Reaching back into the files, I discovered some unused material with Santonio Holmes. Given his emergence as one of Ohio State's offensive weapons, I thought fans might enjoy reading his quotes as well as Nugent, Fox, and a quote from Tressel following the kicking scrimmage before the season began.
What is your assessment on the team today?
"It was a good day. Our rangers came out prepared, ready to work, ready to make some good blocks and our kickers – they did a pretty good job. We tried to make them feel like they were under pressure a lot to see if they would miss a couple of field goals and see how they handle the pressure."
It looked like you had a couple of nice returns
"I did, but I give all (the) thanks to my rangers. They did a very good job setting up walls and they did a pretty good job blocking overall.
When you are looking to return a punt what is the most important thing you are looking at?
"Really it is the opposite jersey. The first jersey that comes, and I have to get past him and hopefully my blockers will set the wall or at least pick up a good block for me to get down the sideline..
Have you worked on the fumbles?
Not really. Coach Tressel told me to put it out of my mind and just focus on football and be a football player. He knows big time football players don't make mistakes so you have to suck it up sometimes.
What are your goals for this season?
"Right now - really to just be as big of a help to the team as possible."
Where are you on the depth chart right now? Do you know?
"I am leaving it all up to the coaches... However the coaches put it that is how it is going to be."
Are the coaches still playing with personnel formations?
What is your best route?
"Right now there is a lot I have to work on. Our coach has been drilling us each and every day to just get our route down, get the proper depth, read the defense, and just try to make a play."
Where are you struggling the most?
"There is really nothing. I am still learning, and that is basically the key to everything is just to try and learn and try to get as much out of it as possible."
Last year the returners did not get many points. What is the goal this year?
"Really that is not significant – scoring points for our team. It is really significant to just get as much possible out of it as possible."
Are you saying there is more emphasis on field position in some respects?
Tell me about your offseason – did you get home?
"I tried to travel a little bit and see my family…but as far as offseason – my biggest focus is here. I have to stay focused on all the football things that are going on with our team and just try to get stronger mentally and physically."
Did you get to brag?
"Nah. I didn't do a little bragging. I just went home to spend time with my family – that is it."
What is one weakness of the wide receiver group as a whole they are working on to improve this year?
"Really, I don't think there is a weakness. It is just all the learning and mentally thing. Each of us is trying to get focused and get mentally prepared for the game each and every day, and I just feel that we need to go out and work hard each and every day."
What is your strength?
"It is probably my vision. I try to pinpoint on the first opposite colored jersey when I am returning balls, and far as on offense – just try to get open and make a play."
How is the attitude of the team right now?
"I think everybody is trying to get focused (and) get serious. The time has come. (We have) a week left, and everybody is trying to get focused on the task at hand."
Why does this team think they can repeat when others have fallen short?
"Because it is a mental thing. Everybody has to stay focused, and we can't dwell on what happened for our team in the past. Everything happens for a reason, and that happened last year. Like coach Tressel says, ‘It is time to move forward.' We can't look at what the 2002 team did. This is all on the 2003 team."
What is keeping the team focused?
"It is a lot on the senior leadership and the coaches. They try not to get on us – they try to leave it all up to the players to see how much work they can put forth and how much effort can they bring upon the whole team."
Any seniors really standing out?
"Right now I think they are all as a whole."
What is your initial reaction to the day?
"It was a pretty good day. I am glad I don't have to walk back. I have never had to walk back on one of these scrimmages so we pride ourselves on winning on my team."
How is the secondary compared to last year?
"You know I think we are really ahead of the game as far as where we were last year at this point. Obviously we had senior leadership and things like that, but as far as guys knowing what to do and being where we are supposed to be I think we are actually ahead of where we were last year. Talent wise – that is yet to be seen because we have not played any games yet, but as far as everyone knowing what to do we are…ahead of the game I guess."
With Gamble on the other side of the field, are you prepared to be picked on?
"Absolutely. I am prepared every snap just like Chris is. We go out there prepared for anything. Whatever they do we are going to have something for them."
Is the team prepared for Washington and for the season?
"Complacency is the root of all evil I think because it is like a syndrome."
What are you doing as a team to prevent complacency?
"Just trying to block out what everyone else talks about – about last year and things like that and put our focus – which is our key word this season, focus, on Washington."
Do you get tired of hearing about last year?
"You know, honestly I do. We appreciate – don't get us wrong – we appreciate that people care so much, but now it is time to have people talk about this season because this is all we have."
If someone were to allow you to talk about what you want to talk about – what would it be?
"The Huskies. That is all there is to talk about. Then we will talk about
NC State and then Bowling Green and then San Diego…er…San Diego State and
then NC State, but see – I don't even know the schedule. All I know is
How do you feel about the team right now?
"Thank goodness for Spring practice. There were some times when we did not look very good rhythm-wise. This fall I think we look great."
Does Nugent hitting a 58-yarder change the way you coach games?
"Well, I don't know what the percentages are for hitting 58 yarders, but if you don't you give the ball to the other guys on your side of the field. That is like a turnover, so I don't know that it will change our thinking a whole bunch."
"If we are down by two, we will go for it."
What were you on the day 11 of 14?
"Without the blocks… I still need to hit some of those. I did feel good on the ones that got blocked. I am going to have to check out if they were or not. I think one or two at the end here – I think I hooked one and pushed the other one. So, I just need to focus what I did wrong here
Compare this august to last august.
"Individually it is not that different at all. As a team – it is kinda tough to speak for everybody – but as a team it is a little different because everyone is kinda preaching up ‘What if you go back to back? How can you do it?' I think the one reason we beat Miami is because we were such like a – almost a family together' we worked so well as a team. We are good with that especially the preseason just everyone getting together and working real hard together. No one is like ‘I need to do this, I need to do that.' Everyone is like together, ‘We need to do this, we need to do that.'
Tell me about the long field goal. Was it 57 or 58 yards?
"I really could not tell you. I never look to see where it is at."
Should we call it 65 yards then?
"Yeah. We'll say 75… but it felt real solid when I hit it. I was kind of surprised when no one blocked it because it was kind of a low ball and they blocked three of my kicks today. I am just going to have to look at the film to see what we did wrong."
How high does it have to be to clear someone trying to block it?
"It is basically kind of a thing (where) the guy that is going to be jumping is probably about eight yards away. So, if I can get the ball higher than about – a guy with – a 6'5" guy with a 30 inch vertical. If I can get it above about ten feet. What I do is I stand eight yards away from the field goal posts. If I can get it over the crossbar, then there is pretty much no chance of someone blocking that. So I focus on about ten feet high right at the line."
Any pressure to repeat your stellar season in 2002?
"Really I am not feeling any pressure right now. I think we are doing a good job just kinda like today when we put the kickers in such game situations. I mean, that is the closest thing I will get to a game so it is kinda nice to get put into that situation so we can see what it might be like."
Will you get any bragging rights in the locker room?
"Not really. No because it would be a little different if I was not walking home today. I still have to walk home, so I have to try and make up for it next year."
Talk about where your confidence as a group of kickers
"I agree. I think it is all about the confidence. That was the good thing about towards the end of the season that players and coaches - I think they all the confidence in Andy and myself, and I think BJ will do a great job this year. He has been hitting the ball real well, and he is getting almost like that groove down. He is getting real comfortable with everything. Everyone is working together to do such a good job, and I think he is doing a good job at it.
How about you – you were in a rhythm last year. Have you picked up where you left off?
"I think so. I am going – my last field goal I kicked last year was a miss, but I hit extra points after that and kickoffs. (I am) just trying to keep it up and almost start a new thing like I did last year."
What about the head and the mechanics? It is all about that isn't it?
"Oh definitely. I would say kicking – especially in college. You see a kicker in college, when he misses, it is probably 90 to 95% of the time it is not that he hit a ball bad or did something wrong with his body. It is usually that he just kinda - that something got in his head and he thought about it too much. That is how I was my freshman year. I had the mechanics down, it is just that you have to get it down in your head."
And your head is good?
"It is doing great right now, so I will just try to keep it up for the rest of the season."
Last year coming in you were thinking about air currents, etc. Can you talk about that?
"I think I did a good job. I was actually fortunate we did not have too windy of a games. Maybe the windiest was – before the Illinois game maybe the windiest was Purdue and that was pretty straight wind. I kinda got to Purdue and was so used to nice weather I just didn't play the wind enough at Illinois. I think I just need to do a little better job just noticing what the flags are doing. Usually on a day like today the wind is not really going to touch the ball at all so I just try to hit the ball solid. If I hit a solid ball and it is a wind like today it should not do anything to it.
What kick do you remember most last year?
"I would say…That is a great question…I would say maybe the one in the Fiesta Bowl or maybe the one where we had like seven seconds to kick it against Purdue. I was really proud of my teammates at Purdue that day. I know I can get out there and do my job, it is just really tough for those guys. I know exactly where I am going to be every time, but they have to wait for the guy next to them so they are lined up right. It is tough for them, but I was really proud of them they did a great job of that last year."
What about the three misses? Do you remember those?
"I do remember them. I try to forget them. The way I remember them is what I did wrong on them so I can figure out what I did wrong on those – basically take what I did wrong on those and make up for it next year."
What is the most difficult kick for you to make?
"To be honest I would say they are pretty much all the same to me. I try to take every one exactly the same, and I think I will take the first kick this year the same as the middle one and the last one."