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  • Christmastime Quote Treat

    We’ve covered a lot of ground with Quote Me over the years mostly because, well, there are a lot of quotes out there in the sportsworld.

    SportsRappUp.com, of course, tries to bring to light the more compelling ones, especially if they relate to Ohio State football or basketball, but, alas, there isn’t always enough of a forum to relay them.

    But then we thought about it a little more and realized this is cyberspace, dammit, and there is always room for more.

    Therefore, we created this section of the website to give life to the quotes that (almost) got away.

    As the end of the 2013 calendar nears, it’s now time to revisit some of the better quotes from the beginning of basketball season and the stretch run for the football Buckeyes that did not make it into SRU articles.

    Here goes:

    Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller on the first conversation he had with OSU coach Thad Matta, his good friend, after their teams faced each other in the Sweet 16 – “Honestly, it was kind of business as usual. I was curious to get his feedback on some of our young players on our team moving forward for us. And obviously I was hoping he’d get to the Final Four.”

    Miller on what he foresaw for the 2013-14 Buckeyes – “I think (LaQuinton) Ross is going to be a star transitioning from the role he had a year ago and how he played so well at the end. Aaron Craft, he makes them go on offense and defense. But I think their perimeter, when you consider their talent and how experienced those guys are, is really going to be the strength of their team.”

    Miller on OSU forward Sam Thompson – “He thrives so much in transition and you’ve got to worry about him driving the ball. To me, he’s going to do nothing but get better.”

    Offensive tackle Jack Mewhort, a Toledo native, on growing up in the center of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry – “I think all my friends if they were fans of that school, they’re more fans of me now. They switched their allegiances. I don’t think anyone I’m really that close with are fans of That School Up North. If I find out, we’re going to have a problem.”

    Freshman running back Dontre Wilson on getting ready to face Michigan for the first time – “I don’t know that much about it, but I’m sure I’m going to find out pretty soon.”

    Defensive end Michael Bennett after the Buckeyes beat Indiana and stretched the program-record winning streak to 24 games – “I feel like when we’re on all cylinders, we’re a hard team to beat. Coach (Urban) Meyer always stresses, ‘A man with a vision is hard to beat; a group of men with a vision is impossible to beat.’ I felt like we had a vision today, and maybe that purpose was to send the seniors out right. But I feel like when we focus as a team, good luck beating us.”

    Matta, after the team’s exhibition with Walsh, on the importance of naming his starting lineup – “I wish they didn’t turn the lights out and have dry ice and fireworks and all that stuff because it’s not that big of a deal to me who starts the game.”

    Meyer on his emotions moments after OSU’s 42-41 survival at Michigan – “Whatever is inside of you it feels like it just shoots out of you. I just have great respect for this rivalry and it’s just instantaneous. I thought about back in ’86 and ’87 when Coach (Earle) Bruce was here and coached his final game. I had flashbacks of the great games that I’ve witnessed.”

    Meyer on his defense barely holding up in The Game – “We were blown out on defense. We’re playing guys too many plays. I wanted to call a timeout and give them a breath so they could strain to make a play.”

    Meyer on his belief in senior running back Carlos Hyde – “I know at Boston College my friend, Steve Adazzio, has a great back as well, but it we had a draft I’ve got mine.”

    Center Corey Linsley on going out with Mewhort – “I’ll remember that Jack was an extremely tough individual. He’s a caring individual, he really cared about the progress of the program, the progress of individuals, besides himself, and that he was a great friend throughout my four years here. Playing with Jack Mewhort has been an honor from my standpoint. I’ll always remember him as a great guy.”

    Basketball center Amir Williams on watching walk-on Jake Lorbach put together a six-point “explosion” – “He works on those moves in practice all the time so it doesn’t surprise me he made those shots. He looked good man, I’m going to take my lessons from him for now on.”

    Matta on Lorbach – “That is exciting for him, and it’s exciting for the guys because they know how hard he is. It’s good to see it pay off.”

    Meyer on the 34-24 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game, which ruined OSU’s undefeated season – “It’s going to haunt all of us, I imagine, for a little while. If you’re asking me to measure the levels of hurt, I’m not sure I can do that.”

    Linsley on the same subject – “Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Everybody was selling out and (we) still didn’t get it. What could have been will always bug us.”

    OSU basketball assistant Dave Dickerson on the Buckeyes facing his alma mater, Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge – “I enjoyed my four or five years there as a student-athlete in the mid-’80s and late-’80s – boy, it’s been a long time – and my nine years there as an assistant coach are probably the best nine years of my life. And obviously winning a national championship and going to back-to-back Final Fours was a big deal for me and my family.

    “But my ties are to Ohio State now. I have emotional ties to Lenzelle Smith and Aaron Craft and Sam Thompson and those guys. This is my first time ever coaching against Maryland, but as far as the emotional part of it, it lies with Ohio State.”

    Former OSU assistant and current ESPN analyst Paul Biancardi on the development of Ross – “That is a credit to the coaching. LaQuinton Ross didn’t know the game, he didn’t play hard. He was just one of those talented kids that you take a chance on, and I think Thad knew that, and his staff. But they worked with him, obviously, and they got him through that first year, which was a crucial year. And obviously the kid invested time in himself.”

    Matta on Chris Jent’s contributions to the staff before returning to the NBA as a coach – “He was phenomenal; he was awesome. He made all of us better. When Chris and I sat down and talked about it, I said, ‘Hey, do what you need to do because you’ve made the program better,’ and that’s all that I’ve ever asked of guys that have been on the staff and moved on, that they’ve left it a little bit better than they found it.”

    Matta on replacement Greg Paulus and the former Dukie’s rapport with Craft – “Number one, I think they’ve got a great relationship just from the standpoint of both were a point guard, both were a quarterback. What can Greg do for Aaron that the others can’t, I don’t know. Hopefully he can get him to shoot 47 percent from the three-point line for starters. That would be good.”

    Linsley on trying to block linebacker Ryan Shazier in practice – We try to keep the contact between the ones sort of at a minimum, but it’s a heck of a time blocking that guy. He’s pretty fast. He’s really good with his hands. It’s obvious why he’s as highly rated as a player that he is. He’s going to be successful. He has all the tools in the world.”

    OSU football assistant (and soon-to-be James Madison head coach) Everett Withers on the notion that there should be no limit to contact with recruits – “Some of those things are really to me not very smart – to be able to allow schools all those mailouts and to do all those things, text messaging and all that stuff. Kids lives are already being intruded upon so much. They wouldn’t have a life at all if some of that stuff was going on, the schools that would do that – mail thousands of letters and send hundreds of text messages a day.

    “So I think it was smart those rules did not go through. It’s good for coaching, it’s good for recruiting, it’s good for the college game.”

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  • Another Thrilling Hoops Season

    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 basketball team made another deep postseason run this spring that included a Big Ten Tournament championship – the program’s third straight conference tourney net-cutter – and ended in Los Angeles a win short of the Final Four.

    Once again, Thad Matta took the Buckeyes to the end of March and basketball Buckeyes fans experienced a thrilling campaign – and some heartache at the very end.

    The action was so fast and furious we’ve let the dust settle and compiled some of the best quotes that were left behind as Ohio State made its journey through a palpitating 29-8 season that included contests with eight top-10 teams.

    The Buckeyes suffered preconference losses in high-profile contests with Duke and Kansas and endured embarrassing 20-plus-point defeats at Illinois and Wisconsin, but they also rose up to knock off rivals Michigan in Columbus and Indiana in Bloomington when each was ranked No. 2 in the country.

    Despite coming up just a hair short of a piece of yet another Big Ten title – which wasn’t decided until a Michigan layup attempt vs. IU rolled off the rim in the final seconds of the regular-season finale – OSU made its mark in Chicago with wins over Nebraska, Michigan State and Wisconsin and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

    That set up crowd-pleasing results in Dayton with wins over Iona and Iowa State and another nail-biter against Arizona in L.A. LaQuinton Ross’ game-winning three in overtime marked OSU’s 11th straight victory, but the balloon finally burst two days later in an Elite Eight loss to Wichita State.

    It was another memorable and exciting campaign, certainly worthy of its own Quote Me recognition.

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

    Matta discussing Ross’ development heading into the 2012-13 season – “It’s getting him to understand what he has to do within his capabilities to help us win games. I think he’s had a great spring, he’s had a good summer in the weight room and that sort of thing. It’s going to be a little bit new to him but by the same token going through the same practices and having been in the arena hopefully he’ll be ready to go.”

    Former Buckeye great and current CBS analyst Clark Kellogg on his preseason assessment of OSU – “They will surprise on the high side. That’s my initial feeling, that they will not be expected to be as good as they’re going to be. I think Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft are going to come back determined to prove that Sully (Jared Sullinger) and Will (Buford) are gone but we’re still here and we’ve got stuff to prove ourselves.”

    Matta on the Nov. 28 mathup with Duke – “I hope in 25 years that our program is still at the level that it is, because that’s exactly what Duke has done. They’ve stood the test of time. There’s been a lot of great players rolling through there. We’ve had a lot of great players. Not as many because we haven’t been here that long. They recruit at the highest level; we attempt to recruit at the highest level.”

    Matta on how difficult it would be to stay at OSU as long and be as beloved as Mike Krzyzewski is at Duke – “(Lou Holtz) told me, ‘Don’t ever stay for more than seven years at a place because the longer you stay the more you fall in love with it but the more they fall out of love with you.’ It’s funny because my seventh year we were 34-3 and we won by 12 and people were like, ‘only 12?’ ”

    Matta on going to Cameron Indoor Stadium and a similar ACC/Big Ten Challenge road game at North Carolina in 2006 – “It had to be 120 degrees on the court because at halftime my pants were stuck to my leg.”

    Matta on Kansas’ Dec. 22 visit and his developing rivalry with KU head coach Bill Self – “Obviously he’s proven with the success he’s had. He is in an elite crowd in terms of coaches and his assistants have gone on as head coaches. I’ve got the utmost respect for him and the job that he’s done over the course of time.”

    Craft on the surprising effectiveness of sophomore center Amir Williams vs. Kansas – “It’s in him (to play like this every game). He is growing and just needs more experience. He needs to continue to be consistent in these big game situations. He can come in and make an impact immediately.”

    Kansas guard Ben McLemore on Shannon Scott igniting OSU off the bench – “He surprised me with his speed. He can get up the floor fast. Thankfully, we slowed them down in the second half in transition defense.”

    Self on the Jayhawks’ 74-66 win, Kansas’ third over OSU in the course of a year – “The first time we played last year, Sullinger didn’t play. The second time we played, they controlled the game and we made some plays late in the game. Today’s probably the best we’ve played against Ohio State in three games.”

    Matta on the same subject – “The first game we played them was hard just because we weren’t at full strength. To be honest this game was a lot like the second half of the Final Four game in New Orleans where the ball just wouldn’t go in the basket for us. The leadership they have … I haven’t had four seniors in about eight years. And Ben McLemore is as good as any player in the country.”

    Ross on his off-court personality – “I’m a real laid-back guy. I’m not too much into parties. I’m a real gentle guy, laid-back and goofy. I’m the one sitting back and cracking jokes.”

    Ross on Scott – “He’s like a little pest. He’s like the brother that you didn’t want.”

    Matta on if he planned to go out and celebrate the pay raise the university granted him in January – “Not with these new tax laws.”

    Matta on the school recognizing his efforts since becoming OSU head coach in the summer of 2004 – “One of the things I’m most proud of is what we built here. We were at Ground Zero nine years ago in terms of the uncertainty of the future of our program, and we’ve been very, very fortunate with the teams that we’ve had and the job that the coaches have done.

    “For me personally, I’m a lot more proud of that than I am with a contract. I feel as blessed as I can be to be at Ohio State. I love this university and I’m extremely grateful in terms of what they’ve allowed me to do and how they’ve taken care of me throughout the time I’ve been here.”

    Gangly freshman guard Amedeo Della Valle on being a fan favorite – “I like it a lot. I really see myself being like a regular student and most of the students maybe see themselves as me, because maybe I don’t look like a basketball player. They can tell I’m working really hard to try to be successful.”

    Matta on Sullinger’s rookie season with the Boston Celtics being cut short because of back surgery – “I haven’t talked to Jared. We’ve texted back and forth, and the first thing I texted when he got out of surgery was, ‘Please tell me you can move both your feet.’ You hate to see it, but in talking his agent, David Falk, he broke it down for me, why they did what they did, and I think long-term it was definitely the right thing to do.”

    Craft on his rematch at Michigan with fellow Ohioan and UM point guard Trey Burke – “He comes from a great family and they definitely keep him grounded. That’s what it takes. I’ve seen him be very successful at just about every level. It’s great to see another guy we kind of grew up with having some great success.”

    Scott on another Ohio-based point guard, Wisconsin’s Traevon Jackson (son of former Buckeye great Jim Jackson) – “I played him like a couple times in AAU, not too much. With the game against Minnesota where he got the last shot, he probably has great confidence and he’s playing great basketball right now. I think guarding him is going to be a great challenge for me, but I believe that I’ll be ready for it.”

    Sophomore and Chicago-area native Sam Thompson on going back to familiar environs before the team’s trip to Northwestern – “It’s weird. We fly into the airport and drive through downtown Chicago, going past things I’ve seen for the last 20 years. I can’t go home and I can’t do the things I normally do in the city. So it’s kind of a weird feeling. But it’s definitely fun to go home and play in front of my family and my friends.”

    Matta on the team getting hot after an eye-opening 71-49 loss at Wisconsin on Feb. 17 – “There’s going to be ups and downs. I remember two years ago we got to 24-0 at one point and in there after the game we’d be all upset at how we played, and (assistant coach) Dave Dickerson, who just left Tulane, would be like, ‘Hey, fellas, I only won nine last year. I’m having the time of my life. This is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.’ ”

    Craft on losing his title as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, which went to Indiana forward Victor Oladipo – “Victor did a great job of coming out and having a great year. I don’t think it’s a knock on me. I think it just attests to what he was able to do, and he did a lot. He’s that guy out there you’re always worrying about on the defensive end and you’ve got to give him a lot of credit.”

    Thomas on Craft being listed as a candidate on ESPN.com’s Most Hated Pool – “I voted for him.”

    Craft on the same subject – “I would love to win that one, too. I do know that I have a higher seed in that tournament than (OSU video coordinator) Greg Paulus. I just like to make sure to let him know I continue to beat him at various things. But I’ve got a tough matchup with Joakim Noah. That’s a tough one, but we’ll try to pull the upset.”

    Craft on the comparison to Paulus, a former Duke point guard – “It is what it is. I know I wasn’t the fondest of Gregory when he played and I’m assuming it’s probably similar to what’s going on right now with me. Greg’s one of the nicest guys I know. I didn’t know him (then), I just chose not to like him very much.”

    Matta, at the Big Ten Tournament, on the notion that a league team needs to win a national championship soon to confirm its reputation as an elite basketball conference – “Yeah, it’d be nice. That team we had in ’07 was as good a basketball team as I’ve ever seen but wouldn’t you know we’re playing the defending national champs with five starters back. There’s a lot of things that happen and a lot of it is matchups and who gets rolling. I think there are some teams in this league who have a legitimate shot to win it this year.”

    Matta on hearing the news that 13-year Northwestern coach Bill Carmody had been let go by the school – “I think Bill Carmody maybe has the best offensive mind of any coach I’ve ever seen in my life, and I think he could be the most unlucky with the injuries just in the time I’ve been here with nine years in the league. It’s amazing to see the things that have happened to his team.

    “We’re No. 1 in the country a couple years ago and John Shurna runs into a basket support and has a concussion and can’t play against us – and we go down to the wire. Who could win and keep coaching those guys and stay competitive with what he lost this year?

    “He’s one of the greatest human beings and he coaches as well as anybody.”

    Matta on his preference for OSU’s soon-to-be-announced NCAA Tournament bracket – “Dayton hasn’t been real kind to us so I don’t want to go there. We haven’t fared too well there – 1 and 2.”

    Matta on going to the postseason – “Ohio State, the thing I’ve learned – and I like it about it – people either love Ohio State or they hate Ohio State. There’s no gray area.”

    OSU assistant Jeff Boals on the “one-way conversation” between the coaches and players after the loss at Wisconsin – “You look at the tape and you could see it wasn’t normal Buckeye basketball. Our guys understood that. Thad did a great job of making them understand that the next two days in practice. We watched a lot of tape, did a lot of talking, and they corrected it.

    “They always say the tape doesn’t lie, and these kids have personal pride and team pride. When you let your teammates down, that’s when you feel the worst.

    “He made it clear that’s not acceptable. We told them they embarrassed the university, embarrassed the team and embarrassed themselves. That’s not what he stands for, and wasn’t going to let it happen.”

    Lenzelle Smith on Ohio State shooting a high percentage and getting to empty the bench in the NCAA tourney blowout of Iona – “It does a lot. A lot of guys got to see the ball go in, which is very good. They can relax a little bit and the pressure is not really on their shoulders anymore.”

    Senior Evan Ravenel on the Gaels coming into the game with no apparent fear of the Buckeyes – “When someone’s talking trash to you or saying stuff through the media, you kind of want to take your game up to another level. It does add fuel to the fire.”

    Boals after the Buckeyes nipped Iowa State to return to the Sweet 16 – “We’re playing with a lot of confidence, and our three guys off the bench – Ravenel, LaQuinton Ross and Shannon – are all giving us something different. It’s different from game to game, it’s different things at the defensive end and different things at the offensive end. When those guys started playing that’s when we kind of lifted off.”

    Arizona coach Sean Miller on preparing to face OSU and his good friend Matta – “It’s not like they’re a bad team on offense. I think they’re really good. They’re not as talented, maybe, as some of the most recent Ohio State teams, but they make up for it with really unselfishness and togetherness. They have a guy that gets 20 every night, Deshaun Thomas, who from a scoring perspective, is as good as it gets.

    “They play together on both ends of the floor. Aaron Craft is exceptional at what he does. Deshaun Thomas is equally exceptional at what he does, and they have a lot of other good players that play Ohio State basketball.”

    Thompson, after the loss to Wichita State, on the exit of Ravenel – “It’s been a great honor to play with Evan these last two years. I wish him the best of luck wherever life may take him. My hat is off to him for a great Ohio State career. He did a lot of good, he’s a great teammate and I love him to death.”


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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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  • Matta, Meyer Make Memories

    If you’re familiar with this section of the site, you know we compile the best leftover quotes that didn’t make it into the many SportsRappUp.com articles over the past few months. Think of it as little tidbits of interest all cooked together like a fruitcake grandma sent you – only you want to digest it.

    And since we last checked in, much of note has occurred, especially in terms of Ohio State football and basketball.

    Urban Meyer has put his stamp on the football program even with his actual OSU head coaching debut still months away. And he proved during the recruiting season and spring drills that he’s not afraid to speak his mind.

    Meanwhile, Thad Matta took us on another wild ride in March as the men’s basketball squad managed to earn a share of yet another conference crown, advanced to the finals of the Big Ten Tournament and then set off on an unlikely journey to New Orleans for the Final Four.

    And the women’s team endured another abrupt postseason but still made news with point guard Sammy Prahalis breaking records, earning notice as the Big Ten Player of the Year and selected with the sixth overall pick of the WNBA draft.

    SRU followed those stories and many others but still wasn’t able to use every comment of interest. So we present those to you now. Enjoy.

    Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith on the proposal of expanding the NCAA Tournament field from 65 teams to 96 – “I think it would be a great idea. When I first got in the business in 1978, ’79, there might have been 100 Division I teams. Now there’s 347. Just like football. When they increased, they increased the number of bowl games. So why not increase the opportunities for these student-athletes to participate and enjoy and be a part of March Madness? I think it’s long overdue, to be honest with you.”

    Meyer on his relationship with sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller – “It’s awesome. He’s a really good kid, really a sponge, a guy that wants to do well. He’s a really, really athletic guy. It’s been nothing but positive, what he’s been doing.”

    Meyer on going to work for Earle Bruce as a wide receivers coach at Colorado State in the early 1990s – “That was my first exposure to big-time college football where we were not able to go home on weekends when we were out recruiting. So there were times I’d stay out for a month and a half at a time and my two girls were real young. Sure enough, I remember one time waking up after being out for a month and a half and I get up to take a shower and one of our kids had jumped into bed with us in the middle of the night, and she said, ‘Mommy, is that Daddy?’ That’s damn right that’s Daddy.”

    OSU defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs on the staff recruiting philosophy – “We’re recruiting the United States, and we’re going to recruit the United States incredibly hard – harder than anybody in the country. It’s the head coach’s passion, and we are going to be an aggressive recruiting staff.”

    Center Corey Linsley on a former lineman and staff member working closely with him – “Coach (Jim) Bollman always used to say Kirk Barton was the hardest working lineman he ever had. Kirk brings great intensity to the O-line. We all know him from playing here and we all have a great relationship with him. He brings a ton of tools and familiarity to all of us and really has the ability to get through to us. He knows our weaknesses a little bit better than Coach (Ed) Warinner does because he’s been here for a few years, and I think that brings a lot to the O-line.”

    Matta on the basketball savvy of the Kansas fans at Allen Fieldhouse after the Buckeyes played there on Dec. 10 – “When they deflected a pass and the ball went to half court, we still got it but their fans cheered because it disrupted our offensive flow. You don’t get that very often. Nothing really happened. Deshaun (Thomas) just bobbled the pass and had to run to half court to get it, and people were going crazy. I was like, “I thought I was the only one who did that.’ ”

    Defensive line coach Mike Vrabel on why he’s had early success in recruiting – “I think it’s just being honest. It’s easy to sell Ohio State. It’s not a hard sell job with our players and the people who are here. And it’s easy for me because I experienced it. It’s not like I’m trying to sell ketchup popsicles to a woman in white gloves. It’s pretty easy. This place is special and the guys we have around continue to try to make it important to be at Ohio State. It’s what makes this thing easy to sell.”

    Vrabel on if practices are harder than when he was a player – “When I was out here, that’s 15 years ago, so I really don’t remember. I remember I was hurt one spring so I didn’t practice. They’re intense, and I think the harder it is, the harder it is to walk away from. I think we’ve got guys that don’t want to walk away right now.”

    Jared Sullinger on comparing OSU’s loss to Kansas in the Final Four to last year’s loss to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 – “It’s still tough, but we got farther. We got to a point where we were one of the last four teams standing. Only the best basketball teams at the time play here, and we just took a loss. It hurts.

    “If you talked about this team a month ago, everybody would have doubted us, said we couldn’t do this, we couldn’t do that. We overcame all that and I couldn’t be prouder of a basketball team than these guys around me.”

    Sullinger on the Buckeyes staying together through adversity during the 2011-12 season – “Even the guys that didn’t play, they had a contribution to us getting here. They were coming into practice every day and competing at the highest level regardless of playing time. Sometimes that can mess with some people’s heads and they can just cruise through practice, but these guys came in every day, played as hard as they can, everybody gave one another a challenge, and we got this far. So I’m very proud of this basketball team.”

    Former center Mike Brewster on returning to his home state of Florida for the Gator Bowl – “I’m very excited. I’m used to going to BCS bowls, but if we couldn’t do that this is definitely a team I want to play. All my friends are Florida fans and I’m from down there. It’s going to be a good time.

    “There’s a lot of anticipation because you’re focusing so much on one opponent and you’re watching so much film on them. By the time you line up against them you feel like you know them. It is different, and it’s usually a team that you never have played before. Bowl games are always fun.”

    Brewster on the players receiving iPod glasses as a bowl gift in the past – “That was a bust. That was no good. It was a good concept, though.”

    John Craft, father of point guard Aaron Craft, on when he saw the Buckeyes coagulate – “The turning point … I don’t know specifically but that second half at Michigan State is what sports is all about. Those guys were down 15 in the first half and everything fell into place. And everyone contributed. Jared was making good decisions. Rav (Evan Ravenel) came in and did well. It was just a perfect storm. That second half at Michigan State, I think, is where it really took hold.”

    Matta on his future becoming clear – “The day I played in college against the Indiana Pacers. When I was at Butler they used to come out and train with us and Reggie Miller, it was his rookie year, and I remember walking back to my dorm and looking back in the mirror and saying, ‘That’s not going to be your career choice. You need to go into coaching.’ So I was well ahead of my time on that.”

    Tailback Boom Herron on being named by his teammates as OSU’s MVP even after missing the first five games of the season because of suspension – “I was a little surprised. I actually didn’t vote for myself. I voted for Zach Boren. That’s my fullback. He kind of makes things happen for me. He just did a great job the whole year.”

    Left tackle Mike Adams on being recruited by Meyer and the University of Florida before opting for Ohio State – “Definitely as a recruiter he was always very confident and very proud of his university, but he always shared that he had those Midwest roots, which I thought was kind of cool. I think he’s a great coach, a great recruiter, and his resume speaks for itself. When you’ve got a guy coming in like that, a high-caliber coach, I think everybody is just excited to play for him.”

    Kansas coach Bill Self, prior to the Final Four, on the threat posed by guard William Buford – “People can say (he’s) erratic. Sometimes that happens when you have guys that score the majority of their points outside the paint. But to me, over the course of his career, he’s been a model of consistency as far as how he scores the ball and performs for Ohio State. He’s the fourth-leading scorer in the history of the school, which is remarkable, because they’ve had some hard-rockin’ guys come through there.”

    Meyer on both sports being elite at Ohio State – “There’s probably only a handful of schools in the country that have the resources and tradition. This is certainly one of them. Florida is one of them. Can you imagine being a student and the magic you could be part of? I joked around down there: Imagine being a student in 2006, four teams you could run out on the street and act like a nut. That’s what they do down there, just go out and run around on the street. And I imagine High Street would do the same thing.”

    J.D. Weatherspoon after the Buckeyes wronged their critics by beating top-seeded Syracuse to reach the Final Four – “It’s like we always say, the haters will be our biggest motivators, and that’s how we took it. We let everything just land and we play as a team.”

    Thomas on the same topic – “When people doubt you, you feel sad. But we came together and we were like, ‘Let’s shut everybody up.’ ”

    Lenzelle Smith on the Buckeyes blowing a big lead against Cincinnati in the Sweet 16 – “We got complacent. We got cool. The whole thing with Cincinnati is they’re big, tough guys who turn you over, and I think guys were thinking about that before the game. And at halftime we came back in here and started to think like, ‘Is this Cincinnati? What happened to the guys who make you turn the ball over 20 times?’ And we started to get cool and they came out to ball.”

    Freshman Trey McDonald on recording the first field goal of his college career in the Big Ten Tournament – “It felt good to get it out of the way, and it felt good to get into the offense and just get out there and get a feel for the game. To do it against Michigan was a bonus.”

    Sullinger on ruining Michigan State’s Senior Day – “Honestly, I’m kind of sad about it, because Draymond Green, he deserves everything he gets. I know it’s hard to celebrate that. It’s kind of tough.”

    Tayler Hill on the postseason outlook for the OSU women – “I think we’re tired of just going to the Sweet 16. Winning the Big Ten is great. It’s a great conference. Winning the Big Ten Tournament is great. You’re playing teams three times and it’s hard to overcome that and keep beating them. I think it’s a great accomplishment but we want to look further than that. We want to be on the rise.”

    Michigan coach Brady Hoke on Meyer being his new foe – “We don’t recruit negatively, I’m not going to mention 30 felonies in five years that happened in his previous program.”

    UM basketball coach John Beilein on Trey Burke calling a timeout vs. Ohio State while he was standing on the free-throw line – “I’ve never had that before. He wanted a timeout when he was shooting a foul shot. I didn’t ice him; he needed to get iced. He came over and he just needed to catch his wind. Because when you’ve got that ball in front and you’re being guarded by a kid like Aaron Craft, he can wear you out and get that heart rate up pretty good.”

    Luke Fickell to the media after he was relieved of his duty as head football coach – “I really do appreciate the way you guys have treated me all season. I know you have a job to do, but I really do. I don’t turn on the TV, I don’t listen, so if you said something bad, hey, that’s one thing. If you said something good, I don’t know that either, but I really do appreciate every week how you guys have treated me and the way you’ve handled things.”


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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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  • 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 SportsRappUp.com 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.

    SportsRappUp.com 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 SportsRappUp.com.

    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 SportsRappUp.com 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 SportsRappUp.com 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 SportsRappUp.com 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.

    SportsRappUp.com 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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