December 1, 2006

Back to business

As the college football season heads into the final weekend of the regular season the Buckeyes will take an opportunity to get back into the swing of things in preparation for the BCS Championship game against a yet to be determined opponent. With memories of the Michigan victory being nearly two weeks old now, how is the team getting into the football groove over the weekend?

"This weekend? We've got practice Saturday, if you want to include Friday into the weekend we have practice on Friday also, practice Saturday," quarterback Troy Smith said. "Then our team banquet is this Sunday, so I will be getting back acclimated with football."

But with practices starting back up will the team have an opportunity to watch any football action on television?

"Oh yeah, if you are a college football player I am sure you find time to plug into whatever TV you can to find whichever game is on, and just watch football," Smith said. "I am just a fan of college football so I watch it every time I get a chance."

With so many big games this weekend including the USC/UCLA and Florida/Arkansas game on television, will the team watch the game together as a group?

"You know, I hadn't thought about that, I am glad you brought that up, that's a good idea," Smith said. "I'm going to use that to lobby to my teammates and we can get together and I can enjoy a little bit more time with my guys before the season's end."

With no bye week this season the team played 12 straight weeks without a break, now the team is in the midst of over a seven week break. Is there any fear that the team will lose their edge?

"We're not finished, not by a long shot," Smith said. "Everybody's thirst and hunger was not just to get through the regular season, it's to have a chance at a national championship. We do have that chance and this is the beginning of the end, but it doesn't seem that way to everybody.

Has it been difficult for the team watching other teams still playing while they are done and having to work in the classroom?

"It's not hard, it's not hard at all," Smith said. "Because once you have an understanding that you are going to play in that game, you prepare as if you are going to play in that game. You have to finish up school here; we are on quarters so our school situation is totally different. So we finish up here and that is totally enough for everybody here and they keep us busy football-wise and our staff whether it be football wise or academically they do a great job with keeping us busy and letting us know that even though we play football we still have school and things like that to finish, so we stay busy around here."

Knowing that he only has one game left in his collegiate career, how does Smith think he has grown as a player in his time in Columbus?

"I guess I would have to say my leadership skills and my ability to try and accommodate to pretty much every teammate that suits up for us," Smith said. "I think it is imperative that you have to get to know everybody, it's not easy to do but anything worth having is not easy. It is definitely worth having the love of every single one of your teammates so I strive to do just that, I strive to be friends and be cool with every single one of my guys, because without them, every single guy on the team would not be in this situation."

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