Wrapping Up 2015 Football In Quotes
As much as there is to cover in the fall and winter – following Ohio State football and basketball alone is a monstrous undertaking – it stands to reason that some noteworthy comments still fall through the cracks.
However, that is exactly why SRU has created Quote Me, so we can clean up the interesting sentences that almost got away and look back on recent months through the prism of the interview.
As the Ohio State football season progressed, it was clear the Buckeyes had the goods to win it all again but were fighting offensive hiccups and the pressure that comes with astronomical expectations maybe more than anything else. Meanwhile, Thad Matta and the Ohio State basketball team was most definitely under the radar and dealing with roster turnover, uncertainty and youth.
A football heavy version of Quote Me, with a little bit of hoops sprinkled in, follows:
All-American tackle Taylor Decker, heading into the Fiesta Bowl, on blocking for Ezekiel Elliott throughout his illustrious career – “One thing I really love about him is just how he blocks, the way he plays without the ball in his hands. Even without him carrying the football, he is a playmaker. He makes a lot of plays for us and does a lot of great things for us. My favorite thing to be coupled with that is how he handles himself. He’s not a huge ego guy; he doesn’t have a big ego. Yesterday, he was taking passes with some of the lineman when the 2s were running.
“He just appreciates the guys around him (and) he loves football. (He’s) definitely one of the best players I’ve ever played with.”
Cornerback Eli Apple on the public paying way more attention to what’s going on with the Ohio State offense – “It’s not really frustrating. We know the offense is always going to get a lot of credit and garner a lot of attention, so we just like to stay behind the scenes, do what we do, and go out there and play hard. It doesn’t bother us.”
Linebacker Raekwon McMillan on head coach Urban Meyer hiring Greg Schiano to replace Chris Ash on the defensive staff – “From what I’ve heard, he’s just like coach Ash. He’s real demanding in what he says, real fiery and gets into players. He’s really passionate about the stuff that he does on the field and off the field.
“That’s what I got from him, just the passion he has got. When I talked to him for the little time I did, he seemed to be a real cool guy.”
McMillan on his initial reaction of the hiring – “I had to Google him. I knew who he was, but I Googled him to see his track record. Tampa Bay, Rutgers. I heard he was pretty cool to coach Meyer, and coach Meyer said he’s a good coach, so I guess he is. He’s seen some of the best teams in the NFL, so he knows what he’s talking about.”
Senior center Jacoby Boren, prior to playing Michigan, on closing the Boren family’s legacy as participants in The Game – “Hopefully, I am not the last. Hopefully, we will have the next generation coming through. It is humbling to just see like my dad, Justin and Zach play in this game and it is humbling for me to kind of be in the same footsteps and know that we’ve had a great opportunity.
“Not many people get to play in this game and to know that we have had four people in my family is humbling. It is a great experience and it is the best rivalry game around so I am just thankful to be a part of it.
“I think a lot of people that have just played in the game have a great understanding of it but I think I might have a little different perspective. Growing up I was a fan of up there. My dad knew Coach (Bo) Schembechler well and was around him, so I guess I have a great appreciation for that aspect of it. But pretty much anyone that plays in this rivalry knows what it is about and they know it is a tough, hard-hitting game, and that is what it is.”
McMillan on Elliott spewing his frustrations and questioning the coaching staff after the loss to Michigan State – “I think everybody’s overreacting. I think he’s a player that spoke his mind after the game. Over the past three years, Zeke has done nothing but good for this program. For everybody to change their mindset based off a couple of comments would be crazy. He’s one of the hardest-working running backs in the nation. I just felt like he spoke his mind. Like Coach Meyer said, it should have been done personally, but he spoke his mind and it is what it is.”
Team co-captain and linebacker Joshua Perry on the same topic – “It’s a highly emotional situation. Definitely not something that you need to say in front of everybody and especially the way that he said it, but at the same time you have to understand where he’s coming from and the amount of work he puts in and how invested he is in this program.
“It was probably blown up a little bit more on the outside than anybody here really took it, so definitely over it now.”
Matta on freshman point guard JaQuan Lyle gaining aggression during OSU’s game with Memphis – “He has to learn to ‘quote-unquote’ take over a game … He’s got to do it within what we’re trying to do. He had the one read where he went in and shot a left-handed layup late in the game. That was taking the game over within what we were trying to do. That was taking what the defense was giving us. We have to continue to get him thinking and understanding what needs to be done.”
Perry, prior to the Michigan game, on what it’s like to come out of the locker room and through the tunnel to enter the playing field at Michigan Stadium – “Last time we were up there it was kind of nuts. We were both in the tunnel at the same time and you can’t even basically hear yourself thinking in there. Guys are just basically yelling and doing the whole deal. But it’s a high-energy point and it’s one of those points where you’ve just got to really stay within yourself and get back and make sure that you can keep your emotions contained until you get out on the field.”
Co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner on J.T. Barrett being cited for OVI over the Halloween weekend – “He’s a 20-year-old. 20-year-olds make mistakes. 20-year olds aren’t perfect.
“He did something that hurt himself and hurt our football team, but everybody gets a second chance in life, and so we’ll move forward. How do I view him? He has a lot of banked credibility on what he’s done prior to that. Now he has to repair that credibility with the players and coaches, which he’s in the process of doing that.
“He’s a human being and he made a mistake, a grave mistake that he regrets and we all regret and put us in a tough situation, and we have to move forward from that.”
Barrett on the constant comparisons at quarterback labeling him as a game manager and his friend Cardale Jones as the one who can throw the ball downfield – “Last year when I was playing, how many deep balls did I throw to Devin (Smith)? All the deep balls that we had last year were to Devin, and I threw them. But I guess since I’m not 6-5 and 250 I didn’t have a strong arm or something. So nothing changed last year when Cardale was in and it was the same thing this year. We didn’t put in new plays so Cardale could throw the ball down the field.
“I’ve been wanting to say that to you for a long time, to be honest with you, because I don’t know what that was about. In the offseason in was in my head all the time lifting weights because I felt like I couldn’t throw the ball deep because you all were talking bad about me.”
Perry, who had worn outfits such as Spy Kids, Michael Jackson and Raggedy Andy in past years, on what he intended to wear for Beggar’s Night – “I was thinking Napoleon Dynamite. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do. As long as I’m not wearing a ski mask hopefully I won’t get too many crazy looks.”
Former Ohio State point guard, after playing in an NBA exhibition game at The Schott, on Matta comparing D’Angelo Russell to him – “I knew exactly what he meant. Not necessarily what he does on the court talent-wise. It’s just the feel for the game that he possesses is unbelievable – knowing the time clock, knowing where guys are on the floor, the passes he can make and create space. Those are things not a lot of freshmen are doing, or could do.”
Former Ohio State baseball standout Dan Seimetz on finding out he had been elected to the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame – “I never thought about this as something that might happen. It’s just not something that you contemplate. So I was pretty shocked when I got the call. I was on vacation in Cancun, so I didn’t have good phone service and the wifi in the hotel was terrible. Around 11 o’clock or midnight, the wifi kicked in and all of a sudden my phone just blew up. I had like 200 text messages. It’s pretty humbling.”