NEW ORLEANS - The Ohio State and Alabama football teams will arrive here today, and temptation won't be far away. The hotel the Buckeyes will be staying at is near the French Quarter, where partying is an almost constant. Not that they will experience it.
NEW ORLEANS - The Ohio State and Alabama football teams will arrive here today, and temptation won't be far away.
The hotel the Buckeyes will be staying at is near the French Quarter, where partying is an almost constant.
Not that they will experience it.
"What's Bourbon Street?" junior linebacker Joshua Perry said last week. "I heard from the last time they went down there, they got the police chief from down there and he gave the whole spiel about Bourbon Street. Guys will be responsible."
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Ohio State last played in New Orleans for the since-vacated Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas four years ago.
"Obviously, if you take too much of the (mentality), 'Hey, we're going to hang out, we're in a different place,' that's not a good deal," Perry said. "Our coaches do a good job of making sure we're doing what we need to do. We lock in when it's time to lock in. Coach (Urban) Meyer has been to, it seems, like a million bowl games and been successful in all of them, so we'll be prepared for this."
Ohio State doesn't have any players from Louisiana, though sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott lived in Baton Rouge for part of two years when was a toddler.
"I was in New Orleans, maybe after my junior year in high school, for a national track meet," Elliott said.
He remembers the food.
"I love gumbo," Elliott said.
What about Bourbon Street?
"I haven't been to Bourbon Street," he said with a laugh.No breaks for them
While players were given four days off for Christmas before reconvening yesterday, Ohio State's coaches and support staff have been hard at work studying Alabama for flaws to exploit.
"Everybody's grinding it pretty hard because we have to be at our best," offensive line coach/co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said. "We have to give these players a chance to have a plan that they can succeed with. We have to try to uncover what we think are Alabama's weaknesses, what are our strengths and how do we combine our strengths against their weaknesses.
"What do they do against certain offensive systems, offense sets? How do they defend things? Everybody has tendencies. We're all human."
What weaknesses was Ohio State able to uncover during their early video study?
"On paper, they don't have many," Warinner said.
If Ohio State wins, it will play Oregon or Florida State for the national title on Jan. 12. It might be tempting for the Buckeyes to do some early preparations for that game. But Meyer said that all of their focus is on Alabama.
"I've done it before where during the course of the season you maybe send a (graduate assistant) to start getting ready for Michigan State down the road or something like that," Meyer said. "But for this one, it would be a tactical error on my part to have anyone in this facility working on something other than Alabama."