quarterback is making decisions and not second-guessing yourself."
  • If Ryan Day is on him as much about throwing the ball away: "No. I think he has a lot more confidence in me." 
  • "Being at Ohio State, we expect to win every game." He says they try to manage expectations.
  • Fields remembers games like Purdue in 2018 that the Buckeyes lost, so he knows the importance of focusing on a week-by-week basis. He said he doesn't think it's hard to stay focused on one week at a time, because he and his teammates know that if they lose just one game, that could prevent them from achieving their goals.
  • It definitely happened a little bit last game in terms of getting tackled and guys trying to twist my ankle or whatnot." He says it happens more often when facing teams that don't have as good of a chance to beat Ohio State.
  • On Josh Myers: "Me and Josh's communication is basically making sure we're on the same page." He says his job is to "set the ID" and Fields' job is to "trump anything I see."
  • On Jaxon Smith-Njigba's touchdown catch: "It's not really surprising to see that catch he made. He does it all the time in practice."
  • He says the game felt as though it moved slower in the first game of his second season as a starter at Ohio State.
  • Fields says he was, of course, sore after the game, but he's recovering fine and will be fully healthy by Saturday.

Shaun Wade

  • On Wisconsin's COVID-19 outbreak: "I can't really worry about other teams. I can only worry about my team." He says Ohio State's wearing masks and going through usual protocols.
  • The message of wearing masks and continuing to social distance has been constant.
  • They haven't implemented a scheme yet to deal with Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth, but he has talked about him with Pete Werner and Josh Proctor about him.
  • He's a very elite tight end. He can block but doesn't like to block. He has great hands." He mentions a stick-and-out that Freiermuth ran that was especially dangerous.
  • Wade says he was hard on himself for dropping a possible interception on Saturday, but "at the end of the day" it's a pass breakup.
  • He says it was different playing without fans, so they hype each other up more on the sideline.
  • "I love the White Out. It's definitely a big challenge." He says he was looking forward to it. "I love their fans trying to rile us up." 
  • Wade says he was pleased with his first game, but... "I definitely know I've got more in me."
  • He'll have to wait until the end of the year to answer whether it's easier to play slot cornerback or on the outside.
  • Wade says Penn State's wide receivers are different from what they dealt with last year. Also mentions quarterback Sean Clifford is fast.
  • On whether on Saturday he thought about the season almost not happening: "No, not really. I was happy to be on the field, to be honest."
  • He says it's a "blessing" to be around his teammates.
  • What's different about Fields this year: "That vegan diet. He slimmed up." He says he's too skinny to be a vegan. Wade also says Fields has grown as a leader. 
  • Wade says he prays at the same spot before every game to give thanks for his situation and the people in his life.
  • He says Sevyn will do "great things," though he wasn't challenged much last year.
  • On Marcus Hooker: "Hook is a great safety back there. He gets plays down."
  • Playing for Kerry Coombs: "Just glad to have him back, in general."
  • "This week is going to be that challenge for everybody." It's another step for everybody, in his mind.
  • He says the Nittany Lions have an "explosive" offense.

Nicholas Petit-Frere

  • He says they're working on blocking stunts. "That's one of the corrections we're fixing at the moment."
  • Petit-Frere says Penn State has a "very talented" defense with defensive ends
  • On the defensive ends: "We're not at the level we want to be at."
  • About defensive end Shaka Toney: "He's a very athletic defensive end, very talented." He says he knows Penn State had many "tough rushes" last week and last year.
  • He says during the break in the offseason, a goal was set to gain 10 pounds and reach 315 pounds. "A lot of people kind of hated quarantine for the most part." Petit-Frere, however, saw it as an advantage to eat well and work out. 
  • Petit-Frere says he feel "more confident" about himself and both stronger and more physical without having lost any speed.
  • On getting a long-awaited start: "It's huge. I've been working at that ever since last year, from January all the way through."
  • He says being named a starter is "just a blessing."
  • Petit-Frere says the expectation is to grade out a champion. "For us to do our job is to grade out as a champion." He says he's glad he was able to do his job.
  • He says he couldn't go any gyms while at home in Florida. "I thought me roof could support me. I was kind of mistaken by that." He says there were a couple of things broken that first day or two. The HOA fixed the gutter, he notes.
  • Having Wyatt Davis beside him led them to have "amazing" practices. "He's just so talented. He moves his body so well."
  • He says it feels "more rewarding" to finally be playing.
  • Petit-Frere says Fields "feels great" with his vegan diet. He's recruited some teammates to be vegan with him. "I don't think I'll join."
  • He ate "a lot of spaghetti" while back at home.
  • Jayson Oweh is "another great challenge" for the Buckeyes. 
  • He just wants to compete, which has always been the goal when fighting to play this year, and that's what they'll do on Saturday.
  • Going through the past couple of years: "It was just a lot of me developing." He had to get his body a certain way and put it all together.
  • Petit-Frere says "the power of the unit" helped him not get discouraged. "They always see people go through highs. They always see people go through lows." 
  • He says the line's goal is improving week to week.

Marcus Hooker

  • He says he came into Saturday with the mentality of not messing up, so he'll control what he can moving forward and "play my game." He's going to try not to get ahead of himself next week.
  • Hooker thinks they were "stuck in practice mode" when the opener with Nebraska began.
  • "I kind of beat myself up" over the missed tackle on the first drive. "I had to just get over it at that moment." Since it was the beginning of the game, he knew he couldn't dwell on it.
  • He says the atmosphere at Penn State was always "great" when he went. "It would have been great playing in that arena with their fans."
  • Hooker says his first start came "faster than I thought it would." He feels like he's not even a starter because he shares it with Josh Proctor.
  • He says he wasn't always at free safety in his career. Was playing a hybrid linebacker spot last year.
  • On playing with Proctor: "His presence on the field with me, we have that connection to where we're always talking, getting to know what's going on on the field." Hooker says he and Proctor are fine with rotating.
  • Hooker says the game on Saturday reminded him of practicing at Ohio Stadium.
  • After Nebraska's first drive, he says, Ohio State's defense realized they couldn't afford to play like that anymore and vowed to step up. 
  • Malik Hooker told Marcus he could tell he was nervous. He admits he was overthinking certain plays.
  • He says he hears from family members or family friends back at home about not playing for Pittsburgh rather than not playing for Penn State.
  • Hooker says it's a "great feeling" getting to play a team from Pennsylvania, his home state.
  • On if he expects Penn State to attack Ohio State heavily through the passing game: "As of right now, I can't even say that because at times of the week, you never know what they can put in, what packages they put in."
  • On the freshman receivers: "They all made amazing plays during practice." He says there was a point in practice where all four had one-handed catches.
  • He says he'll focus on making plays than thinking whether or not he can make plays.
  • Hooker says he felt better by the second drive of the Nebraska game.

Chris Booker

  • He says he redshirted as a freshman at Dayton and transferred out of the school because he wasn't interested in playing football anymore. He transferred to Ohio State, didn't play competitive football for a year, decided to play for the club football team. Club coach James Grega contacted a couple of Ohio State staff members who then got Booker onto the Buckeyes football team.
  • On playing on the kickoff unit: "Hard work. Hard work and effort. It means so much to me. Just to be able to get the chance to play football again." He says he had a "big hole in my life" when he stopped playing football.
  • "I really appreciate the opportunity. That's all I can say. I'm just blessed."
  • Booker says playing college football is a "whole nother animal." 
  • Playing club football felt like high school football again, he says. It made him fall back in love with the game.
  • Grega made Booker the highlight tape that he showed to football staffers Tim Hinton and Justin Perez. "I can't thank him enough."
  • He says Penn State always has a quality returner. "What we've got to do is make sure we bring the energy and do our jobs."
  • On the club football team: "You'll find some of the best guys there." Almost everybody on the team plays because they love the game, he says.
  • He put on 10 pounds in order to play at this level.
  • Booker says you don't get a lot of conversations with Ryan Day since he's so busy, but he's always positive and giving praise and pointers when he talks to the coach. "He actually knows me as a person. He's invested."
  • "At this level, you really can't help but to be grateful."
  • He says he got open in a 7-on-7 play, and right afterward Tony Alford came up to him and asked how many more years of eligibility he has. Booker told Alford it's his last year, and the coach said it's a shame because he's improved a lot.
  • Mickey Marotti came up to him after practice one day and told him, "If you keep doing what you're doing, you're going to play." Booker says he didn't know what to say since so few walk-ons play.
View 23 Comments