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Aug. 11, 2006

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Offensive Player Quotes
Troy Smith, senior quarterback
On practice
“We have a lot of playmakers. We just have to work at getting them all touches. The anchor of this team is the offensive line, as it is for any great team. On both sides of the ball it starts up front.”

On this season
“I feel like I have matured a lot from last season. I know now that I just have to work on getting better everyday. I know that I haven’t peaked yet and I have a great year ahead of me.”

Justin Zwick, senior quarterback
On his role for the upcoming season
“I have a different mind set this year. There is no battle for the starting position. We know who our No. 1 guy is. My role is to help Troy (Smith) out as much as I can.”

On his career at Ohio State
“Just like anything in life, with football you have your ups and your downs. The ups are never as high as you would like and the downs are always lower. I just try to keep everything somewhere in the middle.”

Todd Boeckman, sophomore quarterback
On practice
“Things have been tough but we are working hard. We still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do, but we know if we put in the hours we are going to win.”

On being ranked No. 1
“It is not a big deal to us. We all are just focused on Northern Illinois. It is an honor to be No. 1 at the start of the season, but we all want to be No. 1 at the end of the season.”

Antonio Pittman, junior tailback
On his mindset for the upcoming season
“This season, the mindset for the team is to be No. 1, and win the national championship. With the rankings this year, we have that bull’s eye on us, so we have to step up our play as a team.”

On his 2005-06 season and what he expects this year
“I had a great sophomore season because I believed in myself and so did the coaches. This year, I will do whatever the team needs me to do. It is exciting and new this year to be ranked No.1. Now we just have to come out hard to have a good season.”

Chris Wells, freshman tailback
On his first year as a Buckeye
“There isn’t pressure on me because the people around me are being positive. I’m just so excited for the season to start. Compared to spring practice and now, I understand the system a lot better already. I still need to become more comfortable and confident in myself.”

On his relationship with Antonio Pittman
“Pittman is like my older brother. Since he’s older, I can learn a lot from him about the game and about life.”

Maurice Wells, sophomore tailback
On the difference in summer practices
“Eric Lichter, the new strength coach, put it to us. He got us in good football shape, so that we can hopefully win the national championship. As a team, we have been working on plays to gel as one.”

On the team’s reaction to No. 1 ranking
“This year, I want to help the team win. Coach (Jim Tressel) told us not to focus on the rankings as we enter the season because we need to play it one game at a time. The team had a great spring and we’re striving to win the national championships.”

Stan White, senior fullback
On the Buckeyes’ season goals
“The team, like every year, wants to be Big Ten and national champions. As a second year starter, I want to be a solid guy for my teammates and make impact plays with my blocks and interceptions.”

On the difference in summer practices
“This summer, the workouts have been the most intense since I’ve been here with the addition of our new strength coach Eric Lichter. He has been working us hard and trying to get us ready for the season quickly.”

Roy Hall, senior split end
On his final season
“This is a huge season for me. It’s my senior year and I want to go out with a bang. We worked hard all summer and everyone is in tip-top shape. I’m definitely looking forward to this coming season.”

On his outlook for the receivers this year
“We have one of the top receiving teams in the country. We have a bunch of leadership and guys voicing their opinions in the group. It’s time for me to step up and learn how to be a leader. (Brian) Hartline, (Brian) Robiskie and (Albert) Dukes – all three are young players who are stepping up and learning from those with experience.”

On being a leader
“I really learned a lot from the leaders before me. You don’t have to be a senior to lead, but the guys before me did a great job and I learned a lot from them.”

Anthony Gonzalez, junior wide receiver
On preseason camp
“The first week is pretty slow. We have double sessions until next week. Right now we are just re-learning things. The following week is when we really get after it and see who is going to do what for the team.”

On ranking in preseason polls
“It’s an honor to be No. 1, but I don’t think too much about it. I feel that preseason polls are not that important. We are the ones who have high expectations for ourselves. We demand a lot more than anyone. We put the pressure on ourselves, not the polls.”

On Troy Smith
“Troy just gets every thing out of every day. He makes sure he sucks the life out of practice. He’s the quarterback we’ve come to respect and that’s what we love about him.”

Ted Ginn, junior flanker
On the new jerseys
“They are very tight. Wind can’t get through it and people can’t grab you as easily with a tight jersey. You can just get away.”

On his Heisman Trophy candidacy
“It’s not about who is in first place or who has their name on top. It’s all about the game. We are going to come in and make plays. That is the most important thing.”

On this upcoming season
“I feel that I am comfortable and ready to play. We have a very capable offense, similar to any other year. We are going to play for each other and just have fun.”

T.J. Downing, senior offensive guard
On the offensive line’s goals
“We are expecting (Antonio) Pittman to get at least 100 yards and two touchdowns a game because then we will know we are doing a good job blocking.”

On personal goals
“My goals are to not give up any sacs, be an All-Big Ten performer and win a national championship. Anything less than that isn’t going to cut it.”

Kirk Barton, junior offensive tackle
On personal goals
“My first goal is to win a national championship and send the seniors out on a great note. I want to make the most of the games for the seniors.”

On being a quality offensive line
“We are ahead of the curve and have practiced a lot to get to where we are. It takes time to be a good line.”

Doug Datish, senior center
On being preseason No. 1
“It feels good to be respected, but we are never pleased or satisfied until we win the national championship.”

On playing with two Heisman Trophy candidates
“It’s an honor playing with Troy and Teddy. I love blocking for Troy and watching Teddy run. I love watching them both play.”

Alex Boone, sophomore offensive tackle
On the preseason
“Preseason is great. I just love it. It’s good because it builds camaraderie with the team.”

On returning for sophomore season
“I feel good about coming back because I played with Nick (Mangold) and Rob (Sims) last year and they taught me a lot of things on the field.”

Defensive Player Quotes
Quinn Pitcock, senior defensive tackle
On how is practice going
“Practice is going well. We are working hard as a defense. I am excited to start practicing in full pads.”

On how it feels to be ranked No.1
“It’s definitely an honor, but I am trying not to think about it during preseason.”

What are your strategies for the upcoming season?
“My strategies are to play as hard as I can and do as much damage as possible.”

Jay Richardson, senior defensive end
On how is practice going
“It’s going very well, we are all focused.”

On how it feels to be ranked No.1
“It is a big honor. I think we have earned our position as No.1. We do the best we can.”

On the defensive rotation
“We lost some key starters, but we have a defensive line with more experience. Also, we have a lot of young focused new guys this year.”

Joel Penton, senior defensive tackle
On how is practice going
“Practice is going well. we are putting in a lot of effort.”

On how it feels to be ranked No.1
“To be ranked No.1 is a real honor and an exciting challenge. It is just as important, if not more, to finish the season No.1.”

David Patterson, senior defensive tackle
On the new comers
“They are watching a lot of film and doing great at practice.”

On your versatility
“The coaches like to switch my positions up, which I don’t mind and it helps me learn more.”

On your role this season
“I want to be someone the guys look up to and make plays and rely on.”

Lawrence Wilson, sophomore defensive end
On fall camp
“We have a young defense that is working hard, but over all it is going well.”

On how it feels to be ranked No.1
“I don’t look at us as No.1, we haven’t won (a game) yet.”

What are your strategies for the upcoming season?
“Executing plays as a defense. We have a lot of athletes.

Marcus Freeman, sophomore linebacker
On the new players
“We bring a lot of speed to the table and we’re willing to learn. We just need to stay focused. There has been a lot of publicity, so we’re just supporting each other.”

On Ohio State’s new jersey
“I like them. You have to make sure your stomach is looking good and you have to make sure you eat right. The offensive linemen can’t really do anything about that, though.”

James Laurinaitis, sophomore linebacker
On the linebackers’ work ethic
“We embody work ethic. We work extra after practice. There isn’t a mandatory lift, but guys are in the weight room getting extra work in. Nothing needs to be said, we just do it.”

On two-a-day practices
“People get really sore. You’re out there for a long time. It’s all mental. You go all out when pads are on and find out who’s really a man.”

Ross Homan, freshman linebacker
On coming early to Ohio State
“It helped out so much. I got to learn all the plays and get acquainted with everything. A.J. Hawk and the guys were still here and they helped with the transition from high school tremendously.”

On developing physically
“I’ve increased in everything. With our new strength coach, my speed and agility has gotten much better.”

John Kerr, senior linebacker
On transferring from Indiana
“I just needed to leave. It just wasn’t the right fit for me. You move on. Everybody has doubts but after last year, there are no doubts.”

On following in A.J. Hawk’s footsteps
“You just play as hard as you can and make as many plays as you can. He was a great player, but you can make up for talent with hard work.”

Mike D’Andrea, senior, linebacker
On his goals for this year
“I just need to stay healthy. I want to help this team out in all the games, so we can go on to beat Michigan, win the Big Ten and be national champions.”

On what he learned from last year
“I need to be consistent every single day and I need to do all the little things right.”

Chad Hoobler, junior, defensive end
On his move to defensive end from linebacker
“I recently moved and it’s been a good transition. I feel comfortable.”

On what he learned from the linebackers last year
“Behind A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter, I really learned what it means to work hard and be dedicated.”

Brandon Mitchell, senior safety
On the progress of fall camp
“Everything is going well. I feel it is all coming together. We are doing things well early, which is a positive. The older guys are trying to be the best leaders possible.”

On the preseason No. 1 ranking
“Personally, I like it. I always strive to be No. 1, so I think it is a compliment. I try to be the best at what I do. Also, you know that every team will give you their best shot in every game.”

Jamario O’Neal, sophomore safety
On the progress off fall camp
“We are making progress everyday. We are all trying to work toward the big plan that the coaches gave us. So far, I think we are all making plays and really coming together.”

On the goals of the defense
“As a defense, we want to have a swagger. We don’t want to be cocky, just confident. Our goal is to make the offense as comfortable as possible and let the entire team know they can depend on us.”

Malcolm Jenkins, sophomore cornerback
On his summer
“I had a very productive summer. I think it went well. It has carried over into camp and I feel we have a very strong defensive unit.”

Special Teams Quotes
A.J. Trapasso, sophomore punter
On camp
“It’s my second time around. Everything is going well and the weather has held out for us.”

On the No.1 ranking
“It’s an honor to get the No.1 ranking. We have to work hard to stay at the top. There’s a lot of pressure because of the No. 1 ranking, but there is also a lot of motivation to keep it.”

Ryan Pretorius, sophomore place-kicker
On Ohio State
“I’ve been very impressed with everything at Ohio State. It has been a great fit for me. I love it here and in college. It is the cherry at the top, especially meeting new friends and teammates.”

On the upcoming season
“We definitely have talent to go all they way. We just need to keep working hard. We have been working extremely hard conditioning wise this summer. Now, it is time to fine-tune everything.”

Aaron Pettrey, redshirt freshman place-kicker
On camp
“Everything has been going good with the special teams. We have been watching the offense and they are real smooth. It is all coming together.”

On team expectations for the season
“We are ranked No. 1 for the year. We have high expectations to live up to with our offense and upcoming defense.”

Jim Tressel, head coach
On the offensive line
“Our talent and depth is very good. Everyday in practice, they have good competition on defense and it makes them better.”

On Quinn Pitcock
“He’s a leader and wants to be. He is a great player. In my mind, there is not a player in the country at his position that is as good. He’s an All-American candidate.”

Gene Smith, athletics director
On the No.1 Ranking
“They are a talented, championship-caliber group of guys. I told them to rejoice and embrace it. It’s great but it’s more about the kids. They deserved it and earned it.”