Simonton Meets The Press

Sept. 4, 2001

(What does OSU need to do to get back on track?) 'Play football.' (What, specifically , needs to happen, especially on offense?) 'Play harder football. You can only correct the mistakes by playing, so we just need to get back out there.'

(Talk about your own performance at Fresno State and what you thought OSU's breakdowns were) 'The breakdowns were in practice, not really getting the tempo started, not really leading with some energy, some excitement, a sense of urgency, so it carried over. Some of us know how to turn it on, some of us have to practice it every day. We need to go practice it every day with some urgency.'

(Evaluate the offensive line's performance at Fresno State) 'It's worthless to break down a game like that in components like receivers and line. We just didn't play.'

(Will OSU's seniors and leaders talk to the younger guys about what's needed?) 'There won't be any talk. No talking. Talking doesn't play football, talking doesn't make an opponent lay down, talking isn't going to make you practice harder or play harder. If it is, as soon as you get tired, you're not going to remember what was said to you. It has to be an internal thing, you've got to go out and do it. Talking doesn't do anything.'

(What was the breakdown in practice, specifically?) 'Nothing, specifically. Obviously, we just didn't prepare hard enough all week. I think that was apparent to anybody who watched the game.'

(Could some OSU players have been a little full of themselves with all the preseason attention?) 'I don't know - I mean sure, why not. What else are we talking about? Whatever it was, we just weren't prepared. Write it up how you want to see it.'

(OSU's running game will have a target on it for opponents' defenses. How do you prevent teams from coming after you so hard?) 'I don't want to. I want them to continue doing what they do to stop us. We just have to continue to prepare like we can prepare. We'll put together a plan that works, we just have to execute it. The plan works, we expected them to do what they did. That wasn't the problem. Our execution was the problem.'

(How would you compare Fresno State's defense to some of the Pacific-10 defenses you've seen in the past few years?) 'They swarm good, they were physical. That defense could play in the Pac-10. They were aggressive, they stuck to the plan, they executed. Any team that executes is going to present some problems, they're going to make some plays. We just didn't execute enough to make some plays to counteract that.'

(The clich� is that teams improve most from Week 1 to Week 2 - do you expect that to happen?) 'Sure, why not? What better time?'

(On a second straight road game to start the season) 'It doesn't matter, home or road, it's just how well you execute. That crowd felt like home to me - it was loud, they were into the game - that's what you want as a fan as well as a player. Noise is noise, whether they're screaming for you or the opposing team. It was a good place to play. It doesn't really matter for me.'

(On the Heisman Trophy) 'Trying to get back on track has nothing to do with the Heisman, trying to get back on track is just trying to get our team back to the level of dominance we have to be at. I'm a big part of that, 50 yards on 15 carries, forget the Heisman, that's just not establishing a running game. We just need to do what we need to do to get back on track ourselves.'

(Did you have family and friends at the Fresno State game, and was it disappointing for you to have one of your poorest performances?) 'I can't really say that I had one of my worst performances. I didn't turn the ball over, I made some mistakes, I could have run harder on some. But you know, I thought I went out and glorified God with my performance. A lot of things I could have done better, but we all could have, so we've all got to look at ourselves and say 'I could do this better.' But all in all, I'm not disgusted with my performance. I've had some performances where I have been disgusted with my performance, but that's been from turnovers or shying away from hits. I took my lumps and bumps, but I've definitely got to come out sharper.

'My family is just happy to see me. They don't care about the game, it's just 'How are you doing?''

(Do you feel you've got some of the cobwebs out for the next game?) 'Man, we got some of those cobwebs yanked out.'

(You said last week that one of the biggest challenges at Fresno State was protecting Jonathan Smith. Do you feel there's a shot at redemption this week against a similar defense?) 'I don't know. Each week, that's the mission, to protect Jonathan. So no matter what kind of defense we face this week, the mission is the same - to protect Jonathan, whether they blitz or just send a four-man rush, we want to keep them off Jonathan. If we do something right, we'll continue doing it. It doesn't matter what kind of defense you face. It'll be good to face that kind of pressure, I suppose, but the end result has to be the same - he has to stay clean.'

(What's the mood of the team right now? How about your mood?) 'I don't know - I'm in here talking to you guys. For myself, I don't know. When I get done with all this and get back to business, I can tell you. Right now, I'm still talking about last week, so I can't tell you how I feel about this week because it hasn't officially started yet.'

(On OSU's receivers) 'At each position, if you want to break it down as a unit, we all did some good things. From the secondary to the D front, we all have some things we can look at and say it was positive. Our receiving corps, as well. But we've all got a lot of things we need to get better at. I just think it starts with the effort. They did a good job, but they've still got a lot of work to do just like the running backs as well as everybody else.'

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