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  • Penn State Fallout, Urban, Etc.

    When football preseason practice begins, I always have to make the same declaration to myself: Summer is over.

    But what an eventful summer it was.

    Urban Meyer stressed the Ohio State football program’s need for a quiet offseason but headache still ensued. Veterans Jack Mewhort and Jake Stoneburner were arrested, freshman running back Bri’onte Dunn also had a brush with the law, and senior RB Jordan Hall cut his foot so severely the injury required surgery and now has his playing status up in the air.

    Even with those setbacks and the fact that the Buckeyes will not be eligible for the postseason the excitement continues to build for the 2012 season with Meyer at the helm.

    Onto basketball, Jared Sullinger dropped down the NBA draft board but still went in the first round to the Boston Celtics. Meanwhile, his two-year OSU teammate, William Buford, was not selected.

    The hammer fell – no, mashed – down on Penn State after the NCAA went off the findings of the Freeh Report and bludgeoned the football program with sanctions.

    Thad Matta and his trusty assistants hit the recruiting trail in search of help and Meyer, other league coaches and select players headed to Chicago at the end of July for Big Ten Media Days.

    Even in our efforts to cover all of those events and more, some of the quotes slipped through the cracks and landed here. So we offer the more interesting ones that got away – almost – in the last few months in this compilation:

    Meyer on senior defensive end Nathan Williams still trying to come back from a nasty knee injury – “Your heart bleeds for a guy like Nathan Williams. I’m starting to really know that guy, and taking football away from him is like taking … I think he lives for it. It’s been hard. It’s not been an easy road to not play, not practice, not do anything. We’re being very cautious. We can’t have a setback.”

    Two-time Heisman Trophy winner and OSU Alumni Association president Archie Griffin upon hearing about the Penn State sanctions – “They were very, very steep penalties, and I expected it. There are some that I agree with, especially the financial penalty, because I think they should be doing something for the victims and for child abuse. I agree with that. I’m not so sure that I agree that a lot of the people who have been hurt are the current players who had absolutely nothing to do with this. That’s the part I have a hard time with.”

    Former OSU head coach John Cooper on the same topic – “I think it’s a sad day for college football, certainly a sad day for Penn State. I like the fact that they fined them. They’re going to take some of that money and hopefully make sure that maybe those young guys who were abused over there get taken care of and make sure that this doesn’t happen again. That’s the whole theme of this, I think. But I think it’s worse than the death penalty. When you start taking scholarships away for four years and letting these kids transfer out, Penn State’s not going to be very good for the next eight to 10 years in my opinion. I think this is very devastating to Penn State football.”

    Meyer on reinstating listed starters Mewhort and Stoneburner after their arrest for public urination and eluding police – “I never felt they did it. They’re not good students; they’re great students. They’re leaders. They’re on my leadership committee. I think the code word there is stupid. That’s the word you’d associate with that. Are they less stupid right now? I don’t know. We’re going to do the best we can to help them be less stupid. But if there was a ‘bad guy’ situation, they wouldn’t be playing here.”

    Evan Turner on helping Team Columbus nip Team Cleveland in the first-ever Battle for Ohio at St. John Arena on July 7 – “We just wanted to win. That’s the whole idea, not losing. I didn’t want to lose, my teammates didn’t want to lose. That’s what it’s all about: winning. And charity, obviously.”

    Former Buckeye Dallas Lauderdale, Turner’s OSU teammate, on getting to play alongside Cleveland Cavalier power forward Tristan Thompson in the same game – “He’s a great talent. You saw what he was doing out here. He was playing point-center, bringing the ball up and making all kinds of plays. He’s a great talent and he has a bright future.”

    Lauderdale on the indoor temperature of about 90 degrees for the game – “We knew, but it was all for the fans. They were probably more hot than us, just sitting there watching.”

    Meyer, after the first full team practice of the preseason, on pushing his players in everything they do – “It’s just so easy to be average. Just think about it, for all of us it’s just so easy to be an average whatever. We have 17 kids taking biology test tomorrow and it’s just so easy to be an average guy. We’re going to try to push it and to maximize who you are. If you’re a 2.0 student and that’s what you are, we’re going to push you to be a 2.0 student. If you’re a 2.0 student but you really should be a 3.0 student, we’re going to grind you. It’s the same thing on the football field.”

    Cooper on the hit to the Joe Paterno legacy as a result of the Penn State scandal – “I had great respect – and still do – for Joe Paterno and his wife, Sue. Nobody mentions Sue. You can imagine what she’s going through right now. But by the same token he made a drastic mistake in not going public and not stopping it, not making sure that it didn’t happen to some other young kids.”

    CBS analyst and ex-Buckeye Clark Kellogg on his first reaction to Penn State being fined $60 million – “I can understand the intent behind that, but when you don’t react real quickly – and it seems as though they tried to give themselves some time – initially looking at that it seems to be a bit heavy-handed.”

    Meyer on trying to get the freshmen up to speed – “We don’t ask them to get a whole lot of deep thinking involved. We have sayings around here like ‘point A to point B as fast as you can go.’ We’ve got a kid named Jamal Marcus. He doesn’t know which way up is right now, but he knows from point A to point B – and he’ll run over anything in his way to get to point B. So we’ll find a way to get him on the field.”

    Meyer on how quarterback Braxton Miller performed during the first full-team practice of August – “Braxton had a really good day and he feels good about it. And he made the comment to me that he knows what he’s doing. Now he doesn’t yet. There’s still a lot more to go. I winked at him and said, ‘Yeah, right, pal.’ ”

    Miller on talk of the Buckeyes going 12-0 this year – “The expectations are always high. When I was in high school looking at Ohio State I was like, ‘Man, they’re never going to lose; they’re always good,’ so that’s why the expectations are from the fans.”

    Cooper on the idea that the Penn State sanctions will severely hurt the Big Ten Conference – “Penn State hadn’t dominated this league like they thought they were going to when they came in. What have they won? One championship? Or something like that in the 20 years or so that they’ve been in the league. The Big Ten will survive. Don’t feel sorry for the Big Ten. This league is going to be better than it has been in past years. Now Penn State hasn’t been a factor anyway when you stop and think about it, and they don’t have a lot of great players right now. But it’s not going to help the Big Ten. I’m not saying that.”

    Former Buckeye defensive back Will Allen on the same topic – “It’s not good for the Big Ten at all. It lowers the competition. It makes our conference look really weak and it just hurts us overall. It’s one less team that we have looking forward to playing. Their talent is going to be down and kids are not going to want to go there. But they made their bed and now they’ve got to sleep in it.”

    Allen again on Penn State – “Whenever you harm young people or there’s something that’s that devastating going on I think any punishment is necessary. It’s even criminal punishment. That’s tough, man. That devastates people’s live, people’s families. For something that heinous to go on out of such a great university like Penn State, which prides itself on character and class and standing upright, it’s tough – and a punishable act.”

    Kellogg on Sullinger becoming a Celtic – “He’s going to do fine and he landed in a great place. I told his dad that. He landed in a great spot for him, for his development, for his future. I couldn’t be happier for him and prouder of him. As long as his back issue is something that he can take care of and manage then he’s going to be a terrific pro. There’s never been any doubt about that.”

    Celtics head coach Doc Rivers after the organization saw Sullinger play in the NBA Summer League and decided to trade former Purdue big man JaJuan Johnson – “Jared is what we thought he was. He’s a terrific rebounder, a great passer, and can shoot the ball better than I think people knew, so he’s been great. I think his scoring on the post will be against same-size or smaller guys. I think he’ll struggle against bigger guys on the post, and that’s fine.”

    OSU corner Bradley Roby on the importance of becoming a leader – “I realize now a few good leaders or great leaders on a team can change the whole mind-set with a team, and that’s what we really needed – to change the mind-set, go from what happened last year to what we’re going to do this year.”

    Running back Carlos Hyde on Hall’s absence from the offense – “It’s kind of bad Jordan is out, but he’ll be back soon. But I’m looking forward to (the opportunity) just like last year. I’m kind of used to it, but I’m really looking forward to being in there all the time this year.”

    Roby on holding up his hand to also play some wideout this fall – “I wasn’t joking. I talked to Coach (Kerry) Coombs, the corners coach, and Coach (Zach) Smith, the receivers coach, and they’re both cool with it, so you never know. I’m dead serious. I played receiver in high school. I thought I was going to come here and play receiver. I can run the routes, I can make plays, so why not?”

    Meyer on the recent trend in recruiting to offer guys sooner and sooner, sometimes even before they reach high school – “We’re being forced to offer guys that I usually don’t offer right away because I like to see them in camp. That is a concern. Kids are being advised to only speak to those who have offered you. We had that happen this spring where I (said to a recruit), ‘Hey, can you come to camp so we can get to know you?’ and (he said) ‘I’m not coming to camp unless I’m offered.’ So it forces us. ‘OK, you’re offered.’ Our staff believes in relationships and getting to know you and you can’t do that anymore.”

    Turner on his 76ers trying to compete against superteams in Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, Brooklyn and the like – “I understand what’s going on. Some teams are loaded and it’s going to be tougher. I’ve been working every day to get better, I’m ready for that competition, and I’m hoping my teammates are as well. Athleticism counts, but when it comes to the playoffs it’s all about how you play your game and smartness and playing playoff basketball.”

    Former OSU football coach Jim Tressel, to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, on his forced resignation – “It was going to end one day, in one way or another, and that wasn’t the way we wanted to end it. Wow, a lot happens in a year, a lot that you don’t know is going to happen. But I don’t feel scarred or disappointed or mad. I just don’t feel that way. The people at Ohio State have always been great to me, and things end up the way they do, and you go on to the next play or the next day, and that’s always been the way I look at things.

    “The people I run into want to talk about the fond memories, and I’m sure that’s not unlike when you lose a loved one and you think back on all those wonderful times, and that’s absolutely the way I feel.

    “I suppose it was disappointing to some. They thought we would do that forever, but it took a strange turn. But I think when you step back, at least I do, I think of all the good times and the excellent I people I worked with and got to meet.”

    Shelley Meyer, Urban’s wife, in an address to OSU students – “The games are not that fun, not for me. The games are stressful. I just sit there and don’t move. I don’t do anything. I don’t drink anything, eat anything. I don’t go to the bathroom. I just sit there. Unless we are ahead by about 40 points, then I can relax a little bit.”

    Penn State football coach Bill O’Brien, the former offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, on teaching the Nittany Lions offensive plays – “When I was hired at Penn State and we started to get ready for spring practice, we sat down and obviously we were watching a bunch of Patriot film from the last couple of years from New England, and I looked back at the team and I saw a lot of white eyes, because they were watching that film as fans. So I shut the clicker off or the projector off and I said: Look, guys, we’re looking at the schemes here. Don’t worry that that’s Tom Brady and don’t worry that that’s Wes Welker and (Rob) Gronkowski, and that was a pretty fun moment in our team meeting room.”

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  • Tressel, Fickell, Matta And More

    With the 2011 college football season well under way – and so many side stories emerging as the Buckeyes faced their preconference schedule – it was near impossible to find room for every interesting utterance related to Ohio State athletics and beyond.

    So, as is tradition, we are now taking the time to present the useful quotes that got away.

    This time we look back mainly on an Ohio State football program that was still dealing with offseason scandal and the loss of 10-year head coach Jim Tressel. His replacement, Luke Fickell, has been busy since the beginning of June running the Buckeyes and answering media queries.

    Also over the summer and into the fall, ex-Buckeye Eddie George talked about his appointment to the College Football Hall of Fame, Terrelle Pryor was trying to position himself for the NFL, Thad Matta was after more topflight basketball recruits and OSU student-athletes past and present weighed in on a variety of topics.

    So the following is our latest rendition of Quote Me, a compilation of the sentences that were just too good to completely disappear:

    Fickell on the Buckeyes’ embarrassing 24-6 loss at Miami (Fla.) Sept. 17 – “Well, I didn’t see a lack of fight. That’s the thing that we’re going to continue to focus on. You say we didn’t respond to adversity. Now, we didn’t make some plays. That doesn’t always mean we didn’t always handle it the right way.”

    Tressel, during an on-air interview with Mike Trivisonno of Cleveland radio station WTAM (1100 AM), on if the punishment of losing his job amid a pending NCAA investigation was too severe – “I’ve had more blessings than things that are unfair.”

    Tressel in the same radio interview on the temptations for student-athletes who are in the spotlight – “Kids don’t go out and search for things. It’s the adults who want to be near them that make things happen.”

    Basketball mega-recruit DaJuan Coleman, a 6-9 center from DeWitt, N.Y., on why he’s giving Ohio State strong consideration even when comparing the program to North Carolina, Arizona, Texas, Kansas and Florida – “The way they produce big men and the way they go inside. They go inside first. Every time they run a play the big always touches the ball first and they run the play through him. So that stands out a lot.”

    Fickell on his new salary of just over $700,000, up from $250,000 – “I’m not focused on that one bit. I’ve never known what I’ve made since I’ve probably started (in coaching). You can talk to my wife if there are any questions there. I’ve never seen a paycheck. If I tried to sign one, they would probably return it to me because this (signature) isn’t who it is. If they aksed me to take this job and they said, ‘We weren’t going to change your pay,’ I’d still do it. Maybe that sounds crazy, and maybe at home sometimes maybe they don’t think that’s the greatest thing in the world, but that’s the way I feel about it.”

    OSU All-American center Mike Brewster on the progress of running back Boom Herron, who is suspended for the first five games of the season – “Boom’s been doing a great job. I felt like a lot of last year he was a real downhill runner. He’s been making great cuts this camp and really moving laterally very well. I’m really excited to see how he does when he gets back.”

    Ohio State basketball star Jared Sullinger on his impressions of Kentucky freshman center Anthony Davis after playing against him at a summer all-star camp – “He’s good. He’s real good. For him to make that change from being 6-4 to now 6-10, sometimes that’s an awkward thing and you’re not used to your body. Anthony didn’t change. Nothing changed about him. He’s still able to play the way that he plays. And it seems like he gained skill.”

    Brewster on Pryor’s outlook at the NFL level – “I think he can do it with some work, and he’s got a great work ethic. So I think the sky’s the limit for him. I don’t think he’s tapped into his full potential yet. I think he has a great chance.”

    Buckeye basketball commitment Marc Loving of Toledo on how Evan Turner has motivated him – “Evan’s a cool kid. He worked on his game a lot at Ohio State and Coach Matta really pushed him and helped him to be the player he is today. That was really good for me to see.”

    Ex-Buckeye David Lighty on the satisfaction of pursuing his professional basketball dream after having already graduated – “Coach (Matta) always would tell us once you get that diploma there’s no greater feeling than having it in your hand.”

    Ex-OSU linebacker Jerry Rudzinski, a team captain in 1998, on his reaction to Tressel’s resignation on Memorial Day – “I think it’s been every bit as emotional as it has been for the fans, maybe more so. You talk about shock. I was in the camp thinking it would be Jim Tressel roaming our sidelines, not only for next year but for many years moving forward. Jim Tressel remains one of my ultimate heroes. I felt disappointment, but mostly that some people may not have appreciated all the good that Jim Tressel did. We witnessed amazing history over the last 10 years.”

    Larry James, Pryor’s attorney, on why his client decided to cut off discussions with NCAA investigators – “They’re not going to give him or any other student-athlete any due process rights to speak of, so he’s moved on.”

    Former Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett, speaking on “The Dan Patrick Show,” on his opinions of Tressel’s actions – “Do I consider him a cheater? No, absolutely not. He cares about people. While I have this time and while he’s off I want to spend as much times as I can around him to gain a better understanding on how he came to be where he is. He has good intentions. Coach Tressel is not a cheater at all.”

    George on speculation that he also is in line to some day be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton – “That would be incredible, the coup de grace. That’s the last one. I guess that’s the capstone. To dawn the yellow jacket and have the opportunity to have someone special give a speech for you and you give your speech in your final moment of your professional career would be amazing. I hope and pray that one day I’ll have the opportunity to do that, and that the writers and powers-that-be that make those decisions will recognize what I’ve done for the game and how the game has impacted my life. Hopefully they’ll recognize that it was Hall of Fame-worthy.”

    Sullinger on whether he believes Ohio State now has an elite men's basketball program – “That’s for you all to determine. That’s why you all are called the media. You all determine a lot of things: coach of the year, the best players, who’s No. 1 in the poll. So you all determine that. But at the time, I think we are.”

    Matta upon hearing that Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo criticized Ohio State for relying on too many one-and-done players and saying he strives for a mix of youth and veteran leadership – “I think that’s easier said than done, what Coach Izzo is saying, because if Kosta Koufos, B.J. Mullens and Daequan Cook were from Michigan, he would have taken them. That’s the thing. Of the five freshmen we lost, three of them were from the state of Ohio. Greg (Oden) and Michael (Conley) were from Indy, which is kind of home to me.”

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  • Doing A Little Spring Cleaning

    It would be wonderful to proclaim that spring has sprung but it sure doesn’t feel like it unless you consider the wettest April on record in the Midwest as spring.

    Even so, we have moved past basketball season and through spring football, which means it’s time to take a breath and catch up. And one way to do that is to go back a month or two or three and sift through the quotes that got away. was there for the Big Ten basketball regular season, the league tournament, the NCAA Tournament, women’s basketball and other Ohio State sports, the Jim Tressel/Tat Five scandal, and much, much more. But even in the process of providing thorough coverage, not every interesting tidbit found it’s way onto the website.

    And that’s the beauty of Quote Me. So here are some of the quotes that got away recently:

    Basketball walk-on and senior Eddie Days on scoring his first career point on a free throw vs. George Mason in the NCAA Tournament – “It’s just good to get it out of the way. I don’t have to think about it anymore because people have been giving me some grief about it. I was just concentrating on getting that first one down, and I was so happy I wasn’t even concerned about the second one.”

    Deshaun Thomas, prior to facing Kentucky, on whether it bothered him that UK guard Brandon Knight beat him and Jared Sullinger in the McDonald’s All-American Game with a last-second shot – “Not really. We were there for the Ronald McDonald House and the kids. It was all for them and it was a good experience. That shot didn’t really bother me. We were just there for the kids.”

    Purdue coach Matt Painter comparing the 2010-11 Buckeyes to the 2006-07 team that advanced all the way to the national title game – “They had good skill, obviously, with Greg Oden. Mike (Conley) was a guy who could break you down through the ball-screen action. They did more ball-screen action with that group than they do with this group, even though they do it at times. They had shooters. They had a guy in the first round come off the bench for them. That’s pretty good when you have first-rounders – in that year. Sometimes two or three years later you have a guy who’s a first-round pick, but in that year they had a guy come off the bench for them that got drafted in the first round in Daequan Cook, so it kind of says something about their talent and skill.”

    William Buford on Aaron Craft’s record-tying 14-assist effort against GMU – “He gave people the ball in their hotspots. He knows where people’s hotspots are, he knows where your hands are going to be and he gets you the ball. That shows off his quarterback skills from high school.”

    Buford on how many “hot spots” he has on the court – “I guess everywhere.”

    Dallas Lauderdale on George Mason players woofing during a hot start (and an eventual 98-66 OSU win) – “We don’t respond by talking trash. We respond by upping our play a little bit and getting stops, and our offense took off from there. That was all the talking we had to do.”

    Jon Diebler on if he feared his diploma wouldn’t arrive on time – “I’m good in that aspect. I’ve paid enough money to the transportation and parking services, so I think I’m done with that.”

    OSU head coach Thad Matta on Diebler, Lauderdale and David Lighty finishing up their schoolwork at the outset of the NCAA Tournament – “The guys that I don’t have to worry about academically are the guys who usually play the best for us. These guys, honestly, tomorrow it’s a great honor to coach them knowing that they’re college graduates. It’s very, very exciting. I couldn’t be prouder of them and just who they are as people. You take the basketball side out of it, you’re proud that all three are going to graduate here in a week. It’s tremendous.”

    Lauderdale on who taught him to throw down the vicious one-handed alley-oop dunk he displayed in the postseason – “God. He gave me the height and the athleticism. No on really taught me how to do that. I was just blessed with height and athleticism. When you’re up there you want to throw it in the hoop, break the rim down, something.”

    Women’s coach Jim Foster when asked what the television executives wanted to do with his team’s matchup with top-ranked UConn – “TV executives? I’d be surprised if there are any TV executives out there who know that women’s basketball exists.”

    Tailback Boom Herron on tying the OSU record for longest run, 89 yards, with 1942  team member Gene Fekete after his long ramble against Michigan – “That’s kind of crazy. Wearing the 1942 uniforms today and setting that record today, I’m very thankful for that. The dream is to come to Ohio State, play against Michigan and beat Michigan. Everybody wants to do that who comes here. To set records, that’s just like a plus. You can’t be happier than that.”

    Tressel on the controversy surrounding the Buckeyes before they headed off to the Sugar Bowl – “There’s pluses and minuses to every situation. When we’re in that situation, I’ll think it’s the best one in the world. That’s just the way we look at things. Right now it’s not the situation and this is the best one. You remember the old quote, ‘Paradise is where I am,’ and we’re in paradise right now.”

    Matta on trying to slow down guard E’Twaun Moore in a 76-63 loss at Purdue – “We cut it to four there with a few minutes left and he came off and bobbled it and still shot it in. I knew it probably wasn’t our day at that particular juncture.”

    Matta on Moore ripping OSU for a career-high 38 points a week after Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor popped for 27 including 21 in the second half – “Those were, when you think about, maybe two of the best performances in college basketball this year. And as is just my luck, I get a first-row seat to watch it.”

    Lighty on former teammate Evan Turner coming back to campus over the NBA’s All-Star weekend – “He’s still the same old Evan – eating Waffle House all the time, sleeping everywhere and just chilling.”

    Buford on Lighty’s presence – “He always brings energy to the team. He’s the most talkative guy on the floor. He’s the heart and soul to the team.”

    Matta on Lighty’s worth to the program – “What Dave has done the last five years, I hope he goes down as one of the greatest all-time players ever to play here.”

    Matta on the Buckeyes bypassing a 6 a.m. shootaround before the game at Wisconsin – “The example I gave them was, ‘Hey, the Globetrotters just show up and play and they’ve never lost before,’ and they all thought, ‘Hey, that makes a lot of sense.’ ”

    Sullinger on tough love – “There’s no compassion with this team. If you all could see and look at our practices, there’s times when we argue, times when we yell at each other, cuss each other out. It’s a tough basketball team. But once we get outside that box, or that rectangle I should say, it’s a pretty good basketball team as a group.”

    Matta on a pair of students a few rows behind the team bench who regularly dress up like and emulate the mannerisms of energetic assistant coach Jeff Boals – “They need to go on to the players. Having faces and dressing like the coaches, we need to go another direction there.”

    Tight end Jake Stoneburner on the Buckeyes rallying to win all their November games – “Words really can’t explain how we feel. This has been our goal the whole season, winning the Big Ten championship. We wanted to win it outright, but still winning it, you can’t complain about that. Knowing six straight may never be done again, it’s great. I think we deserve it and we worked hard for it.”

    Matta on Buford dealing with back spasms during the season – “I was told he was going to be fine, he’s good to go. I texted him late last night and said, ‘Shoot me straight, how do you feel?’ and he said, ‘I’m a little sore, dot, dot, dot.’ And I told him today, ‘you don’t “dot-dot-dot” me.’ So we had a long conversation.”

    Foster, a native of Philadelphia, on his memories of Madison Square Garden – “When I was in high school I would jump on the train and I would go to New York for the postseason NIT, and one day I’m walking through the hallways and I ran into my science teacher, who I had for my first class the next morning. He made me very aware of the fact that I better not be late – and he drove. I took the train.”

    Lighty on how often he thinks about playing football again when he watches Tressel’s Buckeyes – “Every game. I just want to score a touchdown in there and hear 100,000 people go crazy.”

    Lauderdale as his career was winding down – “I honestly can’t believe I’m a senior. I still remember the first outfit I wore to my first class as a freshman. It just went by just like that. People always say cherish the college days because they go by quick and I didn’t believe it, but they were right.”

    Lighty on Turner’s early adjustment to the NBA – “That’s the first thing he said, that in practices that Elton Brand is a horse and you can’t get a rebound from him. Evan had a transition coming from high school to college. He really wasn’t doing what he was doing in high school. It’s pretty much going to be the same way once you get to the next level.”

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  • The Overlap Of OSU Football & Hoops

    With college football’s regular season now complete and basketball season well underway, it is time to sweep up the loose quotes that remain – but didn’t slip through the grasp of

    This edition is heavy on extra quotes from the second half of the Ohio State football season, which included the Buckeyes’ rally from a loss at Wisconsin, another strong closing run in November as well as a seventh straight win over Michigan and sixth straight Big Ten title.

    Meanwhile, the OSU men’s basketball team opened in the top five of the rankings and quickly moved up to the No. 2 spot, much like Jim Tressel’s football squad. Thad Matta’s hoopsters posted a pair of big wins in the Sunshine State, at Florida and Florida State, thanks to outstanding play from veterans such as David Lighty and eye-opening contributions from freshmen Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft.

    Also, as usual, a few injuries came to light, most notably Tyler Moeller on the football team and yet another NBA season-ender for former Buckeye Greg Oden.

    Not every entertaining quote made it into the many articles that accompanied those events, but thankfully we still have reason to unveil those missed bites here in Quote Me. They follow:

    Matta on if he sensed a buzz about the Buckeyes after they dominated No. 9 Florida –
    “You guys would know that better than I do. Starbucks, the Schottenstein Center and my house is really all I see. I hope there is. I hope people are excited as we are, as our guys are.”

    Lighty on if the team will be able to replace popular walk-on and blogger Mark Titus – “No, not at all. That’s a legend right there. Mark is going down as a legend. It’ll be a while before someone replaces him.”

    Dallas Lauderdale on if the basketball squad goes out to eat as much now that Evan Turner is departed – “Our whole team likes Genji. We really don’t do Waffle House. That was definitely Evan.”

    Zach Boren after his older brother, Justin, played in his last home game for the Buckeyes – “It’s kind of tough. We’ve still got one more, the bowl game, so I don’t think it’s really hit me yet. But he’s a great guy, the best big brother you can have. He’s always looked out for me and helped me so much since I’ve been here with getting to know the offense and stuff like that. I know we’re going to miss him next year.”

    Matta on what he said via phone to Oden the day before the 7-0 center left for Vail, Colo., for yet another season-ending surgery – “It’s hard to say … you don’t know what to say. It’s only the fourth time I’ve called him at a time like that in a couple years. You hate to see that happen to anybody, but a great kid like Greg, I just want him to get healthy and get a chance to do what he wants to do, and that’s play in the NBA. When he left here I had no doubts he was going to be at this time, four years in the NBA, one of the best centers in the league. It’s unfortunate. He was in great spirits. He was more excited that we won the night before, as only Greg would be. Eventually it may weigh on him, but it’s what he has to do to get where he wants to go. You look last year he was averaging 12 points, 9 and a half rebounds, four blocked shots a game before he went down. Then he has the injury. So it’s there; it’s just a matter of getting him healthy.”

    Miami (Ohio) basketball coach Charlie Coles on Matta, who served two stints as an assistant under Coles – “They’ve got a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful coach. Me and Sean Miller used to always say when we see each other, you talk about all the guys and Thad’s name would come up, we’d say, “Aw, gawd, everything that guy touches turns to gold.’ I don’t know if there’s a coach that’s had his type of success at different places. That guy went to Western Carolina and they went to the (NCAA) tournament – and they were about 9 and 50. For three straight years he went to the tournament as an assistant. It was like eight years, and in his ninth year he had a team that didn’t go to the tournament because of probation. So he’s one of the greats, and I’m not just saying that because I know him. He’s just one of the greats. I mean that. Ohio State’s great and he just recruits his butt off, and he coaches his butt off, too.”

    Matta on the Buckeyes practicing on Thanksgiving – “Thursday we’ll practice, I’m not sure what time, and then they’ll come out to my house for dinner, so I’ve got to start cooking early. Hopefully we’ll have a better practice than we had a couple years ago. I think my wife left 19 voice mails saying, ‘Where are you? Where are you?’ but we weren’t getting practice the way we wanted, so we stayed for four hours and we were a couple hours late for dinner. The veteran players will remember that, that’s for sure.”

    Lighty on the same subject – “We might eat at the gym.”

    Tressel on announcing to the football team that Moeller’s request for another year of eligibility had been approved by the NCAA – “It was a neat thing. He’s had a couple tough things happen and he’s persevered, and usually when you persevere good things happen. So he has an opportunity to play more football, which he loves.”

    Lighty on the idea of quarterback Terrelle Pryor joining the basketball team – “He was a good player. I played against him in AAU. I think we could find a spot for him. I think Coach Matta probably wouldn’t mind that at all. You know, give up a couple fouls for us and play a little defense. I don’t think Tressel will let him so it probably doesn’t matter.”

    Matta on dealing with freshman apprehension – “It’s like the time Greg Oden called me right before he was getting ready to come to college and he says, ‘Coach, what if the other guys on the team don’t like me?’ And I said, ‘Well, they won’t be here then.’ ”

    Tressel on the contrast of the first half against Penn State as compared to the result of the second half – “I remember we were down 17-3 in the national championship game when I was at Youngstown and we came back and won. That was a contrast. I probably wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t won.”

    Justin Boren on hearing boos at the end of the first half against PSU – “They’re our fans. They probably just weren’t happy with what they saw. To be honest with you, I don’t blame them. We didn’t execute very well.”

    Defensive lineman Dexter Larimore on OSU rallying from a 14-3 deficit against the Nittany Lions and winning 38-14 – “It’s a little scary when it’s happening but it is a lot more fun when you win those kind of games because you’ve shown yourself you can handle those adversities. That’s what it’s kind of all about. As a team, if you can come together, understand what’s going wrong and be resilient and come through with a victory, that’s a lot more fun after the game than just pounding a team.”

    Larimore on Tressel’s impassioned halftime speech that afternoon – “Since it’s so uncharacteristic it really gets you pumped up and ready to go. He can kind of came out and said, ‘Hey, we need to play with some heart. We need to come out and attack. We need to get after these guys,’ and he’s speaking loud. It’s a little bit different than what he kind of normally does. I think it helped give us a spark.”

    Co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell on interest from other schools – “Am I being recruited? The Arena League called me about seven or eight years ago about long snapping.”

    Linebacker Brian Rolle on if the Buckeyes were ho-hum about winning a sixth straight Big Ten title – “Winning doesn’t get old. It doesn’t get old at all. And if they say that, I don’t know what sport they’re playing.”

    Matta on freshman point guard Aaron Craft, who wasn’t even a top-100 recruit according to some services – “I think Aaron is going to be a heck of a basketball player. I don’t know if he’s a one-and-done. I hope he is.”

    Tressel on good friend and Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio lobbying for a spot in the BCS, which would have come at the expense of Ohio State – “I’d be disappointed with Mark or Michigan State as a whole if they didn’t stand up and say, ‘Hey, wait a minute, what about us?’ ”

    Tressel at his Dec. 5 press conference on if he received any special gifts for his 58th birthday that day – “Yeah, the Sugar Bowl. How many people got a Sugar Bowl for their birthday? That’s pretty cool. I haven’t been home yet. I’m hoping to get maybe a tie.”

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  • Chicago Tidbits And A Lotta Matta

    The late summer tends to be almost void of meaningful sports news and yet July and August were somewhat eventful in this neck of the woods as stayed on top of Ohio State football and basketball, the latest developments in the Big Ten and even the professional ranks.

    OSU men’s basketball coach Thad Matta came out of his recruiting lair and spoke to reporters about next season and other topics. Also, two of his former players, current NBA guards Mike Conley Jr. and Daequan Cook, returned to Columbus for their annual youth summer camp and offered some insight.

    And the buildup to what promises to be a very interesting football season heightened as all 11 head coaches and select players converged on Chicago for the Big Ten Football Kickoff Luncheon Aug. 2-3. Less than a week later, the second-ranked Buckeyes were lining up in full uniform for the team picture and Media Day at Ohio Stadium.

    Not every entertaining quote made it into the many articles that accompanied those events, but thankfully we still have reason to unveil those missed bites here in Quote Me. They follow:

    Indiana football coach Bill Lynch in Chicago on the Hoosiers’ losing eight of their last nine games last season – “That’s why what we’ve talked to our guys about is learning how to finish. When you go back and look at it, I really mean that. We were about 12 plays away from playing in a really good bowl game. It was a conversion where we didn’t get a first down. There were a couple of those games where it’s third-and-4, third-and-5, if we convert and keep the football, it changes the game.”

    Ohio State coach Jim Tressel on the dependability of defensive tackle Dexter Larimore – “That’s the least of your worries. If you had everyone like Dexter you could take vacation as a coach.”

    Cook on if he would be better off now had he not left OSU after his freshman season along with Conley and Greg Oden – “It’s actually hard to say. It’s a hard question right now for me to answer, not knowing three or four years ago where I was going to be. That’s something I have to think about but that’s not a question I need to answer right this minute. We always sit back and think about the time we would have had if we would have stayed, but at the end of the day we made a decision that we don’t regret.”

    Conley, a former OSU point guard, on who was going to handle that position this season – “I wish I knew. I asked Thad myself and he probably still doesn’t know who’s going to play point guard because they have a lot of different options and a lot of different lineups that they can play with. They have so many guards and so many guys who can handle the ball and be a facilitator with it.”

    Matta’s opening remark after going straight from a workout to a session with the media – “Sitting in my office thinking about next year’s season this is what happens. I’m all sweaty.”

    Matta on several of his players making an early entry to the pros – “I don’t want Ohio State to be known as an NBA factory. I’ve always said this: I want to recruit kids here who have, first and foremost, a great appreciation for this university, and the second thing is that the guys have great passion to be great players and win. Those are the type of guys who we are really trying to focus in on and knowing that if they play well, good things can happen.”

    Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones on killing the will of his opponents – “Sometimes when a guy gets up you can tell he doesn’t really want to get back up again. You can tell he’s thinking, ‘I just want to get this game over with so I can go home.’ That’s when I start to set in my mind to really put the pressure on and make sure he does go home. It’s a great feeling.”

    Ex-Buckeye Evan Turner, now a rookie with the Philadelphia 76ers, on becoming the most decorated player in college basketball last season – “When I first got here I thought there was like a trick to playing good, like there was some Gatorade they gave you to play good. And I learned all it takes is hard work, perseverance and confidence. That’s here, high school, junior high, any level. I’m going to do the same thing I’ve been doing, being the first one in the gym and the last one out of the gym.”

    OSU wide receiver DeVier Posey on the Buckeyes huge Sept. 11 matchup with Miami (Fla.) – “It’s definitely a big measuring stick but I feel like we don’t want to make the same mistake that we did last year and overlook Marshall like we did Navy. We have a theme that we’re taking it one step, one play at a time and one day at a time, so that’s what we’re worried about. We’re only worried about Marshall right now.”

    Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi on avoiding slip-ups – “There’s no guarantee. You can’t make sure of anything, but if we’ve been working hard all season and we’ve developed a good routine, we have good habits, that will hopefully carry over into that week. But there are no guarantees, there are no hypotheticals in football.  That’s not how the game is played. It’s played on the field.”

    Matta on expansion causing more changes to the league structure – “In 2007, they called me and said, ‘Do you want to play 18 games?’ I said, ‘No,’ and 20 minutes later we were on the bus going to the Georgia Dome and they said, ‘The Big Ten is going to play 18 games.’ So I said, ‘Well, I don’t have a lot of say-so with this.’ ”

    OSU safety Jermale Hines on whether or not defensive back Tyler Moeller is ready to return from a major head injury – “Tyler was born ready. Tyler’s a great player, he’s always been a great player, and by far the hardest hitter, I would say, that we have on this team. He’s going to be a real good player for us, a real big help.”

    Embattled Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez on the thirst UM fans have to knock off Ohio State – “Coaches say it’s pressure you put on yourself (that’s greater), but that’s really the truth. No outside pressure can be more than what the coaches put on themselves. I feel pressure just to get better every day in practice. I don’t know if (in) the rivalry games you feel any added pressure other than we just need to play better. And I don’t know if you can think that far ahead. For us, as far as going into that game, we need to win it.”

    Matta on LeBron James bolting Cleveland and his native northeast Ohio to join the Miami Heat – “In my opinion, LeBron still loves Ohio, still loves Ohio State, so I hope that he remains a huge fan of ours because I’m still a huge fan of his, that’s for sure. Honestly, I view LeBron as one of the all-time greats. I do wish he had stayed in Cleveland but somebody asked me about it and I said, ‘Look, I don’t have a leg to stand on. I changed jobs three times. Don’t ask me.’ ”

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  • Summer Extras

    Ohio State’s hiring of new assistant coach Dave Dickerson, the Memorial Tournament, the commitment of superstar quarterback Braxton Miller to OSU, Evan Turner being selected No. 2 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA draft, David Lighty breaking the same bone in his left foot and LeBron James’ monumental free agent decision. has been there along the way, guiding your hand during the Ohio’s biggest sports stories this summer. However, even with all that thorough coverage a few trinkets got lost and swept under the rug.

    Not anymore.

    We have compiled some of the best leftover quotes from those articles and others in rapid-fire attempt to either catch you up on what you may have missed the last couple months or further enlighten the situation.

    Here then are some of the extra quotes that got away:

    Ohio State basketball coach Thad Matta on some publications already hailing the Buckeyes as a top-five team for next season –
    “I think that was when Evan was coming back.”

    Matta on the makeup of his team with four returning starters and six well-rated freshmen to fill in the cracks – “The exciting thing for me is when we get into October (seeing) what it is guys have improved on and what are they going to bring to the table as well as how are the new guys going to fit into the mesh. I think that’s the biggest challenge we have.”

    Newly named Cleveland Cavalier coach Byron Scott on the prospect of the franchise re-signing James – “I think at the end of the day, he’s going to make the right decision, and he’ll be here in Cleveland for the rest of his career. His legacy of winning championships in his hometown will be like nothing he’s seen in his life. There’s nothing like winning at home. I won three titles in my hometown, and there’s not a better feeling.”

    A veteran PGA reporter on the fact that Jack Nicklaus has sent just one e-mail in his entire life – “It said, one word: Test. That was it. It went through, but apparently it didn’t change his mind. He was done with it.”

    Jim Furyk at The Memorial on whether or not Tiger Woods still has an aura and an edge on his competitors – “I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t. He hasn’t played for a while. He might have played poorly for an event or two. You tell me what’s your inclination?” (Reporter: My inclination is that you can’t trust that he’s going to bring it every week. Do you feel he’s still driving the ball good enough to compete week-in, week-out?) “What’s your handicap? I think you’re stirring the pot. I would disagree with your opinion on his game. He hasn’t played. Give it some time. Everybody wants too much too quick.”

    Phenom Rory McIlroy, 21, on Nicklaus’ impact on golf today – “I had lunch with him in West Palm Beach in February during the Honda tournament and he’s a very special man. He gives up a lot of his time. And for him to put on a tournament like this for us and boost us so well and make us feel so welcome, it’s really, really special.”

    Miller of Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne on why he chose Ohio State – “They only offered one quarterback, and that was me. I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s a blessed opportunity right there.’ Florida already has offered another quarterback and he already committed. O-State, I feel like they wanted me. I’m from Ohio and the Buckeye fans, I like them. They’re ecstatic, too.”

    Wayne coach Jay Minton on Miller’s choice – “I’m relieved that it’s over for him. It was such a major decision in his life. They say there are two big ones: who you are going to marry and where you’re going to go to school when you’re a great athlete like that. He’s got one of them out of the way and he can focus in on finishing high school strong and progressing for his college.”

    Dickerson on his time served as head coach at Tulane – “At Tulane, it was a rough, very difficult five years. I took the job four months before Katrina, so I felt like I was in transition every year there with the storm and everything and the aftermath. So initially I thought about not doing anything for a year. Really, in all honesty, that was probably my first choice, to sit back and gather myself and try to replenish myself as far as the coaching profession. But when this opportunity came up at Ohio State, this is a job that is one of the best jobs in the country. It’s just a win-win situation.”

    Dickerson on how his recent experience could be a boon to Matta – “The one thing about being a head coach is that it gives you an outlook of the total program as far as the university, the community, the landscape of recruiting, just everything. And I’ll take those experiences that I’ve gathered at Tulane over the last five years to help Coach Matta and the rest of the staff just to further along the program.”

    Matta on why he tabbed Dickerson for the job soon after Alan Major left to become the head coach at Charlotte – “I’ve just always been impressed with him and how he carried himself. When Alan was going through the process, in my mind there was one guy we were going to go after. And that’s the way we’ve always done it: We choose one, we go after him, and if we don’t get him we move on to the next one.”

    Matta on Lighty somehow shrugging off fracturing the fifth metatarsal in his foot for a second time – “Dave’s got a great outlook on life, number one. He was down when it happened. It took him a little over a week to say, ‘OK, this is what it is’ and away we go. But he’s such a high-energy kid that even with one foot he’s coming at you.”

    Lighty, after Turner’s announcement of leaving school early, on how his buddy might fit in the NBA – “I think it just depends on what team drafts him and what they have already. That’s pretty much what it always is to me, I feel. He can play anywhere, I believe, one through three. With his skill set, they can use him a lot of different ways.”

    Turner assessing how he played for the Sixers during the NBA Summer League – “I know I have to be in shape to compete with this type of competition. It’s a lot more competition, and everybody down here is playing so hard. They’re playing to get or keep a job and put food on the table, and I got my butt kicked. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve gotten my butt kicked.”

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  • A Quotable Ode To ET

    This time we felt it was only appropriate to dedicate this space entirely to Evan Turner, who continues to mop up All-American appointments and college basketball player of the year awards at a dizzying pace.

    The 6-7 Turner, as expected, announced July 7 that he would forgo his senior season at Ohio State to pursue early entry into the NBA draft. He doesn’t yet have an agent but likely will retain David Falk, who famously handles Michael Jordan.

    A product of the town Jordan once ruled, Chicago, Turner is now a household name himself and could be the first or second player taken in the June draft.

    In further tribute to one of the greatest seasons ever logged on the hardwood by a Buckeye, the following is a look back at some of the comments from and about Turner that didn’t appear previously in other articles:

    OSU head coach Thad Matta on wanting Turner to tighten up his handle once the decision was made to shift him to point guard –
    “That and quick decisions. Those were the two areas we talked the most about in the offseason. If you remember last year or the first two years, when he’d make a move his head would be over his toes. So balance was a big issue for him. I think we even showed him one time Beanie Wells running through a hole that he was parallel because it was a point of explosion. I think those are the things that he took to heart and got better at.

    “I’ve been very pleased with his decision making and his aggressive patience, if you will, of kind of when to go, when to wait on things. I think he’s done a great job with it.”

    Matta on Turner not being able to log time at PG once David Lighty was injured and lost for the season – “His freshman year we started him at the point one time against Wisconsin and he threw the advance pass to a Bucknut in the eighth row the first play of the game. But when Dave went down we had to kind of use him as a point forward last year.”

    Matta on his hunch about Turner’s junior year – “When we went to Canada and we got back a couple weeks later and I saw the improvement he had made from playing in the games up there to how much better he was in practice, I was very excited about what he was going to bring to the table. And I felt like offensively we were able to come up with enough things that, in case there was ever a problem, we could manage it throughout the course of a game. We’ve got a lot of different things we can do with him to move him around.”

    Lighty on how Turner endured fractures in his lower back against Eastern Michigan in early December, an injury that cost him six games in midseason – “He was down, but who wouldn’t be. I told him, ‘Don’t make this be a burden on your heart’ or think that he let the team down.”

    Turner on the same topic – “It could have been way worse. I could have tilted a little bit more and hit the top part of my spine or hit my head or it could have been way worse. I was really blessed. I just hurt my L-2 and L-3.”

    Matta on not having Turner for a month but being told he could be out for eight weeks – “The hard part was the unknown of knowing when he was coming back. (It was) a little bit different from Greg Oden when you knew when he was coming, but you didn’t know exactly what you were going to get. With Evan it was, ‘Hopefully we can get back to this stage and get a little bit better.’ ”

    Turner on his pursuit of a Big Ten title – “That’s an extremely big deal. There’s nothing like winning, because if you don’t win what you did the whole time doesn’t really matter.”

    Lighty on Turner’s offbeat personality – “He’s just different. Like we go out to eat or something, he’ll just order steak and bread, like a plain steak with nothing on it. That’s what he’ll eat. If his food is touching, he won’t eat it. He’s a little different in his own way.”

    Teammate and roommate Jon Diebler on the same subject – “He’s so unique because when you see him on the court you think, ‘Man, this guy is crazy’ because he’s so competitive and emotional. But off the court he’s completely different. He’s a funny guy who likes to crack jokes. It’s almost like two different people.”

    Turner on himself – “I think I’m more different than people perceive I am. Like a lot of people who meet me say, “I thought you’d be like this, I thought you’d be like that.

    “If my food is touching on my plate, I’m not eating it. I won’t eat anything that’s white. I can’t really do that. It’s just all mental with me. I’m weird about certain stuff.

    “I’m a normal kid but I like weird stuff. People always tell me, ‘You’re weird, but I love you to death.’ ”

    Matta on how his star player dealt with all the fanfare and distractions during the season – “I think that he’s done a fabulous job of keeping the focus on the right things and knowing that if he would want to pursue that he’s done everything he was supposed to do leading up to it.”

    Diebler after the season-ending loss to Tennessee on whether or not Turner would consider returning for his senior season – “There is that slight chance because he is such a competitor and he’s got that bad taste in his mouth. He hates losing. Knowing the guy, it’s the worst thing to him. It doesn’t matter what he’s doing. He does not like to lose.”

    Turner, during the season, on the idea of returning for his senior season – “If I stay, it wouldn’t hurt. I’m going to get better as a basketball player and keep maturing as a person. We have a great class coming in. We have great players who are going to be returning. It’s only going to go up and up.”

    Turner admitting he looked into leaving at the end of his sophomore season – “When I first found out I could I thought, ‘That would be cool,’ but at the same time what really just stuck with me was realizing I hadn’t done anything. I hadn’t left my mark. If I never win a Big Ten title or anything that would nag at me for the rest of my life.”

    Turner on the human temptation to look ahead – “In that certain situation, how could you not get anxious. Let’s compare it to you guys working all day and you’re super hungry. You might be rushing through stuff to try to hurry up and get home and get food. That’s kind of how it is sometimes, unless you have a certain type of discipline and certain type of patience it’s almost hard.”

    Turner on why he wears No. 21 now – “One of my good friends, John Moll, he passed away when we were sophomores in high school. He was No. 21 and when I got here I had the opportunity to wear No. 21. He had dreams to play big-time basketball. He wasn’t fortunate enough to do it and I was. This is a way to represent him. A lot of people loved him.”

    OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor on watching Turner this season – “Evan Turner is a beast, man. I can’t even go watch him because I miss basketball so much. That’s my favorite sport. But I have a love for football, too.”

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  • Postseason Basketball Nuggets

    In our next installment, we stay in the realm of hoops after the Ohio State men enjoyed a prosperous postseason. The men won the Big Ten Tournament after sharing the regular-season title with Purdue and Michigan State. That led to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a winding road from Milwaukee to St. Louis, where the Buckeyes were bounced last weekend by Tennessee.

    The season ended with a 29-8 mark and some feelings of disappointment mixed in with euphoria. Through the drama of March a few comments from OSU players and coaches maybe have fallen through the cracks, but we have assembled them here.

    Evan Turner on having a shooting competition with teammate Jon Diebler –
    “I was shooting pretty good. I was probably shooting like 60 percent when we were shooting threes. Will Buford was in the gym and Diebler, seriously, didn’t miss for 30 shots. He beat me pretty bad so we went one-on-one and I beat him twice. He let me get a little bit of my pride back.”

    OSU signee DeShaun Thomas on deciding to commit early as opposed to several fellow competitors in the McDonald’s All-American Game, who are still unsigned – “Some kids want to keep their options open and be more free. But with all the pressure I had, I had to pick out the best place for me and I think it was Ohio State. So everything is all set. I’m going to Ohio State, the family is here and is going to be rooting me. So I got it all off my shoulders and off my back.”

    OSU coach Thad Matta on dealing with seven players having flu-like symptoms the week of preparation for the NCAA Tournament –
    “There’s no pill for it – because I’ve asked.”

    Matta, facetiously, on OSU’s upcoming second-round game in Milwaukee – “The one thing I’m excited about is I’m sure the Xavier fans will be pulling for us as we go, so that will be really, really good.”

    OSU walk-on Mark Titus on the exploits of Turner –
    “It’s really cool to see him take over in crunch time like he does. Sometimes it will be close and you look up and there’s 10 minutes to go in the game and he’s got six points, and at the end of the game you look up and he’s got like 32. That’s just how he plays. When it’s time to win, he just takes over.”

    Turner on the fact that only one OSU home game sold out this season – “If you lose a million dollars and you’re making 15 million, I think you’re being a little stingy, so I’m not really praying over that. I look in the stands and I see a lot of people there. People decide what to do with their money, and I’m sure we have enough money.”

    Turner on why fans wouldn’t come out in droves to see the national player of the year – “I would. But you’ve got stuff on. You’ve got ‘American Idol.’ Somebody asked me if I saw “America’s Best Dance Crew” last night. You’ve got some good TV shows on, so I probably can’t be prime time.”

    Women’s coach Jim Foster on the defensive prowess of senior Shavelle Little – “Very quick hands. If she was a boxer, your head would be snapping back often from her left jab. She just is very, very quick with her hands and uses them very effectively and knows how to position her body to make her hands more effective.”

    OSU senior Kyle Madsen on how his body has changed since transferring in from Vanderbilt – “I didn’t realize I was a fat, out-of-shape kid, but I hear it from the strength coach all the time. He’s like, ‘Do you want to see your picture from when you first got here?’ That’s in the past.”

    Thomas on the remote possibility that Turner could return next year, when the nation’s No. 1 class arrives – “Oh, man. I’m thinking the national championship with the best player in the nation. If he comes back next year we could guarantee a ring, a national championship.”

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OSU ended the season with two straight losses, allowing 34 points in the B1G title game with Michigan State and 40 more vs. Clemson in the Orange Bowl. The D needs work, but what should Urban Meyer fix first?

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From time to time, we will take a look back at some of the more interesting remarks we came across, funny quips or meaningful statements that may have been bypassed. Here is a sampling:

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