Aug. 10, 2005
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Q: You enter your second year in a leadership role on the offensive line. Is there anything you would change this season now that you have another year under your belt?
A: “I would say spending more time watching film and stressing that to the other guys.”
Q: You make all the calls on the offensive line. Compare the calls you make to other positions on the field … is it similar to a quarterback calling for an audible?
A: “I have to get up there and make the right call, because if I don’t, nothing will be blocked properly. Guys will be assigned to the wrong linebackers and the play will more than likely go nowhere. My calls are as important as any other position. It is a lot like the quarterback reading the defense and determining if he needs to audible or not. I make those same types of calls for the offensive line.”
Q: Your offensive line coach Jim Bollman compares you to former All-American LeCharles Bentley. How does that make you feel?
A: “Well, that is awfully nice of him. I would love to be in the company of such an outstanding player, but I don’t think I am there yet. I watch a lot of LeCharles on film. If I play half as good as he did, we would be in great shape. I am honored just to be associated with him.”
Q: Your recruit class included three others that are expected to start on the offensive line this season in Rob Sims, T.J. Downing and Doug Datish. How have the four of you grown as a group and how important is the growth to a successful and cohesive offensive line?
A: “That is huge coming in to this season. Your offense can only be as good as everyone communicates with one another. We are from the same class and have spent tons of time together. The way we hang out and get along correlates to the field. I am excited to play beside those guys this season.”
Q: You were a second-team All-Big Ten award winner last season and a finalist for the Rimington Award. Aside from team success, what are your personal goals for your senior year?
A: “I would love to be an All-American. First team All-Big Ten would be great too. I also would like to win the Rimington just to be able to attend the banquet and be in the company of so many talented players.”
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Q: You were able to play some significant minutes your freshman season during the run to the 2002 National Championship. How did that experience speed up the collegiate learning curve for you?
A: “That year was absolutely fantastic for me. That was a great opportunity to play with some great offensive lineman. It helped build a great base for me and has helped me gather all of the information that has been thrown at me. Now, I am at the point where I know everything like the back of my hand and I can get more intricate and study deeper. Without that opportunity, I would not be at the stage I am now.”
Q: You are called upon to pull from the center position several times during a game. How much harder is it to pull as a center?
A: “It makes it more difficult for sure. Even though you are pulling, you worry most about getting the snap to the quarterback normally. But other than that, it is just like pulling from the guard position. Although it’s challenging, I love to pull.”
Q: Your bio says that you lettered multiple times in wrestling and track and field in high school. How successful were you on that mat?
A: “Not as successful as I would have liked to have been. I got a concussion midway through my senior season and had to sit out the rest of my career. I did make it as far as regionals, I think. I won two or three tournaments during my career though.”
Q: You threw the shot put during high school. There seems to be quite a correlation between “big” football players competing in throws. How do the throw events help you in football?
A: “Balance is the biggest thing. The shot helps you with your footwork the most. It also helps incorporate some explosion as well.”
Q: Talk about your mindset the night before games. What do you focus on the most?
A: “We have meetings the night before and I just review my assignments and get mentally prepared. Before we go to bed, I just relax and talk with the guys and whomever I am rooming with that night. I just try to clear my mind for the game. It is a period of focus and relaxation at the same time.”
Q: What is your favorite memory from the 1980s?
A: “Well, I was born. That is kind of a big one. But, I would have to say the Guns `n Roses song “Welcome to the Jungle” stands out most. I think that was from the late 80s.
Q: What about the 1990s?
A: “It would have to be Dec. 31, 1999 – New Year’s Eve – before the turn of the century.”
Q: You have traveled to Australia and New Zealand with your dad? What was your favorite experience on that trip?
A: “It was amazing being able to go to such exotic places, but spending that time with my dad was the best part. He worked and traveled a lot when I was growing up, so having two weeks to hang out with him definitely was the highlight of the trip.”
Q: What is your favorite part of home football games at Ohio Stadium?
A: “I know it sounds a bit like a cliché, but it is running out if the tunnel before games. You are in the tunnel and you can’t see anything, but you can hear the crowd. You know what is coming when you run out, but each time it is a high like no other.”
Q: How long did it take you to learn the verses to Carmen, Ohio?
A: “I got it down in the first day. We had to learn it in camp as freshmen. I learned it quickly, so I could go and eat dinner.”