Ohio State Selects Captains

The secret might have been given away when they appeared on the front of the media guide together. But on Friday, Ohio State made it official: A.J. Hawk, Nate Salley, Nick Mangold and Rob Sims were selected as the Buckeyes' 2005 captains. We have comments from all four players.

The Ohio State football team announced its 2005 captains on Friday.

As many expected, the four captains are: linebacker A.J. Hawk, safety Nate Salley and offensive linemen Nick Mangold and Rob Sims.

The players and coaches voted Thursday evening and only seniors were eligible to be named captain.

"These young men realize the responsibilities of being a captain at Ohio State," head coach Jim Tressel said. "They have been great leaders throughout the summer and in camp. I am not surprised at their selection."

Hawk seemed like an obvious selection, but he said he was not expecting it.

"We've got such a great senior class here," Hawk said. "I was kind of surprised and it's a huge honor to be named a captain here. I've said before, we're just four representatives of this whole senior class. We're not anything special. We're just here to represent everyone."

Hawk always takes the humble approach. He was asked if being voted captain was one of his goals this season.

"Not really, because being named captain is not going to win us any games," he said. "But like I said, it's a huge honor with all the tradition we have here at Ohio State and everyone that's been named captain before. So, I wouldn't say it was one of my goals, but I'm obviously pretty happy it happened."

Hawk leads by example. He's not extremely vocal, but says he won't change the way he acts now that he is a captain.

"I don't think so, because I think the guys that voted for us, I don't think they want us to change," he said. "They don't want us to act any different. Just keep doing what we're doing and keep this team on the right path. So, I don't feel like I need to be any more vocal. I'll talk when I need to and hopefully will be respected."

Hawk and the rest of his teammates will get Saturday off now that camp has wrapped up. The Buckeyes will begin game-planning for Miami University on Monday.

"Yeah, that will be nice to get out of here for a little bit," Hawk said. "Then come back and we're ready to have game week. That's what we come here for is to play games and we're finally here."

More than anything, Hawk is happy to have the respect of his teammates and coaches. He's somewhat of a national celebrity now, but that kind of stuff is not important to him.

"People on the outside – the media, or other people don't like how you play – everyone has their opinion," he said. "But you want to earn the respect of your teammates and coaches and hopefully being named captain shows that the guys do have some respect for you and feel like you can help this team move in the right direction."

* Mangold said last week that he was trying to establish a leadership role on the team. Therefore, being named a captain was a goal of his.

"I think as time has gone on here at Ohio State, it was a little bit," Mangold said. "But, it wasn't one of those things where I was going to go out and campaign myself or anything. It just kind of came into it. But as the years went on, going into my junior year, I was thinking, ‘Well, maybe I have a chance.' It's a really great honor to be voted by all the players and coaches. It's everything you could dream of."

When asked to give the best part of being a captain at OSU, Mangold said: "The leadership you get to provide and also where you sit in your teammates' minds. Apparently they hold us to a high level and that is really appreciated by us four."

Mangold doesn't think his job on or off the field will be any different now that he is a captain.

"I don't think it really changes too much," he said. "I've been working on being a leader with the offense – especially the offensive line. And now Robbie and I have a new title, but I don't really think it changes all that much."

* Hawk might not be a vocal leader, but Salley is. The hard-hitting safety can always be heard talking it up on the field and encouraging his teammates.

"I'm probably a little more vocal of a guy than most of them," Salley said. "I feel like I have fun on the field and fly around and just bring a lot of energy like I've been doing since I got here."

Salley was asked if it was a goal of his to be named captain.

"I don't know if it was a goal, but it's always a dream," he said. "I remember Troy Smith, my freshman year, he told me, ‘You'll be a captain once.' Ever since then, he's been telling me every year, ‘It's coming up; it's coming up.' And then this year, he was like, ‘Watch, it's going to happen.' It happened and it's a great feeling."

Salley explained how the players and coaches voted for captains.

"Last night we had a team meeting and (Tressel) told all the seniors to sit up front. Then all the guys wrote down on a piece of paper two defensive guys and two offensive guys. Then they put it in a box and they told us the results today before the rehearsal scrimmage."

Salley also commented on the other three captains.

"They're great guys," he said. "We have some great guys at captain. Rob, Nick, A.J. are great guys and I believe that's the reason the guys chose us because we've been doing positive things since we've been here. We've been working hard and being leaders on and off the field and I believe people see that when you live that kind of lifestyle. That's why they don't have a problem with us being their leaders right now."

* Sims might have been the happiest of the bunch. He made it no secret that he wanted to be captain and now it's finally reality for him.

"It's a great honor and I'm so happy to be able to lead this team," Sims said. "We've got 16 great seniors and I'm just glad I was one of the ones picked to be captain to lead this team to a national championship.

"This is really like a dream come true for me. I remember being a freshman and going to the national championship and watching Mike Doss and Donnie Nickey and those guys be the types of captains they were, it's a great feeling to have the opportunity to be one of those guys."

Sims does not think his role will change much.

"I don't think it's any different," he said. "I just have to keep leading by example and keep guys up. We had the best camp that I've ever been a part of and as long as I keep everybody thinking that we've just got to take this thing one game at a time, I think that's my main job."

What has made this camp so good in Sims' opinion?

"Just in the hustle," he said. "Usually guys are just trying to get by because camp can get real strenuous. But everybody was out there trying to get better every single day." Sims and Mangold are close friends and are thrilled to be able to serve the team as captains together.

"Me and Nick were sitting there talking last night about all the things we've been through together," Sims said. "National championship, ups and downs over the last few years. It's real good, because that's always been my man, that's always been my guy. So, I'm very happy for Nick too."

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