Krenzel, Smith Talk Awards, Possible Miami Rematch

Craig Krenzel is up for the coveted Draddy Award, while Will Smith has been named to several All-American teams. The players discussed those honors as well as a potential rematch with Miami (Fla.) at the Orange Bowl.

OSU seniors Craig Krenzel and Will Smith met with the media this afternoon to discuss their various postseason awards as well as the team's possible Orange Bowl bid against Miami (Fla.).

Krenzel has been named as the Academic All-American of the Year, while Smith will be a first-team All-American on at least the Football Coaches and Walter Camp teams. Smith was previously named as the Big Ten defensive lineman and defensive player of the year.

Krenzel will venture to New York City later in the month to be honored as a National Football Foundation scholarship award winner. He will also be considered for the Vincent de Paul Draddy Award as the top scholar-athlete in college football. That award carries a substantial post-graduate scholarship as well.

Smith will join teammates B.J. Sander, a Ray Guy Award finalist, and Will Allen, also named to at least one All-American team, in Orlando next week for the College Football Awards Show on ESPN.

The team is practicing lightly the rest of the week before taking the first part of next week off for autumn quarter exams. Bowl preparations will resume next Thursday.

"This has given us an opportunity to get some guys some rest and get the health of the team back up," said Krenzel, who suffered a separated shoulder in the loss to Michigan. "Once we figure out who we're playing, we can do some preparation and some game planning as to the team we're going to see in January. We're going to focus the next few days on ourselves so we can come out and play a great game in January.

"We're at a point now where we're definitely glad to get some time off and get some rest to get our bodies where they need to be. At the same time, the last thing you want to do is practice all month and not have a game on Saturday."

Krenzel discussed the possibility that OSU could have a rematch with Miami (Fla.) in the Orange Bowl.

"We're hungry to play whatever game they throw at us," Krenzel said. "If we do get a rematch with Miami, I do think it would be interesting. There are a lot of people out there who don't think we should have won last year and this would be a chance for us to redeem ourselves. At the same time, they're not the same team they were last year and neither are we. In that respect, it doesn't matter. It would be another football game against another quality opponent."

He was asked about OSU's motivation if it plays Miami again.

"From a pride standpoint, you never want to lose," Krenzel said. "Obviously, we're not playing in the national championship game, so the implications won't be as large. But, at the same time, there are a bunch of seniors on this team. The last thing we want to do is go out and lose our last two games. It's the last time we will wear the Scarlet and Gray. We want to go out with some success."

Krenzel also talked about his chances to follow in the footsteps of Bobby Hoying, who won the Draddy Award in 1995.

"I believe there are 15 candidates (for the Draddy Award)," he said. "It would be a great honor and a great thing to have. We'll see what happens next week when we go out there."

Smith reflected on receiving postseason honors.

"It's an honor to receive these awards," he said. "The rest of the team helped me to receive these awards. Now I just want to finish the season on a high note."

Although the loss to Michigan was over a week ago, Smith said the pain from that defeat will linger for a while.

"You're going to be mad the rest of the year when you lose to Michigan," Smith said. "We made a lot of simple mistakes that we always talk about. We got away from our fundamentals. This month with bowl practice will give us a chance to focus back on those fundamentals.

"The defense, as a whole, I think we feel we did not play our best game. We want to finish this last game off, whoever we play, with a great defensive showing. We want to go out and play fast, stop the run and stop the pass and get back to what we‘re used to doing. We‘re going to be excited to play."

Smith also discussed the possibility of playing against Miami in the Orange Bowl.

"Miami is a different team from last year and we're a different team from last year as well," he said. "We just have to go in and play our game. It doesn't matter who we play. We just want to have a great defensive game. Whoever we play, we know we're going to play a great team."

Although the Orange Bowl game is now played at Pro Player Stadium and not Miami's home field at the Orange Bowl Stadium, some believe Miami would have an advantage by playing the bowl in their hometown. But Smith expects, if OSU is selected, that Buckeye fans will even the playing field.

"I don't think it would be a big deal," he said. "We have great fan support. They never really sell out the stadium (for their home games) so the OSU alums would probably sell it out for them."

Smith said he is looking forward to renewing some acquaintances with players from around the country in Orlando next week.

"I had the opportunity to go to the Playboy All-American team in April," he said. "I had a good time hanging around with the rest of the guys there. It's always an honor to go and hang out with your peers. There will probably be a lot of trash talking about who's team is better and why they lost or whatever. There will be a lot of joking around."

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