Head Coach Tim Albin
On the Emotions and The Frank
I want to start out by just saying thank you to the fans. Unbelievable, home run, the attendance was an unbelievable sight and they were loud. Tonight was impressive and I mentioned this to miss Cromer walking off at halftime, it was a shot in the arm for the team and you could tell they were proud, it was talked about in the locker room. So I want to thank the fans, Brooke, Michael Stevens, Jacob Rockoff for Pups at Peden, and everyone that got behind the project. This is a great thing, so thank you, thank you everybody for that. I have to give a shoutout again to Michael and his team for the game day experience. I’ve been here for 18 seasons, I’ve seen a lot of game days here and Miss Cromer’s vision on what she wants to get done and how they are executing that. I’m an expert, I’ve been here more than anybody in the room for the gameday experience and it was really great and I know that,I hear it from the community, I’ve got a lot of friends in the community, and it’s much appreciated. Whoever was in charge of the weather for the home games this year needs a raise because we’ve had some great weather.
On tonight’s Atmosphere and Performances
So on tonight’s game, I’ve saved it for the last three weeks. All three phases continue to compliment each other and it becomes just feeding off each other, the energy you can feel it. Our team and the way they look at each other, I’m telling you right now making plays out there, whether it’s in the first half or second half, they’re not looking at the sideline, they’re looking at each other. That’s done from this coaching staff about believing in one another, over-believing, is a word I’ve used and this team is about it. I said in the locker room after the game, it’s very very humbling to be a part of it, so many outstanding performances.
On Kurtis Rourke’s Injury and C.J. Harris Stepping Up
We don’t get to this spot, this seeding, with what better be player of the year, Kurtis. The injury he sustained, now, he’s got a great surrounding and a great supporting cast around him, but my golly, his leadership; two time team captain and what he’s meant to this program and how he has elevated his game, I said it in Detroit, for us to get what we want to get done he has to take the next steps. Well guess what? He took a big one this season, so our hearts break for what he is going to go through, but I know he’s going to battle and be just fine. That’ll lead me right into CJ, I’ll say the same thing, we didn’t change a call differently and he’s calm and cool, commanded the offense, it’s like I’m talking to Curtis, he’s done very well. I didn’t do a lot of talking with him throughout the course of the week, but I was looking over there because you just want to see how he’s doing. He prepared like he always does, taking notes and he did great. And it’ll be a home game for him, he’s leading us to Detroit. So I’m really lost for words at this point, but the staff and I just say it was really special.
On Running the Ball
You don’t run the ball without the guys upfront getting it done, they had a couple of things that we had to adjust. CA I thought was running hard and was breaking tackles and that kind of running style, it wears guys out and then he started making more tackles as the game went on. I thought game plan wise, we were spot on, we executed it. Bowling Green’s front seven, they lead the country in sacks and they dominate, I mean, you can see it on film and if we were one dimensional versus that front seven, it would have been a long night and we were able to not let that happen.
On the Season so far and the Journey
I think it’s about the journey, not so much the destination. Championship runner is the word that I said I truly believe started in my pregame talk to the team, if you’re on that second floor, you’re in, we’re burning the ships, and if you’re not sure then don’t show up, because we’re going to start the climb and here we are. We went through a lot of steps, but it speaks volumes to the leadership of this football team and their ability to trust this staff and let us push them. I attribute a lot of the success from things that we’re concentrating on off the field, how we operate as a team, standards, expectations and it has now flipped and is showing on the field.
On Frank Solich and Winning as a Head Coach
I had a great talk with him this afternoon on where things are at. In 19 seasons football wise, we’ve won the Mac East or finished second, 9 out of the 18 and that is hard to do. Every game is a tournament, one slip up, it can cost you and you choose Ohio, it’s a great place and the academics are great, and a lot of things, but we also do a lot of winning. Last year, it was on me, I took a personal pin, but I’m into this journey and trying to get the guys to enjoy it the best that they can, because these don’t come around alot.
On Cj’s Leadership
I think his thought process is taking care of the football. I mean the biggest throw was that first one, because we had a great opposition. I said, we are going to be just okay because that was a big throw now at that point in the game. He wants to get to Detroit, that’s a home game for him and that’s important. He is calm and cool just like he was last week and that’s what we expect.
On the Team and Fan Energy
The running game is good, but the team again, it is how we feed off each other, and how they look at each other. I know I said that already. But it is so powerful. We left the field at half and that was one of my top five of all time moments. I mean, I heard the crowd, they were standing up and it was like the game was over on a walk off field goal, it was impressive. Our fans were supercharged and it was heartfelt to our football team, on a Tuesday night.
On Bryce Ramer’s postgame proposal
Bryce approached me a couple weeks ago about it, and I said “Absolutely buddy.” He’s going to make great husband and a great father. He addressed the team on Sunday, that he was going to do that and you would have thought we won the MAC championship right there. I’m not kidding. I mean it, the guys were about it. And that just speaks to what will this team.
On what he’s thankful for
My family, that’s for sure. Specifically my wife, and all the things she does. She gives me the freedom to do some of the extra things that the coaches have to do. Yes, you have a family home, but I have a family here, too: the coaching staff and their wives. I tell you right now, hats off to every wife. Now, my kids are grown and out of the house, but when they’re little, it rips your heart out when you have to do things away from home. It’s a little easier for me now because my kids are older. John [Hauser] has four, Tremayne Scott has young kids, too; they’re in their prime of being a mom and dad. So I’m thankful for my family and the wives that enable this coaching staff.
On Tariq Drake’s leadership
He’s the ringleader back there and he gets all the calls. I mean, everything goes through him. When he missed a couple of games, we missed him, but he did the rehab and the defense was grateful to have him back—he’s the glue. I’m so happy for him, but his play and leadership elevated Alvin [Floyd], who won player of the week last week. Justin [Birchette] and Torrie [Cox, Jr.] and Roman [Parodie], too. We have seven wins in a row, some with double digits. Dominating. You do that with a lot of hard work and great leadership.
On the MAC Championship
Our team has proven to turn off the noise. Tonight’s game is going to have zero impact on what we think of and what we do. I might not have done as much as some coaches, but I’m perfectly content with where I’m at and what we’ve gotten done. This football team is going to go up there and concentrate on playing our best four quarters, one snap at a time. And enjoy it.
On Kurt Danneker’s journey
Remarkable. He tore his ACL against Syracuse last season, which was unfortunate. He was devastated. He battled back. He played a little bit against Fordham and got his first start back at Akron, so he was still rehabbing in August and September. He stayed the course. He’s gotten better each week after having some rust he needed to knock off after overcoming that terrible injury. I’m so happy for Kurt. Hagen [Meservy] has been through a lot, too. And you’ve got guys like Keye Thompson, who hasn’t played in two years and now he has a shot at MAC Defensive Player of the Year. But back to Kurt. I couldn’t be happier for him. He’s definitely a powerful guy, and he and Hagen play well together. You have to be thankful for those two guys.
Ohio Player Quotes
Ohio Graduate Year Kai Caesar
On how it feels to beat Bowling Green after losing to them last year:
“When we got back in January coach basically let us know that we have gone on to something new. Something better and he finds different leadership ways, every week is something new. We have guys that really want to buy in and we do not want that again. You know, he is better than that and we had to turn it around.”
On how the offense was able to respond with Kurtis Rourke out:
“He is a great part of this team. He is a great leader. But it is next man up mentality like Coach always says, and CJ got it done and we believe 100%, Nothing changed.”
On the big three and out to start the game:
“Honestly, this game was personal for us as older guys. We have always been in this position, you know, 2017, 18, and 19. Like right now it is in our hands and we knew exactly what we needed to do. And truthfully this game was different than the past seven or eight games that we have won.”
On how it feels to be undefeated at home:
“It feels more special that we get to go to Detroit. One of those years we went undefeated on this field and we have one game we needed to win and did not. But being undefeated and going to Detroit. That is beautiful.”
On what he is thankful for:
“I am thankful for the moments that we have had this year especially like, this is a team that at the beginning, it was just a lot of talking and I know we just started easing into being who we are individually to make up the group if that makes sense. And just seeing guys like grow to be men. That is my favorite part. And if I can help in any way that is definitely a plus.”
On seeing Bryce Ramer propose to his girlfriend:
“You see it on Twitter or Instagram all the time and to see it right in front of you, especially after a win. I almost cried. It was a beautiful thing to see. Young Love!”
Ohio Redshirt Sophomore CJ Harris
On having any nerves going into the game:
“Yeah, of course, it is my first collegiate start. So, a little bit of nerves, but I said the team had my back and my teammates, the coaches, everybody just had to trust in me so I knew I had to get it done, just felt good to be out.”
On starting off a little slow on the first two drives:
“You know, first start nerves. It was it kind of came out a little bit something different but, you know, we just knew that we had to buckle down and do what we did best. So, he started on going to our usual stuff that we know is going to work in offseason and you know, just started clicking.”
On how he is feeling after such a big win:
“It is great. I am glad and my team had my back through it all. Especially now that we have a chance to go put a ring on our finger. It feels great right now.”
On the option being his favorite play:
“After today that is one of my favorite plays. I am just happy the coaches call it and the other 10 players on offense did their job and I did mine.”
On how Sam and Jacoby were able to help him:
“Yeah, during practice all week, staying afterwards. Got some extra reps and just to make sure because you know I have not been in that spotlight or anything like that. So just make sure we get some extra reps in the practice because you know practice translates to the game.”
On what he is thankful for:
“I am thankful for the defense today for sure. They balled out today.”
Ohio Graduate Year Tariq Drake
On how big the second quarter was:
“I think it was just you know, coaches put us in a great position to make plays and we get the opportunity to make them you got to make them. So, after the turnovers, the offense did a great job of putting the points on the board and capitalized for us.”
On thinking about the next interception after getting one:
“Oh yeah, that is always the mentality. You always want to keep making plays. No matter how much time was left on the clock. You always want to make a play for your team. And after you get the first one you want to get a second.”