Chicago Tidbits And A Lotta Matta
August 14, 2010
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.’ ”