Anderson digs in

One of the real leaders on defense this year will be senior DT Tim Anderson. Dave Biddle caught up with him recently to talk about Washington and more.

Senior nose guard Tim Anderson is a preseason candidate for the Outland Trophy. He is a confident guy, but knows that Washington will be a tough test.

"They are a very good team," he said. "The reports I've heard, they've lost two of their starting offensive linemen, but they're going to be a good team. I'm sure they are looking forward to coming in here to play us and we've got to be ready. We're definitely not going to take them lightly. We're going to be focused and we're going to be ready to play.

"They are a very good team. Obviously, Cody Pickett is a Heisman candidate and (Reggie) Williams is one of the top receivers in the country. So, they're going to be an explosive team."

With so many young players patrolling Ohio State's secondary, especially at safety, Anderson knows that the defensive line will be counted on to get pressure on the quarterback. Players like Pickett and NC State's Philip Rivers will pick you apart if you give them time. But if the D-line can get pressure without help from the linebackers, it will be a long year for opposing QBs again this year.

"I think that helps the DBs whether you have young guys back there, or seniors," Anderson said. "If we can get pressure with just our four down guys, that's going to allow us to drop our linebackers into pass coverage, as well as our DBs, and make it a little more difficult to pass. So, obviously we want to get pass pressure, but our safeties are very good. They are young guys, but they're talented guys and they've learned behind two real good safeties last year with Donnie Nickey and Michael Doss, so we're not too concerned."

Quarterback Craig Krenzel recently mentioned that he removed all reminders of the 2002 season from his room. Anderson has followed suit.

"It's my mindset," he said. "I didn't know Craig took everything out of his room, but I did the same thing. Before I came in a couple weeks ago, I went through my room and I put the rings away, I put the hats away, I put the shirts away. They're all in a box taped up. You know, I don't want to be reminded of that, because that's in the past. We're in the present now and we've got to focus on the season and put last year behind us."

Although there is a different format to camp this year with the new NCAA rules, Anderson hasn't noticed a big difference.

"I think it's similar," he said. "I think every camp is kind of the same because you want to come in, learn the defense, work on your fundamentals – your little techniques – and just try and improve every day and get better. That's what we've been trying to do this camp and it's pretty much the same thing we tried to do last year."

Anderson (6-4, 305, Sr.) says OSU's defense wants to make even more of an impact than it did last year. That might sound difficult to accomplish, but one area it can improve on is scoring touchdowns on turnovers. Penn State fans might not agree, but it's a fact.

"Our offense can make big plays and so can our defense, so that definitely bodes well for us," Anderson said. "Coach (Mark) Dantonio talks a lot about scoring on defense. We didn't do it as much as we should have last year. We need to put points on the board because that can really crush a team's morale."

Anderson is a stand-up guy and it's a good bet he'll get voted captain by his teammates. But he's also a bulldog on the football field who's been in his share of scraps. At last Saturday's jersey scrimmage, he got into one with Adrien Clarke.

"I think for every guy, when we get inside that white line on Saturday afternoon, or even during practice and stuff, you've got to have a different attitude; a different mentality," he said. "Adrien is a great guy and we're good friends. It was just two competitors going at each other and we'd been hitting each other all day and it just boils over. But, we just want to win and we want to do whatever we can to win. We were both playing hard, it happened and we put it behind us. We shook hands and said, ‘Hey, it's no big deal.'"

Anderson was asked what it takes to play the gritty position of nose guard.

A lot of heart," he said. "You can't give up. You've got to be tough – both physically and mentally. I wouldn't classify myself as being nasty, but at the same time I'm not nice either. I'm going to go into a game and the other players on this team and the coaches know that I'm going to do what I need to do to get my job done. And what it takes? That's kind of a hard question to answer. I just show up and do what I have to do."

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