Smith looking ahead to Wisconsin

The Buckeyes are off this weekend... what will Will Smith be doing? Dave Biddle talked with him a bit about that as well as the Wisconsin game.

Ohio State defensive end Will Smith leads the team with 3.5 sacks and is second behind AJ Hawk with seven tackles-for-loss.

It's been a pretty good start to the season for him, but Smith wants to see his numbers improve.

"If I am doing my job, the stats will be there," Smith said. "I'd like to get those sacks up, because that means I am doing things to help the team win."

This week, Smith is enjoying the bye week and is already focusing his attention on what the Buckeyes have to do to escape Madison, Wisconsin, with a win next week.

"The big thing is stopping the run, because they've got three running backs that can run the ball very well," Smith said of the Badgers. "So, we know stopping them is going to be our biggest challenge come next Saturday."

One would think that OSU's players would dread a trip to Camp Randall Stadium, but Smith likes playing in big road games.

"Yeah, absolutely," he said. "You like going into a hostile environment and they've got great fans out there and they're going to be rooting the Badgers on. I know they hate us out there, so it's kind of fun to go out and go for a victory.

"It's something that we thrive for. Just to go into someone else's home and play them tough and come out with a victory. We know their fans are known for a lot of things – good things and bad things – but, you've just got to go in there and play tough."

Smith says the bye week comes at an ideal time for the Bucks.

"Yeah, absolutely. We've been facing a lot of teams that throw the ball. We really haven't faced a team that's smash mouth and is going to run the ball. It just gives us time to prepare and get ready for Wisconsin. I like the break because we've got a lot of banged up guys right now and it gives them a chance to heal and get back to 100 percent in the middle of the season.

"I think Wisconsin last year had a bye week before us, so they were very prepared for us. So, I just hope everybody on our team is prepared and we come out and play our best game."

Is it kind of boring for the players to have a bye week?

"Yeah, it's pretty much boring, because we don't have a game on Saturday," Smith said. "We're just kind of practicing, practicing, practicing all the time. But it's a learning time too and we can learn what we weren't too good at these past couple weeks and we can prepare for the next week."

On Thursday, the Buckeyes practiced indoors at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, despite the fact that the weather was nice in Columbus.

"Wisconsin has this type of turf, so I guess coach (Jim Tressel) wants us to get ready and get used to it," Smith said. "During camp we practiced a lot on it. It's a nice turf."

Last year, Ohio State had quite a bit of success getting to the quarterback against Wisconsin. Brooks Bollinger was knocked out of the game and Jim Sorgi was pressured a lot when he came in. The Badgers lost a few outstanding offensive linemen from that team due to graduation. Therefore, since the Bucks had so much success last year – against a better O-line – is Smith licking his chops this year?

"Not necessarily," he said. "Our goal is to stop the run first and then force them to pass and if they pass, we've got to get after the quarterback. We did have some success last year, but this is a new game and they are going to try and keep us away from the quarterback."

Although there are three new starters on Wisconsin's O-line, it is still a good unit according to Smith. Barry Alvarez always finds a way to field a quality line.

"They've got a big, strong offensive line," Smith said. "Good tight ends. Good running backs and everybody works together and they play as a team."

With the bye week, there are several things that Tressel could choose to work on. He could focus on fundamentals, plan for Wisconsin, or both.

"It's been a little bit of everything," Smith said. "Mostly Wisconsin and stopping the run. They are a big run team. They're a big, physical team and we know if we're going to come out with a victory, we need to stop the run."

Like he did at times last year, the athletic Smith has been dropping back in coverage here and there as a linebacker this season.

"Yeah, I like that," he said. "Get away from the double teams. But it's fun to just drop back and do something different and just blitz. Doing something different is fun."

Smith and defensive tackle Darrion Scott are good friends and we asked Smith how his buddy is feeling this week.

"He's feeling good. I think he's going to play. It's an ankle sprain and he's rehabbing it now and he should be 100 percent next Saturday. I think everybody is going to be healthy for this game. I think that's another good thing for having a whole week off."

Smith was asked if there are any negatives about having a bye week.

"No. Well, maybe the negative is that you don't have a game that weekend, but that's about it. But we've been practicing pretty hard this week, so I know that is going to make up for the game we're going to miss this week because we're going to be pretty sore this weekend anyway."

Without question, Smith will be playing in the NFL next year. Arena Football is not in his future, but we had to ask him about the Columbus Destroyers coming to town.

"I think it's good for Columbus," he said. "I don't really know too much about Arena Football, but it sounds exciting and I think I heard Earle Bruce is coaching, so it should be fun."

Smith has always been a fan of football and he finally gets a chance to just kick back and watch a few games this weekend.

"I'm a college football fan and I'm an NFL fan, so we get to watch both," he said. "We usually don't get a chance to watch all the games, but this weekend we will."

Is there any particular game he is looking forward to seeing, like Michigan at Iowa?

"Not necessarily. I'm just going to skip though the channels and watch as many games as possible and just focus on the games that are fun to watch."


Buckeye Sports Top Stories