On Dec. 29, Ohio State and Missouri will meet in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas. Four weeks ahead of the New Year's Six competition, the head coaches of those teams, Ryan Day and Eliah Drinkwitz, participated in a Zoom teleconference to preview the matchup between the No. 7-ranked Buckeyes and No. 9-ranked Tigers.
Amid their calls, Day revealed that Ohio State is “expecting everyone to play” in the Cotton Bowl as the Buckeyes look to finish the season strong, while Drinkwitz discussed his respect for Day and the Ohio State football program, which he called a “blue blood” of college football.
Here is a bullet-point recap of the teleconference:
- Day opened the Zoom teleconference with some comments about the Cotton Bowl and Missouri: "We have a tremendous amount of respect for the Cotton Bowl. We were there in 2017. We played USC. ... The Cotton Bowl is one of those most hospitable bowls. ... It's the gold standard in hospitality. ... We are looking forward to returning to the Cotton Bowl. A great opponent in Missouri. Coach Drinkwitz does a great job."
- On Ohio State's defense vs. Missouri's offense: "You're gonna get challenged. It's a great opportunity for our defense to go against a good opponent. ... It will be a good month of preparation for our younger guys."
- On Ohio State's offensive line: "Coming out of the last game, there were some things that we thought we could have done better. ... There were a couple of breakdowns in protection in the last drive that cost us. ... If you look at the progress from the start of the season (to now), there was progress made. But it wasn't good enough for us to win the last game."
- On Tommy Eichenberg: "Tommy really took the next step this year – really helped himself, I think, coming back for his senior year. ... I think Tommy is one of the best linebackers in the country. ... He has the opportunity to play himself into being one of the top linebackers drafted in the NFL draft. ... His production speaks for itself."
- On Ohio State participating in the Cotton Bowl, the future of the College Football Playoff: "The Cotton Bowl has been a big part of the bowl season and college football for a long time. ... It's always an honor to be a part of such a great bowl. ... Getting into next year (with the CFP), there's a lot of time to process that. ... It will be different than it was this year. We will cross that bridge when we get there and find out how those changes are."
- On Coach Drinkwitz: "I know Eli does a great job in all three phases. He's always done a great job on offense. Their defensive coordinator does a great job. ... We know they are a very good team. ... It will be a great challenge for us."
- On the Cotton Bowl, Ohio State's fan representation in Texas: "It's always been great ever since I came to Ohio State. ... This will be the third time that I've been there. I know the national championship was there. Great area for Ohio State, so I am excited about that part of it."
- Day said Ohio State will have three phases in bowl practices, including technique, opponent preparation and practices in Texas before the bowl game. "Anytime you are on the field, it matters. ... We want to make sure we finish the season the right way. ... Over the next month, we will prepare to play our best football to finish the season."
- On Ohio State's player availability for the Cotton Bowl: "We're expecting everyone to play. ... Our guys will be ready to roll here."
- In his opening statement, Drinkwitz said Missouri is ready for the challenge of facing Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl: "Very excited to play in the 88th Cotton Bowl Classic against a great opponent in Ohio State, coached by an outstanding coach in Ryan Day with a ton of tremendous players."
- On Ryan Day: "I think he's a tremendous football coach. I've followed his career. I have tremendous respect for the work he's done. ... I think he's one of the elite coaches in college football. He does a tremendous job offensively... because (Ohio State is) always on the cutting edge. I also have a tremendous amount of respect for the person he is as well as the football coach."
- On Missouri's fans being excited to attend the Cotton Bowl, the Tigers' player availablity: "I think we will have great representation for our fan base. ... I know that the excitement for us is really strong. Our team plans to play. I expect our team to be at full strength."
- On how Missouri will prepare for potential opt-outs from some of Ohio State's draft-eligible players: "You don't worry about it. ... We have no control over how that will play out. Each individual student-athlete has to do what is best in their own self-interest. ... As far as our preparation, we are preparing to play a great opponent. ... You got to worry and prepare for the scheme. Jim Knowles is one of the best defensive coordinators in college football. Obviously, Brian Hartline and Ryan Day do a tremendous job on the offensive side of the ball."
- On what it will be like for Missouri to face Ohio State for the first time in 25 years: "We were fortunate to be the first announcement of the selection show, and, man, when you see your name up next to Ohio State, as a brand, that's a blue blood. ... That's exciting. ... (This game) is something I'm gonna be present in and enjoy the moment."
- On Missouri's desire to win the Cotton Bowl: "Anytime you keep score and play a game, you want to win. ... It's the next opportunity versus a really good opponent. ... We have an opportunity to be 1-0. ... That's what we're gonna try to do. Whatever happens after that is out of our control."
- Drinkwitz said he gave up play-calling at Missouri before the season and saw benefits from it. He said his role has shifted to motivating his players to play on Saturday rather than worrying so much about Xs and Os on Saturdays. "I was more intentional and focused on managing the game, being present and motivating our players and staff."
- "This is one of those all-time great bowl games. ... It is a dream of mine to be associated with the Cotton Bowl Classic. ... I can't wait to be down there all week."