2011 ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL QUOTES - December 31, 2010

 

OHIO STATE DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR JIM HEACOCK Opening Statement...
"Everybody is excited to be down here.  This is my fourth time coming to the Sugar Bowl and it's always great to get back here.  The people are great.  Our players have been treated very, very well as we have as coaches.  I think they are focused.  I think they are excited to get on with practice and the game.  It's great to be here and it's great to be part of Ohio State. "

On RB Knile Davis and the Arkansas run game how it progressed through the season...
"As we started watching film, and you watch them early in the year.  They've obviously been very strong with their throw game throughout the year and as the season went on and got into November.  They became a better football team and at the end of the season that's a pretty good compliment to them.   The biggest thing that you see is a running attack that's equally as dangerous as their passing attack.  That combination and anytime they can do both things it gives you a little bit more problems. "

On DE Cameron Heyward...
"Luke (Fickell) mentioned yesterday and it's probably the ultimate statement, 'Have you ever seen Cam not give 100 percent effort? "   We can do walk-through, we can do run-through, we can do live, and it doesn't matter.   My answer was 'No'.   I've never seen him not go all out.  The carryover of that within the team is special.  He was voted our most valuable defensive player because of that.  He gives great effort.  He doesn't miss practice.  He's there every day.  He's as enthusiastic yesterday at practice, and actually it was a Monday practice for us yesterday, you would have thought he was playing in the Super Bowl yesterday.  He's running around out there.  He's going all out.   That's his mentality.  That's what he's done since he's been here.  That carryover and that leadership has been really beneficial for the rest of the players and sets an example that's really good for them. "

On the seniors' experience and the time to prep for an opponent in a bowl game...
"Just like us (coaches) being together for a long time, you get to know each other and the more seniors you have, the better understanding they have of knowing what we want-first of all-and what we are trying to accomplish and the way we are trying to accomplish it.  They also have a pretty good understanding of the guys around them and the communication part of it and maybe being a little bit more of on the field coaches in different areas.  Jermale Hines had his hands full this year just bringing in younger guys and as a senior he's got to take over the coaching on the field and get the guys lined up and make sure they know what they're doing.   Our linebackers have been great with B. (Brian) Rolle and Ross (Homan).  Up front Dex (Dexter) Larimore and Cam's (Cameron Heyward) done a great job.  It probably is dependent on what kind of kids they are.  This group of seniors is fantastic.  They're an unbelievable group of seniors.  They've been great to be around ever since they've been here.  They work hard and do the right things.  It's an honor for us to be around them and coach them. "

On facing Oregon last season in the Rose Bowl (Jan 1, 2010)...
"It was a team effort.  I think our guys prepared hard for that game.  We executed, which is always going to be a big factor in a game.  I think the execution was there.  I think our guys played disciplined.  When you're playing an offense like that, I think they had good discipline and did their assignments and prepared hard for that game. We've had so many different offenses that we've played this year you go from one extreme to the other and each week is a little bit different. "Our guys are excited to play Arkansas.  Their tight end is the best in the nation. Their receivers are outstanding.   Their offensive line is outstanding with a top ten draft choice probably.  Their quarterback is outstanding.  Their tailback is a 1200-yard rusher.  You just don't see a weakness in that thing and the challenge hopefully is something that you hang your hat on and your guys step their game up and play their best game. "

CO-DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR LUKE FICKELL

On the Buckeyes wanting to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks during the season...
"I think most of the quarterbacks if you ask them felt like they had some kind of pressure on them. I think our guys did a decent job of getting to the quarterback this year. We don't spend a lot of time looking at stats, but it's always an area where we're trying to get better and become better pass rushers. I think in a lot of cases the sack numbers may not have been as high, but I think we still got really good pressure on a quarterback. And when the interception numbers are high, that's a pretty good indicator that there is more to it than just a quarterback throwing interceptions. I don't know if we're ever satisfied or happy, but I still think we did OK. "

On the unique situation of co-defensive coordinators...
"I think I've never taken that title very seriously. I think the four of us all know what we're doing. Everybody's got their job to do and I don't believe egos are a factor. We work well together and do our thing together as a team. We preach to the defense that there are no individuals on the defensive end and it starts with us. There are no individuals on the coaching staff, and when we go out there we give everything we've got and let the chips fall."

DEFENSIVE BACK - CHIMDI CHEKWA

On what it means to be in New Orleans for his last college game...
"I was born in Virginia, but I was a baby when we moved here.  I lived on the West Bank, in Marrero and Harvey, growing up.  I definitely consider myself a New Orleans guy.  This is where my identity came from.  I still have a lot of friends here. "I'm definitely a Saints fan, and I'll probably always be a Saints fan, until I get a chance on the next level. "I think it's special to start here and to end here, back in the same stadium.  It felt great to be back in the Superdome.  My older brother played for Shaw and he played his game there in the state championship.  My redshirt freshman year, we played there, and now I get to finish off back here at home [in the Superdome]. "I've been a little bit of the go-to guy since I'm from here for the team.  This area in downtown isn't really my area, but I know it a little bit.  Guys look to me for a little bit of direction. "I moved to Florida my freshman year of high school, and then went to Ohio.  I've actually now lived in Ohio longer than I lived in Florida. "

On this season's defensive performance...
"It's been a good time.  I think I've had a pretty good senior season.  I think our defense did a great job, and I'm just excited for this bowl game to finish this on the right foot. "

On the scouting report on Arkansas and its receiving corps...
"I expect them to be tough.  They have a quarterback that can make every throw on the field and who has good field vision.  They have wide receivers who are very athletic, who can get open, and who run pretty good routes.  Their running back also does a good job of running routes or stretching the defense.  So they've got a pretty good offense, we're expecting them to be tough and we're expecting a challenge.

On expecting lots of pass attempts from Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett ...
"You have to expect it and to look forward to it.  If you're not looking forward to it you're in the wrong position.  That's an opportunity for me to excel, but it's also a challenge, and I'm looking forward to that challenge. "My redshirt freshman year (2007), when we played Michigan, Mallett played a lot in our game.  We knew back then he was going to be a great quarterback.  He's a guy a lot of people talked about as being the next great Michigan quarterback.  Watching him on film back then, we knew he was a good quarterback.  Obviously he's a bigger guy now, with a stronger arm, he can make all of the throws on the field, he's someone who's going to be successful on the next level. "[Mallett's] different from the other quarterbacks we've played this year.  I don't think we've played anyone similar to him.  We've played a lot of mobile quarterbacks, he's more of a guy that stays in the pocket longer and then makes all the throws.  So he's a different style from what we've seen all year.  We have to get pressure on him and attack him. "

On the SEC vs. the Big Ten ...
"It means nothing to me at all.  I'm not bothered about the speed at all.  If this was a track meet then maybe I'd be worried a little bit.  But it's a game of football - you go out there, you prepare, and the better team that day wins.  Arkansas is a good team on film, they're a fast team, but it's just a good solid football team; so is Ohio State.  And we're just going to go there and try and get this win. "

On being "0-for-the-SEC " ...
"It doesn't affect me.  I wasn't a part of all of those teams.  Each team is different and this team has its own challenge against Arkansas. "

On Arkansas RB Knile Davis...
"I've watched him on film.  He's a tough runner.  I've seen him get a lot of big runs on plays, and he's a guy who's going to make you focus not only on the pass but the running game.  I think their last few games they've done even better than in the earlier part of the season.  We've got to be prepared for everything; we can't just focus on any one part of the game, but we have to be prepared for everything. "

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN - CAMERON HEYWARD

On the Arkansas offense and if they compare to any team Ohio State has faced this season ...
"It's hard to say if they compare to any one team we have played this season. They have a real strong quarterback in Ryan Mallett. Their offensive line is pretty sound, but you can't get away from their running game. If you're not careful, they can beat you both ways. "

On playing the final game of his career and if it is any more special playing in a city where his father (Craig 'Iron Head' Heyward) played ...
"First of all, it's special just to be in this situation in the Sugar Bowl. To end my career out here, it's a great opportunity to end on a right note. Last time I was here I had a sour taste in my mouth after we left. To end it out here would be great for me. "

On if he has memories of New Orleans as a kid...
"Not really, I was so young. I remember my dad playing from old game film. It's really like a fourth home for me, I've been all over. "

On his father being beloved in New Orleans...
"Yeah, I've encountered so many things so far. People ask 'Are you Iron Head's kid?' They're very gracious and he's always remembered in their eyes. You can definitely say he's one of the most popular guys around here."

On his defensive coordinators saying he never takes a play of practice off and his thoughts on his work ethic...
"With me, I just play 100%. If I'm not going 100%, how can I expect anything else form anyone else? I think when you're going into a game like this, or any game, you have to practice the way you play. You never know what play could be your last, so you need to make the most out of every play. "

On the Arkansas offensive line and the fact they have played together all season long...
"It's unique; you don't ever see an offensive line that's healthy. There's always one guy who gets hurt a little bit, but they've played strong throughout the year. You see them getting more and more cohesive playing together. It's going to be hard for us, but I think we're up for the challenge. "

On how Mallett has progressed since his days at Michigan, and if he is a different quarterback to prepare for since then...
"Definitely. That was basically four years ago, and now, he's on top of his game. He's zipping the ball even faster. He leads his team very well. When you need a big play, you can always rely on him.

LINEBACKER - BRIAN ROLLE

On playing in the Superdome and dealing with a loud crowd...
"For me, as well as the other guys, it brings back a lot of memories from a couple years ago. It is just a lot of fun. Being able to practice in there, I feel like that's an advantage as well. If you are in there every day, there won't be much of a surprise when you get in there for the game. We have the music booming so when we get in there and the crowd is loud, you are kind of already used to it. Going through the practices, not being able to hear as well, and being able to go off of your keys and get signals in. It has been a lot of fun thus far. "

On Ryan Mallett as a quarterback...
"He is a great quarterback, I'll tell you that.  He does a great job making decisions. He does a great op and check. Most quarterbacks get back on the line and get a running play that is called. But you can tell that if he comes out and doesn't like what he sees, he is going to check the play and put them in the best position. I feel like that is where he can become dangerous. If you don't have enough guys in the box, he is going to check for a run and if there is a stack in the box, he is going to pass the ball. I feel that he being as smart as he is is probably the thing you have to watch out for. "

On affecting and getting to Ryan Mallett...
"I feel like we do. We have the front 4 to do it. We don't have to blitz to do it, but if we need to our front 7 can do a great job of putting pressure on him. We have to force him to make bad throws and give our secondary a chance. "

On enjoying New Orleans and the food...

"We had a little fun yesterday; we went out for a little bit, but got in early. We haven't quite gotten out eating. Today I was thinking about going somewhere; find some gumbo or something I haven't eaten before. Today is one of those days you go out and find something to eat that is different. I have had gumbo, but not from here. Hopefully, it is everything it is made out to be. I heard it is the best in Louisiana and hopefully it is. "

On being a "family " on the field...
"If you look at the guy next to you as a family member, not just as another guy playing football, you are willing to work your hardest for him. Just as if you have a brother, an actual brother on the field with you, you are not going to let the next guy take your brother out. You are going to work hard for your brother. If you look at Ross (Homan) as your brother, or Cam, I am going to bleed or sweat for those guys just because I know that is my family. I am going to work my heart out for them to see them succeed and I know he is going to do the same thing. "

LINEBACKER - ROSS HOMAN

On facing a team with so many offensive weapons...
"This is probably the best we have faced all year. Position wise, the tight end is very good, Mallett is very good, the running back is very good, the O-line is very good. "

On Arkansas' balanced offense...
"A lot of people see Ryan Mallett, but nobody realizes that the passing game opens up the running game. Knile Davis is unbelievable. He is very strong. He really runs hard. It should be a challenge for us. "

On comparing Knile Davis to another running back he has faced...
"He has the size and runs like a John Clay but he is quick like a scat-back that we have played. "

On Ryan Mallett...
"He is probably the best quarterback we have seen all year. He does a good job of reading the defense. He gets them out of bad situations. He makes throws that are hard to make. It's a matter of getting pressure and making plays. "

On the Arkansas' pro-style offense...
"It's definitely more of a pro style offense with the way that the offense operates. What they do, they do very well. The running game opens up from the passing game. They really are a balanced offense. "

On the difference between the Arkansas' offense and most college offenses...
"It's a pro style offense. There are more spread formations with three, four, or five wide receivers at a time. They really do run more of a pro style offense. They run the ball with a great running back, they have a great tight end, and they have three or four good wide receivers to throw to as well."

LINEMAN - DEXTER LARIMORE

On getting pressure on Ryan Mallett...
"I think it's going to be very difficult.  I think Ryan Mallett is one of the best quarterbacks we've faced.  He does a lot of things we really don't like to see as a defense.  He can throw those quick balls, short passes, he's got a great release, but the thing is if you don't get back there, he's going to hit you deep.  He's got great arm strength so it's one of those things, you've got to be able to cover the football, and you have to cover the long guys and all those things that you have to do as a defense.  Really, I think it's going to come down to our line against their line.  They're a good offensive line so it will be a very tough challenge. "

On his impression of New Orleans so far...
"I think it's a great city.  Our seniors were here three years ago, in 2007 and it's a great city.  There are a lot of sights; very historic.   A lot of places to go, stuff like that.  Me personally, I'm kind of focused on the game so I didn't want to go out to Bourbon Street and see all that kind of stuff, but I heard it's pretty fun and stuff.  It's great to be back here in New Orleans, for the Sugar Bowl.  It's a great city and it's good to be here."

On Arkansas' running attack...
"It definitely adds another element to their game.  Earlier in the season, watching film, they had to get into a certain formation to run the ball and stuff like that.  Now, they can run the ball out of anything.  They can create seams as an offensive line.  I think Knile Davis really turned it on and was able to read those seams, really get up field, get those yards for them and I think it adds another element that you really don't want to see.  As a defense, to be able to play the run and the pass and play the play actions which is even tougher.  It's going to give Mallett a little more time. It's going to be hard to read.  It's going to create another element that our defensive line is not excited to see.  "