From press conferences and postgame interviews to locker room speeches that gained Internet fame, the following 11 lines from Ohio State’s year in sports were among those that were worth remembering – and are worth reminiscing on once again – well after they were spoken.
“Sometimes the light shines brightly on me. Other times, I can barely see. Lately, it’s occured to me, what a long, strange trip it’s been.”– Thad Matta
As Thad Matta held his final press conference as Ohio State’s coach on June 5, he invoked a lyric from a Grateful Dead song, “Truckin’,” which he said summed up his emotions as his 13-year tenure leading the Buckeyes men’s basketball program came to an end.
While Matta was forced out as Ohio State’s coach this summer, the light certainly shined brightly on him during the glory years of his tenure coaching the Buckeyes, highlighted by a pair of Final Four trips in 2007 and 2012.
“My biggest motivation that game was that his name is Baker. It was like, ‘I’m the real Baker.’”– Jerome Baker
While Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield was certainly “the real Baker” this year, leading the Sooners to a 31-16 win over Ohio State en route to winning the Heisman Trophy, Jerome Baker’s preseason quote reminiscing on his performance in the Buckeyes’ 2016 win over Oklahoma was still one of the most memorable lines of the season.
Although Baker didn’t play up to his own expectations in 2017, he really might have been the best Baker on the field in Norman, Oklahoma in 2016, when he recorded seven total tackles, 1.5 sacks and returned an interception 68 yards for a touchdown in a breakout performance that helped lead the Buckeyes to a 45-24 win that year.
“During the season, I’m focused on flipping the field.”– Drue Chrisman
Ohio State punter Drue Chrisman gained viral fame before he even appeared in a game for the Buckeyes. The punter got more than 1,000 retweets on Twitter this summer when he posted a video of his impressive bottle flipping skills. Chrisman made it clear that his focus during the season was on punting, however, with the clever above response to a question about his water bottle flipping ability during an interview session on Sept. 12.
Chrisman’s focus on football has paid off this season, as he has averaged nearly 44 yards per punt – ranking 23rd in the FBS in average yards per punt – and has proven more than capable in his first of potentially four seasons succeeding Cameron Johnston as Ohio State’s punter.
“I’m just ready to get back home to my girlfriend.”– Johnnie Dixon
When Johnnie Dixon caught three passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns in Ohio State’s 56-0 win over Rutgers on Sept. 30, he had never had a more productive game in his Buckeyes career, so the fourth-year junior wide receiver certainly had reason to celebrate.
Dixon was candid in his postgame interview, though, admitting that with an overnight trip back from Piscataway ahead of him, the one thing he really wanted was to get back to Columbus and see his significant other.
We’ll let you draw your own conclusions from there.
“Tim May, you remember that. You’re like, older than dirt.”– Urban Meyer
When Urban Meyer was asked before the Buckeyes’ trip to Kinnick Stadium whether he had been to Iowa before, Ohio State’s coach replied that he had made the trip when he was a graduate assistant for the Buckeyes in 1986 – and then took the opportunity to joke with a longtime veteran of the Ohio State beat.
Meyer made the joke after recalling that Ohio State’s regular left tackle that season, Larry Kotterman, was injured in the trip to Iowa, prompting him to be replaced by Tim Moxley. When May, who has covered the Buckeyes for The Columbus Dispatch since 1984, replied that he could remember a Cris Carter catch from that game “like it was five seconds ago,” Meyer needled May again for not remembering the left tackle switch.
“Don’t act like you know,” Meyer said. “You didn’t know.”
“We want the big, wide ass … I probably shouldn’t say that.”– Urban Meyer
Meyer had another candid moment – then realized perhaps he should have phrased himself differently – when he used the above quote to describe what the Buckeyes look for in an offensive guard during his press conference on Nov. 20.
It might not be the most politically correct description for a recruiting strategy, but it’s worked; with 6-foot-7, 310-pound left guard Michael Jordan and 6-foot-4, 308-pound right guard between Demetrius Knox in between also-large offensive linemen Jamarco Jones, Billy Price and Isaiah Prince, Ohio State’s offensive line was dominant down the stretch of the 2017 season.
“J.T. is a member of the Meyer family and the Buckeye family for the rest of his life.”– Urban Meyer
While J.T. Barrett’s Ohio State legacy has been a source of debate all season among football analysts and Buckeye fans, there is no debate among his coaches and teammates, who have consistently praised his leadership and consider him to be among Ohio State’s all-time greats.
No one has shown more gratitude for Barrett’s contributions to the Buckeyes than his head coach, who made perhaps his strongest statement of his appreciation for his quarterback on Nov. 13, demonstrating that he expects to have a continued bond with Barrett for many years to come even though his Ohio State career is about to come to an end.
“Long live the brotherhood.”– Billy Price
That four-word phrase became the Ohio State football team’s motto over the course of the season, especially after it was uttered in a postgame locker room speech by senior leader Billy Price after the Buckeyes’ loss to Iowa, a postgame speech that would then be featured in the Buckeyes’ hype trailer for their game the following week against Michigan State.
Price’s speech was so good, in fact, that Old Dominion decided to steal the audio for one of its own football hype videos. More significantly, though, it cemented “Long live the brotherhood” as a message that the Buckeyes have continued to live by ever since – and likely a phrase that will continue to be uttered by Buckeyes even after Price is gone in 2018.
“I’ve never had a kid play perfect, but damn, he was close tonight.”– Urban Meyer on J.T. Barrett
That was how Ohio State’s coach described his quarterback’s performance against Penn State, when Barrett completed 33 of 39 passing attempts – including his final 16 passes of the game – for 328 yards and four touchdowns, while also running for 95 yards on 17 carries, to lead the Buckeyes to their greatest moment of the season in defeating Penn State, 39-38, with a Barrett-led fourth-quarter comeback.
After what Meyer said he believed at the time was the greatest comeback of his coaching career, he also said Barrett’s performance in that game was “one of the best I’ve ever seen a quarterback play.”
Barrett’s game against Penn State might go down as one of the best performance of his Ohio State career, and Meyer’s postgame quote captured that moment of greatness.
“You got barbecue back there? And you didn’t invite me? Hurt my feelings!”– Gus Johnson
Although this wasn’t a quote by an Ohio State coach or player, it was simply too good a quote to leave off the list.
While Ohio State fans had the pleasure this season of listening to many Gus Johnson broadcasts, which are always entertaining, no Gus Johnson calls this year was more iconic than his ad-lib after Denzel Ward’s big hit – which was erroneously penalized as targeting, but was actually just a perfectly timed hit – to force an incomplete pass against Maryland.
“People calling me fat on Twitter, I’m not fat. I’m just a little thick around the edges.”– Robert Landers
Perhaps the most quote-worthy moment of the year came on a play that didn’t even count.
Robert Landers’ rumble to the end zone in the season opener against Indiana was called back after Hoosiers quarterback Richard Lagow’s fumble was ruled to be an incomplete pass, but the defensive tackle’s run for six still stands as one of the most memorable moments of Ohio State’s 2017 football season.
It was a moment that brought joy to Landers and his fellow teammates, and led to many great quotes among them, fellow defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis included.
“I don’t think nobody thought anything like that would happen, so we all laughing on the field,” Lewis said. “I even look at the Indiana players, and they laughed. And I’m like ‘Dang! This is really funny.’ It’s probably the funniest thing I’ve ever seen on the football field.”
The best quote among them, though, came when Landers – with a laugh – said he took offense to his play being called a “fat guy touchdown.”
Landers’ clarification on his body composition takes the No. 1 spot as our Best Quote of 2017.
As the calendar year of 2017 enters its final week, it’s time to look back at some of the most memorable quotes uttered by Ohio State athletes, coaches and even one from a broadcaster who called a Buckeyes game this year.