Pittman Plans To Keep It Rolling

It was a good first start for Ohio State tailback Antonio Pittman against Miami University last week. Looking ahead to the Texas game, Pittman will be a big key as the Buckeyes hope to control the clock and wear down the Longhorns. We caught up with Pittman this week who reflected on the Miami game and looked ahead to the big match-up with the Longhorns.

Sophomore tailback Antonio Pittman started for the first time in his college career in Ohio State's 34-14 win over Miami last week.

It was a good debut for the 5-11, 200-pound Pittman who carried the ball 14 times for 100 yards.

"I felt that I had a good game," Pittman said. "I feel as if I did well, but I give it all up to the line. They opened up the holes for me and made it possible."

Rushing for 100 yards in his first start was a nice boost for Pittman's confidence.

"My confidence is good. I was always confident," he said. "I'm confident in my line – never had any doubt about that. I feel as if they have more confidence in me now and I think by them having more confidence in me, that makes them want to go out and block for me more."

Pittman seems to be running harder this year. Running with more purpose and determination.

"I'm just being more patient," he said. "I always ran hard. I give it all up to the line, you know, they made the holes and all I could do is run through them."

Pittman was asked why OSU's offensive line looks better this year.

"I think it's more experience and I think they've got a lot of confidence in me and that makes them want to go out there and get a hold of people," he said.

Pittman was determined to be the starting tailback this year and he worked hard during the offseason. Now that it's finally his time to shine, he's ready to make the most out of it.

"It feels good to be the starter," Pittman said. "It's something that I've dreamed about and it finally came true last week. I started my first game, but that was just one of many. Got to keep it rolling."

But he's not letting his guard down. He knows there are good backs behind him on the depth chart that would love to take his job.

"Yeah, being the starter, you always stay motivated because you want to stay as the number one guy, from the start of the season, to the end of the season," Pittman said. "You always have to feel somewhat threatened. Because just as hungry as you were to get that spot, there's people behind you that's just as hungry as you were last year. So, you always have to keep fighting and stay on your toes."

Pittman is anxious to play in this Saturday's prime time showdown against Texas. He knows the nation will be watching.

"It's my first night game at the 'Shoe and it's going to be a big one," he said. "I'm very excited. Got to come out there and prove myself again and go out there and have a big game."

Pittman was asked what he has seen from Texas' defense on film.

"They have a similar defense as ours," he said. "Linebackers that can run; D-linemen that can move good; safeties that can come up and bring it. It will be a good battle.

"I'm up for the job. It's a great defense, but we've got a good offensive line and we've got a good offense."

Pittman was asked what makes the Texas game so special. Is it because it's a night game? Is it because the Buckeyes are playing against the No. 2 team in the nation? Is it because OSU wants to prove that it is a national championship contender?

"Yeah, basically everything," Pittman said. "It's just something that everybody wants to perform their best that game because everybody is going to be watching you. It's a night game, it's the second game of the season, it's No. 2 vs. (No. 4), it could be the game of the year. So, it's going to be a good one."

Even during Florida State's 10-7 victory over the University of Miami last Monday on national television, the announcers talked throughout the game about the big OSU-UT match-up.

"Yeah, that's real good," Pittman said. "That goes to show how much attention and how much focus is on this game. I know (Monday) night, I didn't miss a play of that game and that's just being from another team. I just wanted to see a good game and that's what we saw. I can see other teams watching us like that."

Pittman was happy to see his teammate and friend Ted Ginn Jr. on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week.

"It's a good thing," he said. "It's good recognition for Teddy and it will bring a lot of focus on our team. I like it. It's good for us."

Pittman said prior to the season that his personal goal was 1,500 rushing yards. Well, he "only" has 1,400 to go.

"Yeah, that's still my goal," he said.

Pittman was asked if Ohio State has a "base" running play.

"I don't think there is one," he replied. "There's so many different formations that we can line up in now. I wouldn't even say we have a base running play."

But what about the "power O" play where a guard pulls? That used to be the staple of OSU's offense.

"It's still there," Pittman said. "It's just out of so many formations now."

The evolution of Ohio State's offense has been nothing short of amazing. The Bucks went from being a conservative, running team; to a shotgun-spread team in less than a year.

"It's so much speed on the field at one time now; the offense that we run now fits everybody," Pittman said. "The speed of Ted, Santonio (Holmes), (Anthony) Gonzalez, Troy (Smith), me. It fits. It makes you run; spreads you out."

With kickoff set for 8:10 p.m. Saturday, it will make for a long day for the Buckeye players. But Pittman says he does not plan on sleeping in.

"I'll get up early," he said. "I'll watch football games all day, play some video games, listen to some music – just get focused, get in the mindset of the game.

"When it's time to take care of business, it's time to take care of business. That's the only thing that will be on my mind."

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