"I'm definitely looking forward to the atmosphere. I'm not sure how the fans will accept me, but I'm more prepared for the game than anything. I started preparing myself (Sunday) so I'm looking forward to any obstacle that comes my way."
One of the top shooting guards in the country last season as a recruit has turned into Ohio State's most talented scoring threat on the team this season. Russell has helped lead the Buckeyes to an undefeated record thus far and will look to continue that stretch against fifth-ranked Louisville on Tuesday night.
The freshman sensation actually hails from Kentucky, and is looking forward to the game against the Cardinals. While he's not sure how the crowd will react to his playing for the scarlet and gray, Russell still relishes the opportunity to help put Ohio State in a position to upset Rick Pitino's squad.
"He wouldn't want us to go downhill from this. Kosta wants us to win this game and get Kosta a ring. He's put in the work to deserve that. He wants a championship. So we're going to get it."
While Ohio State has to face its toughest game of the season thus far without starting quarterbacks Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett, the Buckeyes have been dealing with the emotional fatigue of losing one of their brothers in Kosta Karageorge. The sad turn of events has led to many of the players thinking beyond football as just a game. Even Urban Meyer couldn't have forseen this type of adversity for Ohio State, who has had to overcome a number of injuries to their best players and losing parts of their team to suspensions, or players being removed from the program. Meyer added:
"Every red flag is up. You have some really good built-in excuses. To overcome the incredible tragedy that happened (to Karageorge), this is a real challenge. We're going to watch it very closely. I can tell you this is an extremely close team that does a lot of things together and cares about each other.
"Tanner has been a big shot in the arm for us when we've needed some big-time plays. I think what it causes people to do in preparation is really invaluable for our offense as a whole. You're spending a lot of time trying to defend two offenses, and I think that's a good thing. Without that I don't believe we're sitting here having this conversation if both of those young men don't have a great attitude, compete and make plays for us."
Bill Landis over at the Northeast Ohio Media Group took five points from some of the quotes that Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen has shared, and broken them down for what it means to Ohio State. The one above was one of the more interesting points, considering the fact that the Buckeyes are probably focused on stopping (or at least slowing down) Heisman candidate Melvin Gordon.
Tanner McEvoy has been, without a doubt, the wildcard for Wisconsin this season and will be during the Big Ten championship game against Ohio State. The Buckeyes will need to focus on containing Gordon, but at the same time, not allowing McEvoy to create plays with his legs. It should be a tough task for this Ohio State defense.
"He's as athletic (as Barrett) and has a much stronger arm. He's got a cannon for an arm. Those are the differences. There isn't much difference other than size. That's the biggest difference."
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer believes Cardale Jones can get the job done when it comes to the Buckeyes taking on Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game this Saturday. While Jones is making his first start, coach Meyer believes that the sophomore quarterback has similar tools and skills to J.T. Barrett, and can lead the Buckeyes to victory.
While that remains to be seen, it's interesting to hear the faith that coach Meyer has in his third-string quarterback. Although you may be thinking that he has no choice other than to do that, keep in mind that Meyer has always been a pretty honest guy when it comes to telling it like is. So if he believes Jones can get the job done, then there isn't any reason for me to doubt him.