You've previously mentioned that Craig Krenzel has great command of the huddle. Can you elaborate on that?
"You just see how relaxed he is in the huddle and if he's able to make a joke, you can try and relax and not put so much pressure on yourself. So, you see that and it rubs off. It's a great help to see your quarterback relaxed and look in his eyes and know that he is going to get the job done."
Talk about the depth at receiver.
We've got a lot of guys that can step in. You can take your pick of any of those guys. Bam Childress and Drew Carter are going to get a lot more playing time this year and Roy Hall, Santonio Holmes and John Hollins are looking to get in there. It just goes on and on. They know just as much as Chris (Gamble) and have the same type of ability, so it's going to be fun to see those guys in there."
Do you anticipate that Gamble will still play a lot of offense this year?
"Yeah, I think he'll still be in there when we go three or four wide. And he'll probably play more offense as the season goes on, but it kind of depends on those other guys."
What does Gamble bring to the offense in your opinion?
"He's just another weapon. When guys see him come on offense, they're kind of focused on him like maybe it's a trick play or things like that. So, I think it takes pressure off the offense. It's definitely an advantage when he comes to our side."
What are some of your personal goals for this season?
"Those are at the end of the stick. We all want to win the Big Ten and get back to the national championship game, but we all just have to improve. Coach (Jim) Tressel asks us for our senior season to have the best year of our career here and that is what we're looking to do."
With a year under his belt as the full-time starter, how much of a comfort level is there with Krenzel at quarterback?
"I think we were comfortable with Craig last year. Spring, going into summer and going into last season, knowing he was going to be the starter. He knew the offense better than anyone; he was making smart decisions. And now with that extra year of experience under our belt, it's just a more comfortable feeling out on the field knowing that he is going to make the right calls."
Would you say the two of you are on the same page, even more so than last year?
"You try to be. That's what we work at; that's why we have these long camps. At a certain depth, on a certain play, he knows I'm going to be there. As a quarterback, it's nice to know that they have the confidence to know that we're going to get there."
What improvements has Krenzel made since last year?
"He's been working a lot on his mechanics - delivering the ball over the top. He's always been making good reads and finding open receivers. That's how Craig is. So, I'd say more than anything, it's been his mechanics throwing the ball."
When the temperature cracks 90, how difficult is it to get through practice?
"You just have to take it step by step. There is only so much you can do with meetings and lifting and getting out there on the field. We've been fortunate enough not to have too many 90-degree practices so far. But it's time to go out there and feel that Florida-heat, me being from Tampa."
How important is the jersey scrimmage on Saturday?
"If you ask coach (Mark) Dantonio, it means a lot to him. I hear he's very eager to get the red jerseys back. So, we're trying to keep those from him. So, it's just a chance for some young guys to get out there and make some plays and for the vets to get out there and make sure everything is the way it's supposed to be and really have some fun and just get out of the practice mode and get into a game situation."
Who are some of the "sleepers" that you think are going to open some eyes on Saturday?
"There are going to be a lot of guys making plays out there. The running backs are going to get out there and they're going to be playing. Troy Smith is going to make some plays on offense. Defensive-wise, all those guys want to get a pick, or pick up a fumble, so it's going to be exciting to see who does what."
Are the rules of the scrimmage set up to favor the defense? Especially the sack rule which awards two points for just touching the quarterback?
"Yes. But those are coach Tressel's rules and his rules go. So, we just need to score touchdowns to help us out."
A couple of players are banged up right now. Is that just part of camp?
"Football is a physical sport, so a lot of injuries happen. But overall, things are going pretty good. We're throwing some new things in and working on some stuff from last year and I'd say we're right on pace right now."
Do you want to see the Maurice Clarett saga end in a few days, or is it not really affecting the team in your opinion?
"It doesn't really affect us right now. We're still a team and we have to go on with camp and do the things we need to do to prepare for this first game. So, it will be nice for him to have everything finalized and when it's all said and done hopefully he'll be with us, but if not, we still have to move forward."
With Branden Joe out and not much depth at the fullback position, are you guys running more three-receiver, one-back sets in practice?
"Yeah, we've been having to do that a little bit more. We don't have that big bruiser that we used to have back in the day with Jamar Martin, so things are a little different. But the coaches are game planning real well, doing a little more three-wide, one-back."
Do you like seeing more of those three-receiver sets?
"Yeah, as receivers we like that a lot. Three and four-wide, you can't ask for much more. We are definitely working on more three and four-wide looks than last year."
Do you think you'll see more passes come your way this year?
"As long as we keep winning games, it's doesn't matter. Teams will probably focus in on me a little more with double coverages and we'll have to see what happens with the other guys like Drew Carter and Bam Childress and those guys out there. But as long as we get the win, that's all that matters."
Have the coaches told you to expect more opportunities in the passing game this year?
"You never know until game week, when you look at the script and see what they want to do. We're working on everything. We're working on three tight end, four tight end stuff with no receivers. We're working on five-wide, four-wide. We're kind of getting the feel of what we like, or don't like, going into the first game of the year."
Do you like the NCAA's new rules regarding two-a-days, or do you prefer the old system?
"It's all right. One-a-days are very long. They kind of stretch it out with meetings and lifting early and practice in the evening, which.is about 30-35 periods. It's different. It's a lot different from my freshman year when we had three practices a day for five days straight. So, I think it's a lot better than that."
Do you find that there is a higher level of intensity during the one-a-day practices compared to the two-a-days? Or, is everyone just trying to make it through the 35 periods?
"Seems like everyone is trying to get through the 35 periods because coach (Jim) Bollman got on us a little bit, telling us to pick it up a little bit because our last practice wasn't as sharp as it needed to be. So, I think guys will have a lot more intensity today."
How tough is the schedule this year?
"The way ESPN put it on Sportscenter one day, it looked tough with nine or so teams with nine-plus wins last year or something like that. But this is Ohio State, so every season you are going to have a tough schedule."
What was your initial reaction when you found out you'll be playing Wisconsin on the road for the second consecutive year?
"I didn't like it at first; I didn't think it was fair. But the way the schedule worked out, we have to go out there again. So, we're going to look at it the same way and just try and go out there and get a win."
Is there an unspoken language between you and Krenzel? You guys seem to click so well.
"It feels like that at times. We know when certain plays are called, we kind of look at each other and there is a little feeling that I am going to get open and the ball is going to be right there. So, that's some special chemistry that's going on."
Talk about the 4th-and-14 play in the Fiesta Bowl. He threw the ball before you even made you break.
"That's just something that we do every day. Getting the proper depth on our routes so when I turn around the ball is supposed to be right there. And that was just like we were doing it over the summer, or in camp, but it just turned out we had to do it in the national championship game."
What about the winning play against Purdue? Was there some improvising going on there?
"Yeah, I improvised a little bit, Craig improvised and just stepped up in the pocket and made a great play."
You seem to have a knack of always getting past the first down marker on your routes. Do you actually have to look at the marker, or do you just have a natural feel for where you're at on the field?
"For a particular route, I might have to take a glance at the first down marker. My depth might have me going past the marker - most of the time, but not all of the time. Half the time, I don't really have to look at the marker. We always need to know going to the line what's the down and distance. But there are times when your route doesn't take you past the marker. For instance, we had a third-and-10 or so against Cincinnati and my job was to run a one-yard route. So, I caught the ball, but then you still have to get past the first down marker and get the job done."