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Aug. 6, 2003

Audio Clips
Coach Tressel’s Photo Day Press Conference

Center Alex Stepanovich

On the 2003 offensive line
On the first week of camp

Defensive Tackle Tim Anderson

On replacing the 2002 seniors on defense

Running Back Maurice Hall

On being preseason No. 1 in Sports Illustrated

Place Kicker Mike Nugent

On preparing for the 2003 season

Conerback Dustin Fox

On changing to the new practice schedule
On preparing for the 2003 season

Quarterback Craig Krenzel

On his comfort level entering the 2003 season

Practice Notes
The Ohio State football team held its first practice of the 2003 season Wednesday morning at the Woody Hayes Athletics Center. The defending national champion Buckeyes worked out for just under three hours in the hot August heat before breaking for lunch and a brief rest period at the team hotel. The remainder of the day will be devoted to afternoon meetings and the annual press and photo day in Ohio Stadium.

“We did our physical testing first and I thought we ran pretty well,” said head coach Jim Tressel. “It wasn’t real hot then, but it really warmed up when we came back out for individual and position drills. I was pleased with the way we handled the heat.

“With the new rules, we are throwing a lot at them early, especially the freshmen, but I thought everyone responded well for the first day.”

The Buckeyes, who are coming off a perfect 14-0 season and the school’s first consensus national crown since 1968, open the season Aug. 30 by hosting the Washington Huskies at 8 p.m. in Ohio Stadium.

The team’s next practice will be Thursday afternoon.

Player Quotes

Junior Tailback Maurice Hall
On being the defending national champions:
“Nobody gets tired of being the champions. We are still trying to go after the title again.”

On being No. 1 in Sports Illustrated:
“We just have to go out there and play and take one game at a time. We have to know everybody will play the best game they can.”

On preparing to be the No. 1 running back:
“You never know what’s going to happen. You don’t want to get in there and not be ready. That’s the worst thing you can do. You have to prepare yourself as No. 1, to be the best and play against the best.”

Quarterback Craig Krenzel
On defending the national championship title:
“We are such a goal-orientated team that we know where we want to be in January and that we know what it takes to get there. We know there are going to be some bumps along the road and that’s where our focus lies right now.”

On improving as an individual from last year:
“I haven’t even scratched the surface of what I can do for this team. It’s going to be fun challenging myself game-in and game-out this year. I want to go out and lead the team as I did this past year.”

On the offense:
“We are trying to be a more balanced offense. Obviously our main goal is to score more points. If we can go out and run the ball 60 times for 400 yards and 50 points we may rotate quarterbacks every quarter. The ultimate goal is to win football games.”

Junior Tailback Lydell Ross
On his physical condition this season:
“I’ve gone up to 228 lbs. That’s about 15 lbs. heavier than last year. I have good weight, solid muscles and my body fat is down. I have been working hard.”

On what he and tailback Maurice Hall can bring to the team:
“I think both of us have power. Maurice Hall is smaller than me, but he definitely brings it to the football field. I think both of us have the same tools: power and speed.”

Junior Cornerback Dustin Fox
On being ranked No. 1 in Sports Illustrated:
“It doesn’t matter to me where we are ranked. I am just excited to play Washington and focus on what we have to accomplish as a team.”

On the incoming freshmen:
“I think we have a great recruiting class which will really contribute to the team this year as did last year’s freshmen.”

On the defensive secondary:
“We are going to have one of the best secondaries if we keep focusing on practice. We could be the best in the Big Ten.”

Senior Safety Will Allen
On the pressure of the upcoming season:
“There may be focus but no pressure. We shined last year and made big plays. I think that we are going to be good.”

On flanker/cornerback Chris Gamble:
“Gamble’s awareness and ability really helped us. He made plays that needed to be made.”

Junior Flanker/Cornerback Chris Gamble
On what positions he will play:
“I will play defense a lot. I will play offense a little less until further in the season when it becomes cooler (weather).”

Senior Split End Drew Carter
Feelings going into the season:
“There is a lot of excitement for us going into the season but we have to realize that we cannot think of last year. That was last year and we need to focus on this year.”

Feelings going into the season:
“There is much excitement for us going into the season but we have got to realize that we cannot think of last year that was last year and we need to focus on this year.”

On the opener against Washington:
“They are a very good team and we are a very good team so it is going to be a battle. We are under the lights and we are going to be really energized and excited.”

On being the defending national champions going into the season:
“There definitely is a target on our back but we are ready for the challenge.”

Senior Tight End Ben Hartsock
On fall camp:
“We have a more upbeat and energetic attitude than I have ever seen at fall camp before.”

On improving from last year:
“I saw some mediocre performances in some aspects of our play last year and that will drive us to perform better this year.”

On feelings coming into this season:
“This is a different football environment we’re getting, an area we have never been to. We know the season is going to be tough but we are ready for the challenge.”

Senior Split End Michael Jenkins
On the Big Ten:
“Everyone is really of equal strength on the field on Saturday. In the Big Ten anyone can beat anyone so we really can’t overlook any team out there.”

On the keys to a great season:
“To succeed this year we will need to have a great defense, an opportunistic offense, and a spectacular special teams unit.”

On starting the season:
“Last year is last year and we have to put the past behind us. Last season was awesome but now it is 2003 and the focus is for preparing for Washington on August 30 and the rest of the season.”

Senior Center Alex Stepanovich
On the offense:
“We cannot overstep our boundaries on offense. The offensive line knows that if we can’t give Craig (Krenzel) enough time our offense and team will not do as well.”

On the keys to a successful season:
“Focus every second. There are new NCAA rules for this season so we need to get more done off the field in meetings so we can be better prepared for practices and most importantly, Saturdays.”

On the offensive line:
“We have depth coming back but we need to get stronger and more aggressive.”

On the opener against Washington:
“Washington is a very good team and we are a very good team so it is going to be a battle. We will be playing the lights and we are going to be really energized and excited.”

On feeling like national champions going into the season:
“There definitely is a target on our back but we are ready for the challenge.”

Senior Defensive End Will Smith
On difference between beginning of camp this year and last year:
“It’s a little bit different because we don’t have two-a-days.”

On coming back for his senior year:
“The thing I wanted to focus on first was that I wanted to graduate, and (with me) coming back, I knew that I wanted another national championship. Another national championship is everyone’s main goal, but we have to take it one game at a time. We can’t get ahead of ourselves. We’ve got Washington first, then we’ll see what happens.”

On being ranked No. 1 in Sports Illustrated:
“It means a lot just to be ranked number one, but it really doesn’t mean anything because we haven’t played a game yet, so we have to win all the games in order to be number one at the end of the season.”

Senior Defensive Tackle Darrion Scott
On difference between playing defensive tackle and defensive end:
“I really like to play inside. I really like being able to go one-on-one with an offensive lineman every play. At defensive end, you’re more running up the field and containing more than you are just against an offensive lineman.”

On being ranked No. 1 in Sports Illustrated:
“In a sense it matters, but it’s not going to really kill us whether we No. 1 or not. We lost some key starters but we have 18 starters coming back, so I feel we should be No. 1.

On difference at practice this year:
“The outlook on practice is we really have to prepare harder. We really have to focus harder on everything – we can’t slack off. Any slacking off is going to put us behind.”

On big hits:
“It’s one of the best feelings in the world to hit the quarterback like that, hear the crowd go crazy, and then to watch it on film. You look forward to those types of plays. The best part about it is that you never know when it’s going to come. Every play you’ve got to go hard and every play you’ve got to think and believe that you’re going to get that quarterback sack. If you don’t get it that play it might be the next play so you’ve always got to be thinking about it, and when it comes, it’s the best.”

Junior Defensive End Simon Fraser
On tough schedule:
“We’re ready to take on the task. We’re looking forward to it. We want to put what happened last season behind us and just move forward. We’ve got a great senior class coming up and some great leaders. We’re just looking for the challenge and just the excitement of the season.”

Senior Defensive Tackle Tim Anderson
On defending the national title:
“We understand and know that teams are going to come in here and give us their best shot and we wouldn’t want anything less. We’re really looking forward to the challenge; guys are all excited, guys are focused, and I think we’re pretty hungry.”

On the versatility of the defensive linemen:
“I think it gives us an incredible advantage. It allows us to move around and not switch personnel.”

On the season:
“We have a lot of room for improvement. We did a lot of good things last year, but we also made some mistakes and that kind of thing, but we’re looking forward to the challenge. We expect a good deal out of ourselves and out of the rest of the guys on our team.”