Friday, December 31, 2010


Ohio State defenders Brian Rolle (36), Cameron Heyward (97) and Jermale Hines (7) can run with any team in the nation. (The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)
NEW ORLEANS — Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee — who coached at Northwestern from 2004-07 — knows firsthand what can happen to a team if they go into a game against Ohio State thinking the Buckeyes are too slow.

"I coached up in the Big Ten for four years," McGee said Friday, at the media hotel in New Orleans. "All of the talk about Ohio State not being fast, I don't buy into that at all. There's a game I coached (at Northwestern) where they had us 47-zip at half time.

"So, I don't buy into that stuff that Ohio State's not fast."

McGee said the Buckeyes are just as fast as any other team in the Southeastern Conference, being that they all recruit from the same pool of players.

"Nowadays with the way recruiting is, everybody nationally recruits," McGee said.

McGee also stated that team speed is usually a result of preparation, not athleticism.

"With the schemes and the coverages and the way you slant and angle your defensive front, the preparation and all the video that you have, all the time that you have to study all of the tendencies ... everybody seems fast," McGee said. "We teach playing fast, it's a part of who we are, but the way you play fast is that you're prepared and you understand your opponent.

"That gives you the ability to play up to your speed."

McGee noted that the Buckeyes are that kind of team — experienced and always prepared.

"They're experienced," McGee said. "You can tell they have veteran players because it's like they understand what's going on. Their middle linebacker, No. 36 (Brian Rolle), he understands when you're running the ball or when you're running play-action passes. A lot of times he beats the quarterback when he's moving out.

"Their linebackers do a really good job of showing their linemen on one side and then moving to the opposite sides. Their front and their linebackers are really coordinated when they're disguising which front they're going to be in.

"They have really good size in the secondary. The corners are big and strong and their safeties, they're tacklers, so this is an experienced group. They understand ball, they're really well-coached. We've got our hands full."

A RAZORBACKS WIN WOULD GO A LONG WAY ... The Sugar Bowl tilt between Ohio State and Arkansas means a whole more to the Razorbacks than just winning a game.

Arkansas senior offensive tackle DeMarcus Love said that winning the Sugar Bowl — the Razorbacks first BCS appearance in school history — could be the foundation for a national championship run in the coming years.

"This means a lot to the whole state, the whole Razorback Nation," Love said Friday. "This is our first BCS game. We want to come out and build off of this. Even though I'm not going to be here next season, I want to have something there for next year's team: have a lot for those guys to look forward to.

"Everyone in the state is a Razorback. We don't have any intra-state rivals. There are no pro teams. Everyone is on Arkansas' side. The big thing for us is to make everyone happy. Everyone is depending on us and counting on us to do good."