Nov. 26, 2005
Ohio Head Coach Tim O'Shea and selected players addressed the media following Saturday's 77-61 victory over St. Francis in the Convocation Center.
Defensively, it was a very good effort on our part. That's what we were striving for going into the game. Any baskets they got, they really earned.
When asked about the difference is there between now and last year at the beginning of the season?
It's night and day in terms of where we are at as a program as opposed to when we start out the first road game for Leon and Jeremy. The guys were still feeling their way. I just think our depth is a lot better. To be able to bring out Antonio Chapman, Johnnie Jackson, and Whitney Davis off the bench and by January, you will be seeing Jerome Tillman. We've got an experienced starting five.
You see a game like today where Leon was good but wasn't great. He didn't dominate like he will in a lot of games. He played well, but it's not like we need him to get 20 and 15 every night. We have such a nice balance, four double-figure scorers returning from a year ago. Jackson dropped 13 points in his first game. He's still not playing with the confidence that I think he will eventually be playing with.
I'm pleased with the fact that we have eight guys playing a minimum of 19 minutes. That's hard to do, but it shows our depth and talent. I felt real comfortable playing those guys. It allows us to sustain our defense intensity, when you can play with numbers like that because no one gets tired. I thought it was a real solid first game.
When asked if he wanted to use Sonny Troutman a lot with the second unit?
I didn't even think in terms of first and second. We really had firm control of the game the entire time. I just wanted to play guys and as best as I could, get those nine guys out there. You never know down the line when injury or illness is going to step in, and you need to build up your bench when you have the chance to so those guys have confidence when they step on the floor.
Thoughts on Jeremy Fears
Jeremy played great. The nice thing was, Antonio is such a solid point guard, that once Jeremy picked up two fouls, we didn't miss a beat in terms of how we were playing out there and sustaining a lead. I didn't have to put him in a situation where he could get his third foul.
Thoughts on Johnnie Jackson
He's still playing a little bit nervous out there, but I think that's just a function of him trying to get his confidence back. With the more he plays and the more he hears the crowd cheer for him and has some success on the floor, I think you will see a player I know is in there. He was solid today though. He's a great athlete, he can shoot the ball, and he's always giving a great effort. As his confidence grows, you will see him become a better and better player. It's kind of like what I told you last year about Jeremy Fears. Early on, he was so-so, but by the end of the year, he was something special.
When asked about the team's defensive performance.
We talked about it in practice before the game. We need to pick up our defense because we understand we can get points, but like in the exhibition game, we realized that we weren't played good defense.
When asked about the difference between this year's first game and last year's
I think last year we didn't know what to expect going into the game. We just knew the name St. Francis, and we just went there and played. With this game, we understood they beat us last year. We didn't underestimate them and came out ready and focus and executed our game plan.
When asked about the the team's confidence
I felt like we were confident out there. Some of the new players might have been nervous out there, but other than that, everyone's confident. Everyone knows what we can do if we just execute our game plan.
We wanted to jump out early because we usually have a history of starting off slow, so we wanted to change everything this season and just start up and go after people early.
When asked about the team's defensive effort
That was the game plan. That's what coach stressed all week. Just come out with the right attitude and the right mentality, and everything else will take care of itself. We got big on them. We are going to score points, so we just focus on playing team defense.
When asked about the difference in game experience coming in between Ohio and St. Francis.
It seems like we've been practicing all year. I was just ready to play. I had no clue how many games St. Francis had played. We just watched the same two tapes in film.
It's start and finish for us. Every game counts, and we take it one game at a time.
On his game
One focus for me right now is my three-point shooting. Also, last year, I threw a lot of assists, but I also had many turnovers. That's big to me, and I am keeping it at the back of my mind. My goal is to play the game with zero. It's something I'm focusing on and trying to get better at.
When asked about his first game
I just wanted to keep in mind that it's just a game. We wanted to focus on defense. We just wanted to keep them down. I was pumped for the first game. We've been practicing for so long. Since school's not in, I wanted to see what the crowd's like. I thought it was pretty decent.