A handful of notable quotes from day one of Big Ten media day:
-On Penn State: “What those Penn State players are going through right now in the last several days, I have a tremendous amount of respect for their commitment and for coach O’Brien.”
-“I’m gonna be Penn State’s biggest fan this year.”
-On how he views the Big Ten compared to other conferences: “The SEC has obviously been the kingpin with their success the past couple years.”
-On the advantages that sanctions had on their roster at Ohio State: “We found out who really wants to be an Ohio State Buckeye. And he (O’Brien) is going to find out who really wants to be on his team. You have no half-ins any more.”
-On having a possible “buffer year” as a coaching staff because of sanctions: “There’s no such thing as a buffer year in college football, certainly not at Ohio State and certainly not with myself.”
-On recruiting: “We are going to exercise every opportunity we have to improve our football team.”
–On the defensive struggles: “We were one of the few teams in the nation to give up more rushing yards than passing yards.”
Coach O’Brien noted George O’Leary, Ralph Friedgen, Mark Whipple and Bill Belichick as coaching mentors that he has reached out to during his transition from the NFL to college.
–Coach Fitz said that he got his entire staff together to watch the NCAA press conference on Monday. Fitz noted the fact that he has a lot of young coaches on staff as one of the main reasons to get everyone together to soak up what NCAA president Mark Emmert had to say.
–On the new uniforms: “I’ve been called the most old school young coach in the country…and I’m okay with that.”
On recruiting: “We’re recruiting with the same philosophies that we’ve done at Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Toledo, and now Illinois.”
-On his health: “I feel fantastic. I appreciate you asking”.
-On being the favorites in the Legends Division: “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.”
–Pelini noted that the upperclassmen will have some great experience with the tradition of college football being able to visit the Big 12 schools, as well as playing at Michigan last year and playing at Ohio State this season.
-On sustained success within the program: “We set things in place to continue to compete at the highest level.”
-Great quote on facing adversity: “I believe challenges give you every opportunity to rise to an occasion.”
-On Michigan being favored to win the Legends Division: “In our locker room, they won’t be favored.”
-On their struggles to add depth to the running back position: “There’s nothing to do that we haven’t already done.”
-On being the longest tenured coach in the Big Ten: “I’ve had 5 kids graduate from the same high school, which is hard to do in this profession.”