Legend of Troy: Smith Talks Ohio State, Braxton Miller, Urban Meyer, the CFL, Legacy

By Patrick Maks on August 2, 2014 at 6:00a
56 Comments

Eight years and 715 miles separate Troy Smith and Ohio State, but it’s still hard to believe the time elapsed since he last took a snap for the Buckeyes is pushing a decade.  

But the memories of No. 10 dancing in and around the pocket have been slower to fade. After all, Smith’s senior season, save for its final chapter, was about as storybook as it gets.

The year was more or less a highlight reel for the dazzling quarterback on the way to capturing the Heisman Trophy and the hearts of Buckeye fans across the nation in 2006.

With Smith at the helm and under the direction of former coach Jim Tressel, Ohio State finished 12-1 after losing to Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators in the national championship. It was an abrupt and anticlimactic end to an otherwise dominant campaign. But Smith's legacy remained intact.

After being drafted in the fifth round by the Baltimore Ravens and subsequent stints with the San Francisco 49ers, Omaha Nighthawks and Pittsburgh Steelers, Smith is currently the starting quarterback for the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes.

That’s a long way from his hometown of Cleveland and longer way from Ohio Stadium, the place where Smith, who’ll be inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame in September, forged his way into Buckeye lore.

In a recent interview with Eleven Warriors, Smith talks Meyer, Ohio State, senior quarterback Braxton Miller and playing in the CFL.


You’re a Heisman Trophy winner and had a lot of success during your senior season. What would your advice be to Braxton Miller, who’s looking to follow in your footsteps in more ways than one?

Troy Smith: Well, going into my senior season, I didn’t chase the Heisman, I didn’t chase any awards. There’s one thing that I did chase and I chased the admiration from my teammates, my staff and everybody that was within the football family at Ohio State. If I could give him any word of advice, it would be not to worry about any of the awards because the awards come with team accolades. Take care of your team, be the leader that you’re supposed to be as a quarterback and all those things will come necessary or when needed. That’s the advice that I would give him. That’s what I took into my senior season, incredible guys who I trusted and believed in and they were telling the truth and things came to fruition for me.

How often do you guys talk?

TS: I talk to Braxton pretty often. He’s an incredibly humble kid and he works harder than the quarterbacks that he’s going up against so I know that great things are ahead of him in his future. He’ll be the leader that we need him to be this year and I’m excited to watch Braxton Miller lead the Buckeyes.

At Big Ten Media Days Monday, Urban Meyer said it’s hard for an introverted quarterback to be a leader who can guide a team to championships. How important is it for Braxton Miller to be a vocal guy on the field? Is it important at all?

TS: My mother always told me that there was more than one way to Cleveland. In that essence, I’m trying to say is that there’s more than one way of getting it done and being effective. In a lot of cases, you don’t have to be the vocal guy when you are the physical guy. Obviously we’ve seen the guy, since he was a freshman, be an incredible percentage of the what the Buckeyes have going on. With that being said, he does all the talking with what he puts on the field. If he wants to keep this recipe going and we can continue winning, I don’t have a problem with how the way Braxton Miller goes about handling his business, treating people and becoming a man. If he’s going to continue being effective, have at it.

What do you think the biggest difference between Urban Meyer and Jim Tressel is?

TS: To tell you the truth, I haven’t been coached by Urban so I can’t tell you a difference there. But they’re winners. You’re looking for a difference, I think you should be just worried about the similarities and what they bring to the table. They bring a tradition, they bring a know-how with the way they want to go about playing football and preparing their athletes. And so far, it’s been two winners. Urban has won immediately, he has made and adopted a way of being a Buckeye around Columbus now that is very, very contagious just like Jim Tressel -- trickledown leadership of being a man and becoming a better person throughout life. Everyone of his guys has that instilled in them. I am a testament of it. So they are winners in both ways and have the ability to, so to speak, get people to buy into their system. I wouldn’t think and worry about the differences. Let’s just focus on the similarities.

When you look back at your time at Ohio State, what stands out to you the most?

The people. I’m in another country so there’s a glaring difference in Ohioans, Americans. But honestly, with the way the people treat one another up (in Montreal), there is no difference. There’s great people everywhere. I was blessed to be around a gang of incredible people at Ohio State and I am blessed to be around tremendous people in Montreal too. The people is what I remember the most but it’s an incredibly warm welcome here too.

What’s it been like playing in Montreal?

TS: It’s going pretty good. It’s going very well, getting a chance to be around the game that I love and rekindle the fire for this sport. It’s going tremendously well here in Montreal.

What been the biggest difference from playing at Ohio State and in the NFL compared to playing in the CFL?

TS: I would say in regards to football, there’s gang of different dimensions but I try to keep it as similar as possible in that honestly, in the Canadian football league, have to score more points than our opponent. You gotta throw to your guy right from the air, no turnovers. All those key things within football still exist here in the CFL, there’s just a couple different things that are glaring differences. The field is much longer and wider, there’s one additional player and there’s actually, coming off the jump, there’s an initial loss of downs.You work within the three-down perimeter as opposed to four. The play clock is sliced in half by 20 seconds so we only have 20 seconds to operate. There’s a gang of differences, but the main result, the main statistics that everyone pays attention to is wins and losses and if you play well or not. There’s still football here in Canada, but there are a couple of differences.

Do you want to play in the NFL again?

To tell you the truth man, I’m not thinking about that right now. I’m thinking about the CFL. I’m thinking the CFL season. I’m thinking about winning the Grey Cup. These are the most important things to me right now. The NFL is a tremendous opportunity and a blessing, but I’m definitely not thinking about that. The Montreal Alouettes are the most important thing to me.

You’re being inducted in the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony is in September, right?:

Yeah it is, but I won’t be able to come back because we have a football game, we play the Ottawa Redblacks, so I’ll actually be at work.

Do you think you’ll make it to any Ohio State games in Columbus next season?

TS: I don’t know man. I don’t think so. It’s not that far, its just I believe that if you are a starting quarterback you have to delve deep into what’s going on with the city, the organization and wholeheartedly be there. It’s a professional team up here so I have to be a professional.

56 Comments

Comments

Young_Turk's picture

It may be just a coincidence, but Canada's wolverine population is in steep decline.  

+57 HS
Big Papa's picture

Well said Young Turk. 

"To be the man you've gotta beat the man and just when you think you have all the answers, I change the question." The Nature Boy, Ric Flair

+1 HS
BuckeyeChief's picture

UV all day on this.

 

"Damn I miss El Guapo"

+1 HS
shortbus20's picture

Always a great competitor. Love his attitude.

  • shortbus20
+1 HS
Chief B1G Dump's picture

How many guys went from a throw in last scholarship "athlete" to kick returner to splitting time with a big time recruit to being suspended to then catapulting to wolverine slayer and Heisman winner???

Big ups TS10. 

+17 HS
awarren84's picture

1

"Anything less than flagrant is just playing grab ass!"

+9 HS
MN Buckeye's picture

I'll root for Troy and his gang any day.

+3 HS
BuckeyeDevil's picture

Hope his game translates well to the CFL and he has a successful future there. It is hard to believe it has been 8 years.

+1 HS
Prickly_Pete's picture

It seems just yesterday I watched him on senior day when he pawed his cleats on the ground like a bull and then ran out on the field to beat *ichigan one last time.

+1 HS
Frankly Scarlet's picture

One of my all-time favorite Buckeye moments.

I'm always a nervous disaster for the Big One, but watching him do that made me say to myself (over and over and over), "There is no way Troy Smith will allow this team to lose today. No way." 

 
"Buclkle your chinstrap, we're gonna grind meat!" - Woody Hayes  
 

mr.green's picture

I want his name in the stadium with our other Heisman winners. But I guess he needs to be there when it happens. Late Novwember would be nice. 

+4 HS
osu07asu10's picture

They've stopped retiring numbers. They may honor him in a special way but I doubt we ever see #10 taken off the shelves

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

Hovenaut's picture

Great read. Love hearing Troy talks with Braxton often. I think the influence older Buckeyes can have on current players is big. I'm not expecting Braxton to be Troy, but having someone you can talk to that's been through situations and can offer advice is a good thing.

I hope to catch some CFL football this season...wishing Troy continued success.

+2 HS
Byaaaahhh's picture

Honestly, when it comes to role models, Troy Smith is one of the best you could give Braxton. Not because he was perfect, but because he succeeded despite those mistakes. Who better to warn him of the pitfalls than Troy Smith?

+3 HS
Buckeye AuD's picture

Class act and all time great!  The kind of player you want young kids emulating with their on and off the field endeavors. Natural leader and role model.  My guy.

Buckeye AuD

+1 HS
swainpm's picture

Well said...cannot agree more.

DaytonBuck1980's picture

It's too bad that Troy can't be there for his own induction. Not only for him missing out on a great moment but also I would expect the shoe to be as loud as ever when they introduce him. 

Still not giving a damn for the whole state of Michigan. 

+5 HS
Go Buckeyes14's picture

Classiest guy in the world. I catch the argo's on ESPN here and there and Troy can still slangggg it!

+1 HS
Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Troy Smith is one of my favorite Buckeyes!  He was heading down the wrong path but had the intelligence to listen Tressel and turned it all around.  His dominance over TTUN was just plain astounding! 

Living in Toronto, I had the opportunity to watch the game last night between Montreal and Toronto - uff, Troy was not Troy like and looked really awful!  I hope he rights the ship and gets back to playing like we know he can!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

whiskeyjuice's picture

Ahhhhhhhhhhh, savoring good memories of tearing up that team up north! Especially that time (2005 I think) when Troy made that last scoring drive with under a 1:30 left on their turf, no less. Good stuff.

"You'll find out that nothing that comes easy is worth a dime. As a matter of fact, I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face." -- Wayne Woodrow Hayes

+1 HS
IGotAWoody's picture

Yep, 2005! That game winning drive had the famous Troy scramble, then heave a perfect strike to Gonzalez down to the 5 yard line. Several plays later, Pittman thru a huge hole on the left side for the TD! Good guys win, 25-21!!

That pass was one of the most clutch plays of the 2005 season. Oh what might-have-been if Troy had played the entire season from fall camp on.

 - License to kill gophers (wolverines, badgers, etc) by the government of the United Nations

+6 HS
Phillips.449's picture

I still get worked up watching that play.

+4 HS
THEOSUfan's picture

The best wolverine killer I have ever seen.  Could any Ohio State player have a better title than that?

+2 HS
rosycheeks's picture

Troy may think it's going well, but it doesn't seem like it's going that great. He got the yank last night. His lack of success at the pro level is stunning to me. I mean, I thought he'd be successful in the NFL, and the fact he's just another mediocre CFL QB just does not equate with me.

http://cfl.ca/article/boatmen-grind-out-important-win-over-alouettes

-3 HS
What Would Troy Smith Do's picture

My absolute favorite Buckeye and it isn't even close.

+1 HS
Habu71's picture

I began following TOSU sports in the early 70's, I'll just say it started with Archie. You can add in all the great names yourself, there are so many from those days up through today. What I will remember and appreciate about Troy Smith the most, is how I knew he'd make a play. When Zwick was in I hoped he could/would do it. When Troy came in, I knew he could and would. I always felt like that team around him thought the same. Troy Smith was special, and will go down as one of the all time greats and rightfully so. 

+2 HS
Myc24's picture

Glad to see Troy getting his shot in the Great White North. He's probably my favorite player of all time, and when the Ravens drafted him, I literally cheered. Things didn't work out for him there for a lot of reasons, but I hope he gets that Cup and another shot to start in the NFL. Great guy, Buckeye Legend, and a true class act. Couldn't ask for more. 

"Because I couldn't go for three!"  - Wayne Woodrow Hayes

+1 HS
swainpm's picture

11W Staff you guys already do sooo much BUT it would be awesome to get updates on how Kenny G and Troy are faring in their seasons. Many of us are still holding out hope to see Troy head an NFL squad. If Kurt Warner could do it why not Troy?

+1 HS
PasadenaBuckeye626's picture

I love the dedication.  True leader

Go Bucks!

andretolstoy's picture

I love Troy. One of favorite QBs at THEosu. He is the best combination of running and throwback QB. The prototype. But He seemed to have had a psychological or confidence melt down after Baltimore. I'd love to see him recover. I hope that I see him recover and come back in the NFL. My worry is that he's spent.

There is something that happens to successful college QBs during that recruiting process. Especially if they don't "fit the mold" that the media keeps hyping i.e. size, system, whatever. I mean look at Kenny. G. The guy succeeded at Ohio State. He won big games. And he wasn't picked up by an NFL team? That has nothing to do with talent. It's more superstition than it is gauging of talent ...

Eph97's picture

One of my favorite Buckeyes. I know he received a lot of flak for his play against UF, but I don't think anything could have been done to beat UF that night the way they played. Having Ginn would have made the score closer, but it wouldn't have been enough with UF's d-line in the backfield instantly on every snap it seemed.

sb97's picture

11W: What do you think the biggest difference between Urban Meyer and Jim Tressel is?

TS: To tell you the truth, I haven’t been coached by Urban so I can’t tell you a difference there. But they’re winners. You’re looking for a difference, I think you should be just worried about the similarities and what they bring to the table. They bring a tradition, they bring a know-how with the way they want to go about playing football and preparing their athletes. And so far, it’s been two winners. Urban has won immediately, he has made and adopted a way of being a Buckeye around Columbus now that is very, very contagious just like Jim Tressel -- trickledown leadership of being a man and becoming a better person throughout life. Everyone of his guys has that instilled in them. I am a testament of it. So they are winners in both ways and have the ability to, so to speak, get people to buy into their system. I wouldn’t think and worry about the differences. Let’s just focus on the similarities.

Well said.

+3 HS
seafus26's picture

I believe that if you are a starting quarterback you have to delve deep into what’s going on with the city, the organization and wholeheartedly be there. It’s a professional team up here so I have to be a professional.

Those are words we'll never hear from Johnny Football. Best of luck Troy!!!

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

+4 HS
Patriot4098's picture

To be fair, there is a hefty age difference between the two. Smith is a matured man.

"Evil shenanigans!"     - Mac

seafus26's picture

I agree and Johnny Football never had the privledge of being molded by Jim Tressel, either. 

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

+1 HS
45has2's picture

Oh, Johnny boy said the words but his actions speak louder.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

ISURVIVEDCOOPER's picture

He wrote himself into Buckeye lore and has showed what it means to be a leader with such contagious character.  You can even sense that swagger and ruggedness/ toughness by how measured his responses are to the questions.

Definitely miss watching play him play in our Scarlet and Gray, but love watching him represent us so well

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

BuckeyeGrownFloridaLiving's picture

Hoping Braxton can have as much Senior success as Troy did, plus holding up the championship trophy at the end of the season.

tussey's picture

He will forever be one of my favorite Buckeyes

+1 HS
VarsityClubMD's picture

This pass in 2006.  An absolute "laser" beam. Kept a key possession alive.

Dot this

BroJim's picture

No question Troy earned the Hall of Fame nod. Such a great Buckeye!

I season my simple food with hunger

2morrow's picture

More than anything - you could see the improvement in him from year to year - from a somewhat accurate - run at the first sign of pressure - QB to a QB who seemed to mainly scramble to give his receivers more time to get open. If Braxton can reach that level - with his talent this year - then it will be another special year in Columbus.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

One of my favorite Troy moments was him coming out for The Game doing his 'bull' hoofing the ground bit!!!  Awesome - especially when you back it up with a victory!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

teddyballgame's picture

I love me some Troy

AGAB's picture

The statement he gave in response to the question that was posed regarding Tress and Urban was so classy. What was super young man. I hope he is able to return to The Shoe sometime this season so we can show him how much we love and appreciate him.

Good luck Troy !!!

BrutusBuckey3's picture

Troy Smith. Truly a Holy Buckeye

hit_the_couch's picture

But the memories of No. 10 dancing in and around the pocket have been slower to fade. After all, Smith’s senior season, save for its final chapter, was about as storybook as it gets.

I usually only read half of a sentence. When I saw 'memories of No. 10 dancing' I thought he was on Dancing with the Stars. He probably should have been, and I bet he would have won too.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

D-Day0043's picture

I still have my number 10 Fiesta Bowl Jersey in the closet. 

I had recently moved south and my mother came down to visit for Christmas, she bought me that jersey and I thought it was the coolest gift I had ever gotten. I talked mad $hit to these southerners. I was convinced there was no way they would lose, and I watched in stunned disbelief while Florida dismantled us. I haven't been able to bring myself to wear it since, because of that damn Fiesta Bowl patch.... I have tried every way in the world to get that patch off without damaging the jersey, but it's not happening.

Lesson kids: don't talk smack... TOSU was a better team, and they showed what could happen when you take your opponent for granted.

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

patriot-missile's picture

The ultimate Wolverine Slayer that bleeds scarlet and gray. My favorite OSU quarterback of all time. Buckeye Nation salutes you Troy!

Kellen Winslow - Where can I get a sweater vest like yours?
Jim Tressel - Hit the weight room and you can borrow one of mine.

45has2's picture

How can that be when there is Kirk Herbstreit?

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

sivaDavis's picture

Take care of your team, be the leader that you’re supposed to be as a quarterback and all those things will come necessary or when needed.

....Troy, point to a wall and I will run through said wall, sir.

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

GreatLakesMike's picture

Smith to Robiskie. Still amazing. 

iball's picture

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxH-uAVVKA4

Troy Smith Alouettes highlights.

Id like to see more coverage of Buckeyes at the next level. Even if it is the CFL, Im proud of our guys.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

+1 HS
iball's picture

BTW...one of Troy's targets...Duron Carter

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09RqJsS_WDw

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

Barnsey69's picture

His tale is the blueprint for every college player that doesn't come in with the fabled blue-chip 5 star label...chips & stars don't mean shit when you strap it up. He worked and made the most of his opportunity when it came around. Seems like he is still doing that today. One of the best, if not the best , Buckeye QB's ever. 

Thank you #10 for all the memories.

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes!