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OL T.J. Downing (official thread)


I just finished watching and rewatching the 1st half of the Spring game.
If anyone else happened to tape it, isolate on Downing at RT for the Scarlet. He looks good. I am very impressed

Standouts for me at this point is Zwick, Hollins, Pittman, Richardson.
Hollins looks like a kid that could get yards after the catch.
Zwick has been very poised. The drive for a TD was masterful on his part.
Downing talks about holidays past. Bollman gave the O linemen DVDs for Christmas.

Downing used to adjusting
Offensive lineman knows holidays go on despite changes
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Tim May
T.J. Downing, who took a flight to Phoenix yesterday, has his fond memories to turn to whenever his Christmas routine is altered.

Take it from T.J. Downing. No 7-year-old boy likes ripping open a well-decorated package on Christmas morning, only to find socks and underwear. Sometimes it takes 10 or 15 years to appreciate such a moment.

So it is for Downing. Now a burly, 21-year-old offensive lineman for Ohio State, he remembers such Christmas mornings while growing up in Coatesville, Pa. His family would hop into the car and make the annual visits to the grandparents’ homes not far away.

"I guess it’s what you would call a good old traditional Christmas," Downing said. "We’d make the stops, and at one place you could always expect it: One of the packages was going to be full of socks and underwear. Every year.

"And my dad’s father, he would always give me these nice, polished silver balls, and he’d give my sister a windup bell that would play a Christmas song."

At the time, Downing wasn’t sure what to do with those silver balls. Now he cherishes them. They represent golden memories. Because Christmas hasn’t been the same since his parents’ divorce in 1994.

The family had moved to Canton, where his father, Walt, a former center at Michigan and for the Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49 ers, had taken a new job. T.J. was 10 at the time of the split.

With it came an obvious change on Christmas mornings. Downing still did double-dip visits, but it evolved into being with his mother, Sue, and sister, Kristen, in the morning, then going with his sister to visit their father in the afternoon.

"Those first couple of years were tough on all of us, but especially the kids," Sue said. "T.J. didn’t really complain. He kind of kept it all inside, the same way he handles things today.

"But I know he was very hurt. We talked about it again just the other night. (The divorce) was a tough decision that had to be made. I told him I did what was right for all of us."

Even if such situations are common now, life is never simple again for those involved.

"As a kid you adjust and you grow into the new way of doing things, but really, it sucks," T.J. said. "You always wish you could be a normal family again, although, really, what is normal these days?

"But you do always wish you could go back and have those traditional Christmas mornings, with Mom and Dad sitting there, and you’re all opening presents under the tree. Obviously the world is not perfect. You’ve got to adjust and work within your environment."

In that case, even the new T.J. Downing Christmas tradition has been gang-tackled by Ohio State football bowl trips of late.

For example, Downing was scheduled to take a late flight out of Columbus late yesterday for Phoenix, where the Buckeyes will convene Monday to begin practice for the Jan. 2 Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame. Why leave Christmas Eve? OSU players receive the equivalent of a nonrestricted one-way coach airline ticket for the flight out, then they can make their own arrangements, and they get to keep the money they save.

Last year at this time, on the other hand, the Buckeyes were already in San Antonio preparing for the Alamo Bowl. It was the first time Downing missed a Christmas with his family.

"That was really hard," Sue Downing said. "My daughter and I sat around the breakfast table and cried that morning because we missed him so much. He is such a sweet young man. But we all got to see him a couple of days later in San Antonio."

On Friday, T.J., his mother and sister did their customary gift swapping. Later in the evening, T.J. and Kristen moved on to the home of their father, who has remarried and now has a baby daughter.

"The toughest thing anymore is just dealing with the lack of time, with all the friends you need to see, being with your family, and also having the Fiesta Bowl on your mind," T.J. said. (Offensive coodinator Jim) Bollman wished us a merry Christmas. Oh, and he also sent along a DVD with some of Notre Dame’s blitz packages on it for us to watch when we got the chance during our break."

Downing laughed, but he admitted that football has changed his Christmas traditions.

"Even at this time of the year I have one focus on my mind, and that’s to better myself as a football player and go play a great game against Notre Dame," He said. "It’s great to enjoy the holidays, but you’ve got to handle business first."

Besides, Christmas has never been quite the same since those halcyon days of socks and underwear and shiny silver balls.

"I’ve been careful to save those silver balls," Downing said. "I’m sure I will be hanging those up around my house when I get to be 50 or 60, just for the memories they’ll bring."

[email protected]
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When T.J. Downing’s football career is over, he could have a life as a comic. Downing has been the butt of plenty of Coach Jim Tressel’s barbs in practice because of a comment he made in the Columbus Dispatch. Downing told the paper what he liked to do on a day off, which was go to the pool and check out the babes. “Yeah,” Downing said, “it also got me in trouble with some of my Columbus girlfriends.”
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When an OL's on the cover, it's gotta go into his thread, also.


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[FONT=Verdana,Times New Roman,arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Downing has spot up front[/FONT]
Friday, August 18, 2006 [FONT=Verdana,Times New Roman,arial,helvetica,sans-serif]By Todd Porter REPOSITORY SPORTS WRITER[/FONT]

During his six seasons in the NFL, Walt Downing can count on one hand the number of times his picture appeared in Sports Illustrated.
With one magazine cover, his son, T.J., one-upped dad.
T.J. Downing, a fifth-year senior at Ohio State and GlenOak High School graduate, appears on this week’s cover of Sports Illustrated along with quarterback Troy Smith and center Doug Datish. The photo adorns SI’s College Football Preview, in which Ohio State is picked No. 1. The Buckeyes also were picked No. 1 in the USA Today preseason coaches’ poll. The Associated Press poll comes out today.
Downing is the first Stark County player or coach to land on the cover of Sports Illustrated since Todd Blackledge on Oct. 4, 1982. The former Penn State quarterback led the Nittany Lions to a national title that season.
“It’s real neat,” Walt Downing said. “Some people will say they have a bull’s eye on them. You know what? They have all the talent in the world. They’ve got to raise their game to the next level.”
The proud father went out and bought 15 copies of the magazine. He is ordering another 20.
Dad isn’t worried about the so-called Sports Illustrated jinx — a curse that falls on some athletes who have graced past covers — in part because Ohio State isn’t the only team featured. Sports Illustrated did regional covers with each of its top six teams. Other cover teams are Notre Dame, Texas, LSU, Southern Cal and West Virginia.
“Now, if it was a solo thing, then maybe,” Walt Downing said. “It boils down to this: They know they have to bring their ‘A’ game every week. If they do it 13 times, it will be one helluva year.”
Walt Downing was All-America at Michigan but is a converted Buckeye fan as he draws the line at blood. He has rooted for Ohio State the last five years at the Michigan game. He wore his son’s jersey last season to at Michigan Stadium.
T.J. Downing is entering his second season as a full-time starter. As a sophomore, Downing played considerable time early in the season, then less during a three-game losing streak. He made his first career start against Michigan State during the second half of the year and has been a mainstay since at left guard.
“T.J. has endured a lot,” Walt said. “He’s reaping the rewards now for all the hard work. There were a lot of times the kid could’ve given up. When he went down there, the plan was to redshirt because they had a lot of junior linemen, and then he would learn from them when they were seniors. His third year, he played well in the first game, and then didn’t play. It was tough. It took them three losses to get their heads out of the butts and get the right rotation of guys in there.”
T.J. Downing told his father about the Sports Illustrated cover shoot about three weeks ago. When the magazine was released Wednesday, T.J. called his dad.
“He said it looks sweet,” Walt Downing said. “Then he told me he lived up to the billing, because he called after their first practice Wednesday. He said they laid the lumber in the morning.”
T.J. Downing was not available to comment.
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Another picture from SI.com:

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=550 align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=cnnImgAdPad width="100%">

Troy Smith (center), Doug Datish and T.J. Downing form a fearsome trio for OSU.
Peter Read Miller/SI

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[FONT=arial,sans-serif]OSU guard Downing starts at the top

11:10 a.m.

COLUMBUS - Ohio State right guard T.J. Downing is a 305-pound bucket of attitude, and the senior is even perfecting a mohawk for Saturday’s opener with Northern Illinois.

“Come Saturday I’ll tighten up the sides and thin it down and it’ll look nice,” he said. “Nothing conservative here.”

The hair is an extension of his outlook. He wants to feel like the success of the Buckeyes’ offense boils down to the line’s ability to manhandle the Huskies. It’ll be the first time starting as a group for sophomore left tackle Alex Boone, senior left guard Tim Schafer, senior center Doug Datish, Downing and right tackle Kirk Barton.

“It’s hard putting five guys all together on the same page,” Downing said. “Sometimes you get a breakdown or miss a certain block, but you want to make somebody else pay for it. If I slip off a block, you don’t want to hesitate. You want to go after another guy and not think about it.”

Downing oozes confidence, happy to take on the team’s preseason No. 1 ranking.

“I want the bull’s-eye on my back, because it’ll give me more attention when I’m taking people down,” he said.

But he’s a ready part of the offensive game plan.

“Yeah, you want to hurt people and punish them and put them on their backs, but you have to do your job,” Downing said. “On the offensive line, we always talk about controlled chaos. It’s punishing up there, but if you get too whacked out and go berserk trying to hurt people, you’ll mess up your assignment. So we won’t let anyone take us out of our game.”
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Downing all for re-creating Lions? din

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tim May

Ohio State lineman T.J. Downing has a vivid memory of the loss last year at Penn State: It was so loud that the earth shook, and it took the Buckeyes completely out of their game.
Billed as a "white out the night" promotion for the fans, it turned into the ultimate 12 th man for the Nittany Lions in their 17-10 win.
"You could notice the earth quake, the ground, as it was trembling under your feet," Downing said. "You noticed it all. ? It was tough, and it affected us. It got into our heads, and we didn?t play the game the way we usually do, and that?s why we lost."
Some Ohio State fans noticed. That?s why Kim Burky, 40, and many of her booster friends are urging fans to wear a prominent scarlet outer layer Saturday when Penn State comes to Ohio Stadium.
"If it works the way we?d like, we want Penn State to see red everywhere ? we?re calling it the ?Red See,? " Burky said. "We started thinking about how badly we got treated at Penn State last year and thought we need to do something about that."
Downing is all for it.
"I?d like to issue a personal challenge to our fans. Repay ?em. Pay ?em back for what they did to us," Downing said. "Their fans singlehandedly took us out of the game, and maybe our fans can do the same thing. Our fans need to be loud; they need to be louder than they?ve ever been before.
"They can wear whatever they want to distract them. Pink, purple, red, whatever ? just distract them."
He said he knows Ohio State fans are capable of creating a comparable atmosphere because "I know how we party around here in Columbus."
Gone , but not forgotten

Quarterback Troy Smith went about his business preparing for Penn State yesterday. Meanwhile, former teammate Maurice Clarett, the freshman running back sensation on the 2002 national championship team who has been long gone from the Buckeyes, headed to prison for 3 1 /2 years or more.
"I?m praying for him all the time," Smith said. "It?s an unfortunate situation, but there?s not much myself or my teammates can do about that situation. Every man chooses his path. It might not be a good one, but he has to live with those situations."
Coach Jim Tressel looked at what he thinks could be a bright side for Clarett, who pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and weapons charges Monday as part of a plea bargain.
"Knowing Maurice like I do, I like to think that he?ll have a plan for his growth while he?s taking care of those consequences," Tressel said. "And my feelings don?t change any for him.
"I would say this: Like any situation that arises, if you?ll take it and use it to grow, it?s amazing what it can do for you. So my prayer is that he takes that time and creates a plan for his life and that he?ll have a wonderful life."
[email protected]
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Even after you get OL of the week after going up against Iowa's all-Big-10 DT King; it takes until 1315 hours on Wednesday before someone bumps your thread. I tell you, Offensive Guards get no respect... no respect at all.

(King was Iowa player of the game by ABC, ironically)

Mr. Mohawk did an awesome job pulling too.
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