Christmastime Quote Treat

By Jeff Rapp, December 26th, 2013

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.”