Notes and quotes from the Monday morning press conference:
-Pat Ryan, the namesake of Ryan Field, will be Saturday's honorary captain. "The generosity of the Ryan family and the support from the Ryan family is unmatched and unparalleled in college football."
-Venric Mark is listed at the top of the depth chart this week. "We’ll have him in some capacity this weekend,” Fitzgerald said. He said he is optimistic about the number of plays Mark will be able to go but wouldn’t say that Mark is full-go yet. Mark hasn’t played since week one against Cal. and has only 11 carries for 36 yards this year.
-Even though Mark is returning, Fitzgerald said that Mike Trumpy and Treyvon Green will continue to play a significant role in the offense. "I think they've earned that," he said. Green has 412 yards on 58 carries this year – an impressive seven yards per carry – while Trumpy has managed 212 yards on 41 carries.
-This goes without saying but Fitzgerald said Ohio State is definitely the best team they have faced this season. “I think there’s a talent gap between anybody and the top five teams. I think those guys are talented because they play up to their talent level consistently.”
-Fitzgerald mentioned that his "heart breaks" for Ohio State safety Christian Bryant, who will have to undergo surgery for a broken ankle he suffered during the Buckeyes' 31-24 win over Wisconsin. Fitzgerald suffered an ankle injury in his own playing days.
-Linebacker Damien Proby said that the team watched the Ohio State-Wisconsin game together as a "bonding moment." quarterback Kain Colter said, “I was rooting for Ohio State so we could get Gameday." So the athletes aren't all that different from us, after all.
-NU is big on taking it "one game at a time" and "treating each opponent the same." While the team did repeat those carefully-crafted answers in the press conference, it's clear that they are excited for this game. “You dream about this when you’re young, playing big-time games like this," Colter said, "but at the same time we don’t want to overhype it and we don’t need to play out of this world. I feel like we just need to play our game. In each phase of the game to be able to win.” Defensive end Tyler Scott added, "This is why you come to play Big Ten football and Division 1 football."
-Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller came back from a knee sprain and played outstanding in the victory over Wisconsin, throwing for 198 yards and four touchdowns. One of NU's biggest challenges will be containing him. “Braxton, from a linebacker’s perspective, he’s a dynamic athlete, we all know that, everyone in the world at this point that watches the game of football knows that he can do things when the football’s in his hands and when he’s in space," Damien Proby said. "On the defense we’re just looking to minimize the ground that he’ll be able to cover on any given play, just keeping him in front of us and keeping him inside of our defense at all times.”
-Someone's phone went off on the podium during Fitzgerald's press conference. Fitz answered the phone and informed the caller that "we're in the middle of a press conference, buddy," and they would have to call him back. He signed off with, of course, a "Go Cats."