Tressel, Fickell, Matta And More
September 21, 2011
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.”