Grandma a hit with the press

Published: Friday, January 5, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 5, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Ohio State defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock never envisioned his grandmother would become the star of his own press conference.

But that's just what happened Thursday.

Pitcock's grandmother, Kitty Church, lives next door to where Thursday's press conferences were held at the Camelback Inn Resort. So Pitcock called and asked her to come with him to soak in the madness.

"He called me this morning and told me to come over," Church said. "It was a surprise. I had to take my trash out first."

As a mass of reporters crowded around Pitcock, Church stood idly by watching. Slowly, reporters learned who she was.

By the time Pitcock was halfway into his press conference a crowd of reporters had stopped talking to him and had surrounded his 70-year-old grandmother.

"Oh, my. I didn't expect all of this," Church said.

Church has not seen her grandson since Ohio State was in town for last year's Fiesta Bowl.

"She is my number one fan out west," Pitcock said. "It's been a blessing that I've been able to come out here to the Fiesta Bowl to see her pretty much every year."

Church said she has a good idea who the best player on the field will be come Monday night.

"I know he's the best player ever," Church said. "But I'm a bit prejudice."

Smith says he's a go

Buckeyes senior defensive back Antonio Smith said Thursday his injured shoulder will not limit him in Monday's BCS title game.

Smith injured his shoulder in practice back in Columbus prior to the team's arrival in Phoenix on Dec. 30.

"It's getting better every day," Smith said. "I just fell on it at practice."

Asked if he initially thought the injury would keep him out of the title game, Smith said: "It's the biggest game of all time for me. I'll be all right. I'm doing well."

Smith has been the only Buckeye with limited contact this week. Coach Jim Tressel said the remainder of his team is healthy following Thursday's practice.

This and that

Tressel said his players are beginning to get anxious for Monday's game, but have maintained a high level of focus. "Our guys do a good job of mixing their pleasure with staying focused and getting rested and preparing," Tressel said. "I think they get more anxious the closer we get to the game, and you can feel the anxiousness and that's a good thing." ... Defensive tackle Joel Penton said that because Florida uses two quarterbacks, the Buckeyes have been using two different quarterbacks on the scout team to simulate both looks.

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