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  • Catching Up On Coaches Comments

    Sunday is Media Day for the Ohio State football team, which means the Buckeyes will get a very temporary respite from the grind of preseason camp and reporters will be scurrying around to find that magic quote.

    Especially important is gathering information and insight from the assistant coaches, and they will be made available as well.

    So before SRU fills up another recorder, we felt it was time to clean out some of the leftovers from the offseason regarding the coaching staff’s view of the football team.

    Here goes:

    Offensive line coach Ed Warinner on why he is encouraged by the play of former defensive lineman Chase Farris – “He’s very competitive, he goes hard for 4-6 seconds. He has a high motor, and he’s strong and powerful. We just have to teach him the position. That’s the only thing he lacks is just experience in there and understanding how things work there.”

    Warinner on if coaching offensive linemen at Ohio State is any different than his previous stint in the Big Ten –
    “I don’t see any significant differences other than there are more and more teams in the shotgun running spread offenses. So I see that more. That wasn’t as common as before. When I was at Illinois in 2005 and 2006, Illinois was one of the few spread teams in the Big Ten and I think there’s just more and more of that going on. But I don’t see anything specifically different in how it’s called (by referees). It has evolved, so I’m sure it’s different than it was eight years ago or 10 years ago, but I don’t think it’s that much different.”

    Warinner on his aims with recruiting to his group – “We would try to shoot for a guy who has a little bit more athleticism because if you’re going to be in the shotgun and you’re going to pass, you tend to get wider rush defensive ends, so they have to be able to move around in space a little bit better. So from that aspect, yeah, we would probably look for a guy with a little bit more foot quickness and ability to change direction in our tackles than we did 10 years ago.”

    Wide receivers coach Zach Smith on the uniqueness o playing wideout – “If you run the wrong route or you don’t get open or you don’t catch the ball, it’s not like people don’t notice. It’s center stage, right in front of you, so to develop the confidence you have to be successful in those opportunities. But that spotlight on you can also rapidly increase your confidence because everyone does see you make the play and all of a sudden your confidence skyrockets. It’s kind of gift and a curse, I guess.”

    Smith on the emergence of senior Chris Fields – “Chris was a flash-in-the-pan type of guy last year. He would show you something that you loved and the next play he would let you down, so it was kind of an emotional roller coaster with his performance. He came into this spring more committed and had a better understanding and was more confident that he could do those things consistently. I felt like he was going to be more consistent and make those plays that we needed him to, but we needed to see it, and he did it. In 15 practices (in the spring), he did what he needed to do.”

    Smith on Fields coming to life around the middle of last season – “I saw a light come on, but at that point it wasn’t tryout time. So when the season ended is when he clicked into action. He needed to go show everyone so the confidence and the trust could be developed to where we could count on him and he’s one of our guys.”

    Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tom Herman on the improvement in the passing game – “I’m not frightened to call a pass play anymore. It literally sent shivers down my spine at times last year. Now, are we where we need to be? Absolutely not. But at least as a play caller I don’t lay awake at night with night sweats saying, ‘Oh, my God, I’m going to have to call a pass tomorrow.’ ”

    Herman on teaching QB Braxton Miller to trust the system and not get happy feet in the pocket – “I think he’s at his best when he’s confident that he knows where guys are going to be. Throwing and catching the football is really, really hard because of everything the defense can do, so the more reps he can get over and over and over again putting himself in different scenarios vs. different defenses, I think the calmer we’ll see his feet.”

    Herman on whether Miller could even survey the field last year – “To say he had just a void of understanding would not be the truth. I think he would be the first to admit that he wasn’t the best at that. But he’s pretty good. So it is pretty remarkable that he was able to take over games the way that he did and really kind of operate at that rudimentary level of understanding. So it will be exciting to see in the next couple years how much progress he makes.”

    Herman on the difficulty and demands of the position – “The things that those guys have to see standing back there and the decisions that they have to make in 1.5 to 2.2 seconds, it’s mind-boggling. It’s hard to wrap your brain around every single time”

    Herman on the emerging leaders of the offense – “(Corey) Linsley is really good – really, really good – as the center should be. (Jeff) Heurerman can be. We need to keep working on that. I think Philly Brown can be but he’s not there yet. Those two would be the next two in line to kind of make that move.”

    Herman on young QB J.T Barrett – “Super smart guy. A really refreshing guy. I’ve coached a lot of coaches’ kids and he is not like a coach’s kid. He’s not. But he’s very intelligent and understands the game. You’re still kind of nervous about what you’re going to get physically.”

    Defensive coordinator Luke Fickell on how to keep the Buckeyes hungry coming off undefeated season – “I think it starts with us as coaches. When good things happen, it’s easier for people to believe in them. It’s just like seeing. When you see something, it’s a little bit easier to believe in it. When something works, you don’t question it as much. But we have to remember the criticism is not what’s hard. It’s the success when you have it and can you continue to have it. Are you going to have the same work ethic and all of those things when they’re telling you how good your are.”

    Safeties coach Everett Withers on the importance of putting seniors Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett in mentoring roles – “I think our seniors understand we’re going to need everyone and if we don’t develop and help develop some of the younger guys we’re not going to be very good. I think they’re ready to take that on this summer as a challenge to do that.”

    Withers, who is also co-coordinator, on Ohio State’s ability to change from 4-2-5 and 3-3-5 defensive looks when in nickel – “We’re able to rush four out of it, we’re able to rush three out of it, and we’re able to bring pressure out of it, so it’s kind of a multiple package. It gives us the ability to cover more and also pressure more.”

    Withers on freshman phenom  Vonn Bell – “He’s an athletic guy. He’s got really good ball skills. I think his development in the scheme will be crucial. He’s a good tackler. During the recruiting process one of the things I really liked about him was his range. He can run, he can cover ground, he plays well with the ball in the air, he understands angles. Hopefully he can fit and maybe help us at some of those sub packages like nickel, dime and maybe even at the free safety position.”

    Cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs on the critical importance of offseason development – “If we’re not any better in August than we are today then we’ve lost a golden opportunity. If we continue to grow and enhance and improve, if we continue to stay healthy and we all buy in to what the head coach is selling, I don’t think there’s any question we can be a really, really good football team.”


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  • Ode To A (Rare) Undefeated Team

    Usually this space is reserved for a hodgepodge of extra quotes from several different teams that are under the umbrella coverage of SportsRappUp.com.

    However, the Ohio State football team just logged an improbable, thrilling and somewhat unfulfilling 12-0 season. It was an odyssey that actually began with Urban Meyer’s hiring a little more than a year ago, continued through an eventful run-up to the season, and materialized as the Buckeyes overcame their flaws and setbacks while finding a way to win week after week.

    But the sixth unbeaten, untied season in Ohio State football history didn’t merit much more than an atta-boy – and a celebration before a few thousand soggy fans at St. John Arena on Dec. 7 – since the program had been docked with a postseason ban as part of a lengthy NCAA punishment.

    Therefore, SRU has decided to dedicate this installment of Quote Me solely to the 2012 OSU football squad.

    Here then are the football-related quotes of interest that almost got away through the course of the season, presented in semi-chronological order:

    Co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers on being an interim head coach at North Carolina last year amid turmoil – “I learned really for 18 months that kids are resilient. That’s probably the biggest thing I learned. Kids are resilient and they’re just looking for somebody to coach them and love them and teach them how to be good people off the field and on the field.”

    Defensive coordinator Luke Fickell on him serving in the same role for Ohio State in 2011, which ended with a 6-7 record – “I just want to make sure everyone knows, we had expectations and they were very high.”

    Meyer on talking about what he inherited while speaking to fans at the team’s spring preview –
    “Our football program is in good shape. Coach (Jim) Tressel is a dear friend and his staff did a fabulous job. What they’ve done the last decade is nothing short of arguably the 10 best years in the history of this program. So it’s an honor for me and my staff to come in and take this over and do the very best we can.”

    Senior wide receiver Jake Stoneburner when reminded during late May interviews that it was the one-year anniversary of Tressel’s resignation – “It’s pretty crazy. It’s almost like it didn’t happen. We haven’t played a season yet with Coach Meyer but I feel like everyone is excited about the season again. And I feel like media around the country is wondering what Ohio State is going to do with a new coach, how good are they going to be. We’ve got good expectations. For losing one of the best coaches at Ohio State ever just a year ago to be where we’re at right now, we’re pretty fortunate. I didn’t expect it to be like this, but I’m definitely happy about it.”

    Former Buckeye Will Allen on the major NCAA sanctions levied against Penn State because of the scandal involving former coordinator Jerry Sandusky – “At the time it was ambiguous. Nobody knew. The opponent didn’t even know. So how is that even measurable? But obviously the NCAA wants to wipe the slate clean.”

    Meyer on a summer arrest of running back Bri’onte Dunn – “He’s going to plead not guilty. We did a series of tests and everything came back that he was honest with me. However, if there is some charge that sticks then they’ll be a penalty like all kids that have a charge.”

    Meyer on the notion that the Buckeyes could go undefeated heading into the open week – “If those kids hear that, I have to beat it out of them the first week of training camp. I can promise you after day four, they aren’t going to be worried about 10 and 0. They’re going to be worried about getting through day five. It’s going to be a really, really hard training camp.”

    Meyer at the Big Ten media conference in Chicago on the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry – “What makes a rivalry really great is histroically it’s two really good teams playing against each other. If it’s two lousy teams than it’s not a rivalry. I know (Michigan) has a really good team.”

    On his budding coaching rivalry with UM coach Brady Hoke – “I think coaches are overrated. If there are two good teams, he’ll get a lot of publicity and so will I. If Braxton Miller’s a great player, the rivalry is going to be really good, but if he’s not really good the rivalry won’t be as fiery. It’s all about the players. They won the game last year – not because of some coach or motivational saying. It’s because they have a freak at quarterback (Denard Robinson) who made some great plays. He was dynamic. Our guy wasn’t bad either. That’s why it was a great game.”

    On his relationship with Miller – “He has a virtue that is relatively non-existent nowadays and that’s humility. It’s refreshing to see that. It’s good for football. Here’s a kid that’s not looking to be out front and he’s a hard worker. His positive is he’s extremely competitive. The area he needs to work on is leadership. That’s to be determined. I’ll tell you after the first week of practice if he’s a good leader because if we throw the ball decent and guys are catching it, it means he led them all summer. If they don’t then he’s not where he needs to be.”

    On his goals with training camp days away – “Every school in the country is going to show a ton of enthusiasm, so I’m not looking for enthusiasm. That’s going to happen. What’s really important to us is that we can throw and catch a pass, and I mean at a high level because we weren’t able to do that (in the spring). If I see those receivers coming out of breaks and the quarterback spinning the ball on time, that means we have a chance to be really good on offense. If they don’t, we’ve got a problem.”

    On John Simon, Johnathan Hankins and the defensive line – “If you notice the way we’re recruiting right now, (the defensive line) is where you start. Spread offenses, shovel passes and all of that are kind of cool but at the end of the day if you have the best defensive line there’s a great chance you’re going to have one of the better teams in the conference, and I like our guys. I don’t love them yet but I like them a lot.”

    Senior linebacker Storm Klein on being reinstated to the team after assault charges against him were dropped – “Coach Meyer, he’s a good guy. He’s a guy who cares, and you can really tell that. In the beginning I didn’t know him very well but through everything we’ve become a lot closer and we understand each other.”

    Hankins on all the speculation surrounding the Buckeyes heading into the season – “I don’t feel it gets to be too much for me because I don’t pay too much attention to the media or Twitter and all that. Haters are always going to be out there, so you just have to deal with it. I’m not really bothered by it.”

    Stoneburner on if the Buckeyes were playing to silence their critics – “We’ve always got something to prove. We’re Ohio State. People are always doubting us, people are always with us. I feel like every year we have to be one of the best teams in the country or else it’s a disappointment. And no matter where we are, what we did last year and who’s our coach, we’re always circled because it’s Ohio State.”

    New offensive coordinator Tom Herman on why he believed the team made so much offseason improvement –Mickey Marotti, without a doubt. I know it’s cliché. I’ve been a lot of different places and he’s the best strength coach in America. I came from a place where I’d thought I had seen the best and I came to a place that I realized I hadn’t yet. He and his staff, they’re off-the-charts good.”

    Offensive line coach Ed Warinner on returning to the Big Ten Conference – “That’s part of the great thing about Ohio State is it’s in a great conference. I’ve coached at two schools in the conference, so I’ve been through the league. I respect it and know the quality of the coaching staff and the players. It’s going to be exciting. There will be new energy in the building tomorrow when everyone comes in.”

    Backup Kenny Guiton on what he picked up from Miller – “I’ve been trying to come every day to work and he told me that being a quarterback every day people are looking at us every play. So we have to lift them up if they’re having a down day and things like that. Just me watching Braxton every day, I’m learning, because Braxton is a great player.”

    Wide receivers coach Zach Smith on challenging players to improve on last year’s leading reception total of 14 – “It was definitely a selling point because as a wideout that’s not the year you want. I mean, your fourth-string Z receiver is supposed to be the guy who catches 14 balls in a year. Like Coach Meyer says all the time, I’m used to guys catching 14 balls in a game, not for the whole year. It’s time to go.”

    Receiver Corey “Philly” Brown on if he could play defensive back like the team’s other Corey Brown – “I would be the nickel probably. Travis (Howard) is having a tremendous year so far and (Bradley) Roby is a lockdown corner also, so I would probably be a nickel. I wouldn’t start over either one of those dudes.”

    Meyer after OSU routed Miami (Ohio) in the opener – “The day overall, it was a great day. “Hang on Sloopy” kicked it off in the fourth quarter. And I stared at that for a while, watched it. Told a couple of people that I’ve never seen that before. Checked that out.”

    Offensive co-captain Zach Boren on Miller keeping the ball 27 times against Central Florida – “I know we don’t want to run Braxton all the time. He’s the leader of the offense and we need him all year. With as many carries as he had today, we don’t want that. But when we need to win the game, we’re going to put the ball in Braxton’s hands.”

    Central Florida QB Blake Bortles on the crowd noise at Ohio Stadium, which his coach, George O’Leary, called a place where fans “sit on their hands” – “It was definitely a factor. We had to switch to our silent count because the noise was such a huge issue. We had two false starts right from the beginning, so yes the noise affected us.”

    Running backs coach Stan Drayton on trying to develop youngsters Dunn and Rod Smith with Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde hurt – “The beauty of this offense for that position is they’re trained to do pretty much everything. They have to run the ball effectively, no doubt, but they have to be solid in protection and we ask those guys to do things in the pass game from a route standpoint. They’ve got to be able to read defenses and make adjustments on their routes and they have to be great pass protectors. There are a lot of things that have to be checked off that list before they’re cleared to play.”

    Defensive end Nate Williams on the chippy nature of the Cal game – “I like that kind of game, actually. They were a good group, their offensive line. Their center was their anchor and he was a great player. They ran a great offense and kept us on our toes. The way the game evolved is how it evolved.”

    Hall on the same subject – “That’s football. They’re out there on the West Coast, we’re on the East Coast and we want to see who’s better. At the end of the game we shook hands. That’s how the game is.”

    Roby on OSU’s recent troubles with Purdue days before the Buckeyes hosted the Boilermakers – “The two losses are both away and the whole atmosphere at Purdue is like … there’s not that many fans, the field is not all that nice, and things like that. It’s kind of a gloomy type of atmosphere, and when you play at Ohio State you’re kind of used to playing in big games, big crowds, and things like that. It’s kind of tough to mentally focus.”

    Hankins on Guiton emerging as the hero vs. PU – “Kenny Guiton is like Kobe (Bryant) in clutch time. He knows the game and I feel like he’s a coach for us on offense. He’s doing a good job. I never lose faith in Kenny.”

    Sophomore tight end Jeff Heuerman on catching the all-important, game-tying two-point conversion against the Boilers, which sent the game into overtime – “Coach (Mike) Vrabel told me after the game those are the hardest ones to catch and I definitely agree. It seemed like the ball was in the air forever.”

    Safety Christian Bryant on his developing relationship with his head coach – “I love Coach Meyer, man. He’s a player’s coach, and I can say that first-hand. We feed off of him each and every day and each and every week, his intensity. He just keeps us up. He never wants us down. He might talk bad, but that’s like a kid and his parents. But I love Coach Meyer.”

    Illinois coach Tim Beckman after his Illini failed to slow down Miller – “Braxton Miller is a fantastic football player, he fuels this Ohio State team with his ability to make guys miss and that is how he hurt us today. He also made big plays with his arm and exposed some coverage issues in our secondary.”

    Terry Hawthorne, senior UI defensive back, on the same topic – “I’ve played against him before in high school and he was just as slippery then as he is now.  He is the same exact guy, but he has more control of the ball now.”

    Meyer on his affinity for Boren, who willingly switched from fullback to linebacker midseason – “One of the most undervalued characteristics of a football team is leadership, and that’s what No. 44 gives you. I really admire him. Not a very good leader whatsoever throughout spring, throughout the winter, has developed into one of my all-time favorites in my coaching career as far as a selfless leader that does it all for us.”

    Meyer on the senior season of Howard – “Travis to me – I can say this because of how much respect I have for him now – was not a good player. He was a guy that kind of lined up out there, but I wouldn’t consider him to be a good player. He and his coach (Kerry Coombs) have worked him into what I consider a very good player.”

    Stoneburner, prior to the Wisconsin game, on his college career winding down – “It’s bittersweet, surreal. It’s kind of hard to explain. We’ve three practices left maybe, two games, only one game left in the ’Shoe. Five years flew by. Everyone says it goes by pretty quick, and I guess it does, but it’s also been a long time. I just want to end it on a great note.”

    Senior defensive back Orhian Johnson on the announcement that Tressel would be honored along with the 2002 team during the Michigan game – “I don’t have any animosity towards Coach Tressel in any way, shape or form. There’s no love loss for him.”

    On what it feels like to play Michigan – “You’ve got to beat them. That’s all you think about. As close as football can get to war, that’s probably it. And if you need a motivational speech for this game, you probably won’t touch the field that day.”

    On going into the Michigan game knowing no bowl game was on the horizon – “I’m pretty sure it will add to it after it’s all said and done, like after the game, but, honestly, I kind of came to peace with me knowing that I don’t have a bowl game and with me knowing that there’s no option for that. I really haven’t been staying up at night worrying about something that I can’t control. It’d be nice if we could, but we are only guaranteed of 12 games going into each and every season so I just want to make this last one count.”

    Herman on the same subject, after the game – “We knew what the end game was going to be. We knew that this was it. And when you know that going in it’s not like somebody yanked it out from us a week ago. So when you deal with that then and accept it, you can rise to the challenges that are presented every Saturday, and our guys did that.”

    Senior Zach Domicone on Tressel being hoisted onto the shoulders of 2002 team members during the on-field recognition of the national champs of 10 years ago – “He’s a great guy, great coach and great person, and I think that was well deserved for him.”

    Herman on Miller’s growth at QB – “The sky is the limit for him, and to say that he’s a finished product is not even close to reality.”

    Herman, who came over from Iowa State, on the camaraderie of the 2012 Buckeyes – “Whether it was against Purdue and taking that last drive down with a backup quarterback or whether it was against Wisconsin, when the defense and special teams carried us, whatever the case may be we found a way to win football games. I told the guys in the locker room it’s by far the best team I’ve ever been associated with – maybe not the best players, maybe not the best group of this or that at different position. But as a team – as an offense, as a defense, as a special teams unit – it’s by far the best team I’ve ever been associated with.”

    Domicone on his Senior Day experience – “The whole day has been unbelievable, just the emotions that have been running through me. Everything is the last – the last time you’re running out of the tunnel, the last pregame meal, the last time you’re in the locker room. So just to go out there and have my parents down there and play with my team and have everyone on the field, it was just unreal today.”

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  • From Luke To Urban To Coach K

    Anyone who thinks college sports are small potatoes wasn’t hanging around Ohio State’s athletic programs recently.

    In the span of just a few days in late November alone, the Buckeyes heard from former coach Jim Tressel, played before the largest crowd in the history of Big Ten football in Ann Arbor, nearly pulled off a stunning upset of the ranked Wolverines, landed none other than Urban Meyer as their new head coach and announced that Luke Fickell would remain on the staff as one of Meyer’s top assistants.

    And that was just the football team. The night after Meyer was introduced, Thad Matta’s second-ranked roundballers took to the hardwood before a sellout crowd at Value City Arena and clobbered No. 3 Duke and legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski to the tune of 85-63.

    All of those developments made national news – major national news – and also produced more quotes than even the rabid media could reproduce.

    Trailing back a few months it has been even more of a whirwind following the two top programs at The Ohio State University. The football team endured a topsy-turvy second half of the regular season and the basketball squad has been in the top-five spotlight practically since breaking camp in mid-October.

    SportsRappUp.com has been there every step of the way and has compiled for you some of the better quotes that got away. Well, almost go away. Enjoy.

    Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith just before introducing Meyer – “Urban and I go back quite a ways and have known each other for a while. Our first conversation about this job was on Sunday, November 20th. There were no previous conversations about this job until Sunday, November 20th.”

    Former Buckeye linebacker Chris Spielman on Meyer, his broadcast partner this season, and rumors of him joining the OSU staff – “If ever I were to coach it would be for him, because I believe in the guy so much and what he stands for. I think I serve the university in a more important capacity and involvement with the fundraiser for the Spielman Fund for breast cancer. And also I made a promise to Stef, I made a promise to my kids and a promise to people at Ohio State that this is what I’m going to do, and I intend to keep my word. I always do, I think. I try to. And I’ve got a 9-year-old and 10-year-old and I’m a single dad. It wouldn’t be fair to them, because I’m afraid what I’d turn into.”

    Matta on speculation of the Meyer hiring and what he had heard about him from his good friend and current Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan – “Billy has always told me dating back to years when we would talk shop about my relationship with Jim and his relationship – I think they were neighbors – he always said he was just a great, great guy. So if that’s who it is that would be a tremendous get for Ohio State.”

    Outgoing senior center Mike Brewster on the football squad’s off-field transgressions and subsequent 6-6 season – “It’s hard. It just kind of shows you that the decisions you make can affect your teammates. That’s how it goes sometimes, but I think I’ve grown a lot this year. I’ve had to deal with a lot more stress and responsibility than in the past three years. But I think I’ve come a long ways and in the long run I think it will be good for me.”

    Krzyzewski on the Blue Devils’ inability to slow down Ohio State – “We couldn’t hit a shot. Their defense was outstanding. And then they got hot. They can score from a number of different positions. They had a great crowd. They had a lot going, and they took advantage of everything. They were just really good.”

    Krzyzewski on OSU’s dynamic duo of Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft – “When you have Sullinger in there, he’s just a man inside and he’s always an option. You can always get the ball to him and run offense through him or have him be the offense. That’s a big thing for their team. And Craft, he busts his butt. He’s a terrific player on a team that’s very talented.”

    Krzyzewski when he was asked to evaluate the play of OSU forward Deshaun Thomas – “I wasn’t focused on each one of their guys. I was trying to figure out how to not lose by 30.”

    Tressel, speaking to WTVN morning host Bob Conners on his final day at the mic, on Meyer – “Urban has done a great job wherever he’s been. He’ll come in and do a good job with a great group of kids. When you go through some suffering like (Ohio State) went through this year and you have the right kind of players in the program, you’re probably going to have some good things happen. So he will come in and do a good job. He knows how to coach the game.”

    Fickell on the key to attracting prospects to Ohio State – “You want to have them get on campus. You want them to see you in a different light. You want them to see you around your players. You want them to see how you react or respond in the general public. Unless you just talk to people over the phone in recruiting and you have some great sales pitch … to me, I tell parents you want to be able to see it, you want to look in that coaches eyes and feel how genuine he really is and see how genuine each coach on that staff really is and see the people that are in the program, because that’s what’s real.

    “That’s what I’ve told them all along since I’ve been here for 10 years. That’s the way I’ve recruited. It hasn’t been, ‘Come here because of me.’ It hasn’t been come here because of a different coach. It’s been come here because it’s The Ohio State University, all the things it has to offer and, most importantly, the young men and the people who are in the program. Those things will never change.”

    Defensive back Tyler Moeller on what he recalled about OSU’s loss at Purdue in 2009 – “I don’t really remember too much from that game just because I had a brain injury. I wasn’t at the game. I don’t really remember too much of that period of my life so it’s hard to comment. Weak excuse, I apologize.”

    Jackson State basketball coach Tevester Anderson’s assessment of Ohio State after his team was blown out at VCA – “We have played Florida, we have played Baylor. Coming here, I didn’t see a weakness at all for this team. They are strong, but they have good perimeter shooting. They also have good guard play, which is huge. I thought they were just as good as North Carolina coming into this season and tonight just reinforced that. They executed well and their chemistry is really, really good.”

    Anderson on Sullinger – “We have a big man at home that’s pretty good. He had to stay back because of an eye surgery, but I don’t think it would have made a difference against Sullinger tonight. He’s strong and he jumps so quickly. He moves like Charles Barkley. I had the chance to coach Barkley at Auburn. Sullinger is something special.”

    Matta on insulating his team from the media and distractions – “Honestly, you’d like to just sort of coach a basketball team in a cave, go out and play games and go back in. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.”

    Senior left tackle Mike Adams, who was suspended for the first five games of the season, on being named a game captain against Indiana – “It was great. I’ll never forget it, being out there and being able to lead my teammates. It’s cool just to do the coin toss and all that stuff. It was a good experience.”

    Fickell after being told Boom Herron, who was suspended for the first six games of the season, was seen crying during the national anthem just prior to his 2011 home debut against Wisconsin – “We know what kind of passion Boom has. We would expect nothing different, whether it’s his play or how he reacts to the national anthem.”

    Fickell on why he believed Herron was deserving of being named a game captain – “Because there’s no one it means more to. We’ve all made mistakes in our life and we all continue to learn from the mistakes we’ve made. We’ve all paid the prices at times and we’ve gotten away with things at times. Eventually, you’ve got to forgive and move on. It’s not hard to do when a guy’s got the passion and the work ethic and he handles it the way in which Boom has handled it. There’s nobody that would bat an eye at making Boom Herron anything and that’s a tribute to the way he’s handled the situation, his maturity and what this place really means to him.”

    Matta on his affinity for Donovan – “It goes back … his coaching tree, my coaching tree. There’s some ties there from Herb Sendek. They were assistants together at Kentucky. Billy was coaching at Marshall when I was at Western Carolina. I don’t know. He’s one of the good guys, I think, and I enjoy being around him.”

    Fickell, on Nov. 3, on how he continued to keep the Buckeyes positive despite looming NCAA sanctions – “Once somebody knows something, I would much rather know. But until they do, I don’t want to speculate about it, I don’t want to waste any of our energy or of our time worrying about it. It’s always better to have things out in the open and know what the situation is, but until then we’re going to continue to move forward and go about our business.”

    Fickell on the versatility of fullback Zach Boren, who weighed as much as 280 pounds in high school – “Zach would be a good football player, I don’t care where you put him. You could put him at right guard and he would be one heck of a football player. You could put him at tailback and he’s going to be a heck of a football player. You could put him at linebacker.”

    Herron on smoothing over matters with fellow tailback Carlos Hyde after seizing the starting job at Illinois (Hyde tweeted his displeasure with receiving only a few late carries) – “We definitely talked. And I think he’s doing a lot better now. And like I told him, you know, when I first got here, I had a lot of guys in front of me, Beanie Wells, Brandon (Saine) and Maurice Wells, I told him he has a couple of years left. So his time is definitely going to come. He’s a great running back, and he’s always working hard, always doing a great job. So his time will definitely come.”

    Wide receiver Philly Brown on the game-winning touchdown toss from Braxton Miller to Devin Smith against Wisconsin – “We were scrambling … and they didn’t give us a play or nothing. So we’re out there just running playground routes. I think I ran a deep out or something like that. And Braxton said he pointed at me to get the safety to run over (so he could) throw it to Devin. So on his part, that was like a veteran move.”

    Craft on the temptation for team members to produce another video showing off their singing, ahem, skills after last year’s memorable stab at “Party in the USA” – “As of right now, I don’t think so. We went that route and realized that maybe it wasn’t the best thing to do. But it was exciting, I enjoyed it, and I still like the song. You never know.”

    Fickell on whether wearing black made him feel tougher –Al Davis thought so, I think. For me, it’s just what we wear. People ask why you wear that. We wear black, just to be the signal guy. It’s not anything history-wise. Unless they have something back in the archives, I don’t know that we’ll be changing that uniform much.”

    Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio on why he put a moratorium on player interviews the week of MSU’s visit to Ohio State – “I just wanted Kirk Cousins to have fun, and all of our players. I just didn’t want them stressed about being interviewed. That’s what I decided to do. I know it wasn’t really popular but I thought that it allowed people to step away and deflate a little bit. Sometimes you have to be able to do that. You have to deflate.”

    Sullinger on Will Buford deciding to return for his senior season after the heartbreaking loss and a poor shooting night vs. Kentucky in the Sweet 16 – “He didn’t come back just to waste his time. He doesn’t want to lose. He wants to win just like everybody else. We’ll see how that goes. It’s burning. If someone says, ‘Kentucky,’ he always says, ‘Forget you, man.’ It’s motivation. Will knows everybody is going to look back on that game until he steps back on the floor and shows what he can do.”

    Fickell on former teammate Eddie George being honored at halftime of the Wisconsin game for his recent election into the College Football Hall of Fame – “Eddie George is probably to me one of the best stories that I’ve ever been around here at Ohio State, from a guy that came in, things didn’t go his way to start with. For the next three years, he was the hardest-working guy on the team. I’ve told guys that story several times.

    “People see the Heisman Trophy, figure he was a big thoroughbred guy that was a big running back from the get-go. I don’t know in my time here that there was anybody that out-worked him. That’s why he is where he is today. That’s why he’s going into the Hall of Fame. That’s why he has a Heisman Trophy. It’s not just on the ability. It’s on the person, the character, the work ethic that he had to get better.”

    Meyer on several players having legal troubles on his watch at the University of Florida – “I know there’s been some issues that we’ve had that I’ve had to deal with, not that we’re proud of. We have a set of core values. Honesty, respect. Number one, treat everyone with respect. Number two, no drugs, no stealing, no weapons. Those are core value issues.”

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