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Coach Luke Fickell, linebackers
On James Laurinaitis choosing to stay at Ohio State
“The thing about James is it really is not all about him. The most important thing Coach Tressel preaches to the team is that it is not all about one player. That is the thing about a lot of the great players who have come through here; it is about their team and people remember the last thing you did when you were here.”

On whether he was surprised James Laurinaitis chose to come back
“No, not really because of the love he has for this place, the team he’s a part of and the atmosphere. The most important thing is everything he has here and how much he enjoys it. That means more to a lot of these guys than money in their pocket.”

On whether or not he would have been surprised had James chose to leave
“No. He has the ability and the maturity. That is the big difference between James and a lot of guys that choose to go into the NFL. It is a question of whether they can handle the life.”
 
On having a large number of linebackers
“You like to think that you have a lot of players able to get out there. Last year we had (Austin) Spitler and (Marcus) Freeman was rolling in with (Ross) Homan. There are a lot of guys but you hope you can get them all out on the field and involved.”  

James Laurinaitis, senior middle linebacker
On the 2008 season
“We have a lot to improve on. We have a long way to go. Coach does an unbelievable job making us compete better and compete with each other. I want to reach my full potential. We have high expectations and we want to live up to them.”

On relationship with Marcus Freeman
“He’s a tremendous athlete and he’s constantly making me work hard. I’m forever grateful to have the opportunity to play with him. There’s trust amongst each other, which helps the team play better. And he’s a huge wrestling fan, which helps.”

On returning for his senior year
“Everyone said I made the right decision. It’s the best time of your life to be with friends and the education here is great. And I can help younger players out. No regrets.”

Austin Spitler, senior linebacker
On playing some at fullback
“We’re trying to get the best guys out on the field. If I can contribute to a couple of plays at fullback, that’s great. I have a little experience from high school. It’s similar to linebacker; you go in and hit some guys.”

“It’s great for everyone. It creates competition, on the field and off. It’s tough and you want to try to find a way to get on the field. Wherever they want me, I’m open to it. I just want to compete any way I can get out there and do it.”

Curtis Terry, senior linebacker
On the underclassmen
“They’re all doing a fabulous job. They’re physical kids. They’re all doing a wonderful job. I play hard too because I know they’re going to play the best guys regardless of class.”

On Jermale Hines
“He’s wonderful. He knows the defense. He runs, covers, hits. He is picking up everything. I try to help him out all the time.”

Marcus Freeman, senior linebacker
On the first week of practice
“There has definitely been a lot of physical work. We have concentrated a lot on the mental aspect but we have been getting after it physically. It has been a good week.”

On the difference between this spring and last
“Not a lot of difference except I am a year older. I think coming in I have tried to work on the mental aspect of the game. I have also been trying to work on asserting myself as a leader vocally and lead by example.”

On playing behind James Laurinaitis
“James is a guy who, no matter how good he gets, he keeps working to get better everyday. He is always the guy running past other guys in a drill and working that much harder. I am lucky to play with him and learn from him. Any time you are behind a guy like James, you have to take it as an opportunity to learn.”

On two lost national championships
“You can attribute it to a lot of different stuff. A lot of people say it is the speed of the SEC or the toughness. When it comes down to it, they just made plays that we did not.”