2015 Spring Cleaning

By Jeff Rapp, May 15th, 2015

Spring football is over, basketball season long has been wrapped up and other sports SRU covers seem to be in a waiting pattern right now.

Therefore, it’s a good time to reflect back on some of what has transpired by sifting through a few quotes that never quite made it to the light of day.

We simply call this segment of the website Quote Me, and it allows an opportunity to revisit some of the topics of previous months and to take a peek at a few that got lost in the shuffle.

So pick up a dustpan and help us sweep out some quotes of interest that have been lying around for a while. They follow:

Ohio State wide receiver coach Zach Smith on signee Alex Stump, a wide receiver prospect from Cleveland – “He’s a great kid with a great skill set. He’s going to play at Ohio State. He’s going to contribute on special teams and he’s a talented wide receiver.

“He’s a tall, long, loose receiver, which is not very common. A lot of times longer guys are stiff – and he’s not stiff. He can flat run. Speed is the name of the game, and he has it. He can get in and out of cuts.

“And he does everything you want him to do. Great kid, great student. He’s what you look for.”

New OSU running backs coach Tony Alford on if he was impressed with Ezekiel Elliott’s sophomore season after trying to recruit him to Notre Dame a few years ago – “A lot. I didn’t expect that out of high school. He’s a totally different kid. He’s 185 pounds, 190 pounds in high school. But the environment that’s he’s been thrust in is an environment that is going to push you consistently and constantly.”

Elliott, Barrett and Samuel proved they could share the backfield.

Elliott, Barrett and Samuel proved they could share the backfield.

Elliott on threatening Eddie George’s single-season rushing record despite playing all of 2014 with a cast on his wrist – “I had a pretty good year. I think I finished on a good note, but it was the whole team. We were just a different team those last three games. We got better every week, and with that line blocking like that it was pretty easy to do what I did.”

Ohio State basketball coach Thad Matta on the emergence of freshman forward Jae’Sean Tate – “I thought Jae’Sean was tough and I knew he was competitive. I was probably a little taken aback by his basketball IQ, but his dad (Jermaine Tate) was a great player and (Pickerington Central coach) Jerry (Francis) did a phenomenal job of coaching him.

“His footwork and fakes around the basket and his explosiveness, you don’t see that in the recruiting process. But now you see it every day in practice. I’m elated with how he is playing. He is going to be a great player here.”

Matta liked his team going into the season.

Matta liked his team going into the season.

Matta on OSU’s lackluster Big Ten season – “I wish that we had a few more wins under our belt. I think we had a few opportunities to do that. You look at this league this year and Wisconsin has been pretty dominant. Maryland has four losses and we got them pretty good in here. It’s kind of like flip a coin.”

Redshirt freshman guard Kam Williams on hitting the free throws that clinched the Purdue game with four seconds left – “My team had confidence in me. I knew once I got the ball they were going to foul and I was going to make the free throws. There was no doubt in my mind. We do it every day and I have been put in that position before and I always come through. It was anything really different.”

OSU tight end Jeff Heuerman on the value of running back Curtis Samuel – “He can do a lot of things. He’s a very dynamic athlete, very explosive. He’s had some good kick returns. Putting the ball in his hands offensively really allows a different weapon. You have Zeke (Elliott), Dontre (Wilson) and Jalin (Marshall) and them, but Curtis is just as explosive as them and powerful. We’ve seen him do it in practice. I think these next few years you’ll see a lot of Curtis Samuel, and a lot of big plays.”

Linebacker Josh Perry when asked if his play in 2014 exceeded his expectations – “Not necessarily. I anticipated on playing at a pretty high level just because of the goals I set for myself. The amount of preparation and work that I put into it, I just wanted to be really successful. I wanted to be able to contribute to the team and I know that for me to be able to contribute the way that I wanted, I had to be able to play at a high level. We’ve got really, really good leadership and guys that have been really helpful, and I think that our coaches do a really good job of preparing us. There are a lot of things that go into it.”

Offensive tackle Darryl Baldwin on why Urban Meyer is such a successful head coach – “He just has everybody working as hard as they can. They love to say around here that the best players around here have to be the hardest workers and we have really taken that to the highest level that we can. Everyone is always in here watching film and everyone is always putting in extra work in because they want to be the best players. The only way that is going to happen is if you train the hardest.”

Wide receiver Evan Spencer on the pleasantly surprising play of quarterback J.T. Barrett – “We all knew he was a dynamic quarterback and a dynamic threat. If there was a play that surprised me, I was surprised he broke that one for (86 yards) in Minnesota. I definitely thought he was going to get caught. But I’m not going to talk about J.T.’s speed because I love the kid to death. We all had a laugh about it later on.

“But nothing about his game really surprises me. I knew that he was a warrior and that he would compete and that he really cared about this team and this university.”

Baldwin on giving his all for offensive line coach Ed Warinner – “He really is just great at what he does. He is very emotional when it comes to coaching his guys and we know he loves us and we love him. We really trust each other and we trust what he tells us to do, we have no hesitation to do it and we just don’t want to let him down and he doesn’t want to let us down. He is just a very good coach and knows what he is talking about.”

Pelini with his shoes off -- now there's an image.

Pelini with his shoes off — now there’s an image.

Nebraska receiver Kenny Bell on a memorable in-home visit with coach Bo Peilini – “He took off his shoes and unbuckled his belt and stuff. We were actually watching the Under Armour All-American Game together and we were just talking. He stayed at my house for like four hours talking to me and my dad, and I was amazed at how comfortable he was.

“That’s when I fell in love with Bo. I was like, ‘You know what? I like Bo.’ Every other coach is sitting on the laptop typing, pulling out paper after paper and saying ‘This is what we’ve got’ and all that. He didn’t pull out anything. He told me what the University of Nebraska had. He sat down and told me buddy to buddy.”

OSU defensive lineman Mike Bennett on being the bad guy – “I feel like everyone in the Big Ten hates us, and I almost think that’s an honor because it says we’re doing something right. At Ohio State you have to realize every time you go play someone we’re going to get their absolute best game. That’s why it’s really important to have maturity so that we don’t overlook a team, because they’re going to come with everything they’ve got.”

Offensive lineman Pat Elflein on Barrett’s ability to stir up his teammates before games – “Incredible. You don’t hear anything like that from anybody else, you can tell that it’s coming form deep within and he really means it.”

Matta, heading into the 2014-15 season, on his intentions to play with two bigs the majority of the time – “Yeah, we’re still playing with that. I think that’s one way we can go. We can go with some skilled 4s. I’ve got four or five guys that can play that position, which is what I like about this team.

“I think with the addition of Anthony (Lee) and David Bell and even Trevor Thompson, who – Trevor can’t play this year – the competitive nature in practice has been probably something we haven’t had in a while, and Anthony definitely factors into that in terms of what he’s bringing to the table. Those guys now know if they don’t come to play, they’ll get embarrassed in practice.”

Spencer on emerging from the shadow of his famous father, Tim Spencer who was an all-time great running back at Ohio State – “He was a great running back here and I came here to try to make a name for myself. Yeah, I am Tim Spencer’s son, but at the end of the day I’ve got to go out there and perform. That was probably the only pressure that I had, and that’s kind of how I treated it from when I got here to now. When I’m out there I try to be the most competitive person on the field – whether I came from Los Angeles, California, and my dad was a lawyer or whatever.”

Ohio State Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Smith on the fellow inductee he most admires –Antoine Winfield, with every bit of emotion that he played the game, showed you how to play defense and I tried to emulate the same things on offense. He was a tremendous player, a fearless tackler, a defender that couldn’t be beat, and I decided to do some of those things on the offensive side. It was great to be inducted with him.”

Safety Vonn Bell on up-and-comer Erick Smith – “He’s got a little glimpse of me. He ain’t like me yet. He’s getting there, though.”

Wannstedt is a Braxton guy.

Wannstedt is a Braxton guy.

Former coach and college football television analyst Dave Wannstedt on which quarterback he’d prefer to have going into the 2014 season, OSU’s Braxton Miller or reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston – “I don’t know. They’re both winners. I would have liked to have had either one of them anytime at Pitt, that’s for sure. Winston has made a lot of big throws but neither one of them lose games. They’re winners. That’s a tough call.

“I would probably say Winston because they’re offense is a little similar to what I’ve done. But I’m picking Ohio State in the final four as well as Florida State and I like Braxton Miller. What, 28-0 as a starter if he doesn’t get hurt? He’ll be in the hunt for the Heisman. There’s no question.”