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Big Ten Q&A: College Football Hall of Famer Orlando Pace, Ohio State Buckeyes
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2 Jan 2014 11:21 AM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Orlando Pace won the Lombardo Award (twice) and the Outland Trophy. (Image Source: Elsa Hasch/Sporting News)

New York, NY—Offensive tackle Orlando Pace had a stellar career as an Ohio State Buckeye, twice earning Consensus All-American honors and winning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, in addition to being a Heisman Trophy Finalist. Pace would go on to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, where he would make seven Pro Bowls and win a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams.  

How does it feel to be a member of the College Football Hall of Fame?

It’s really great to have an opportunity to be part of a class where guys respected your body of work enough to put you in the Hall of Fame. I’m honored to be here.

You’ve been taking some ribbing for what happened in the Big Ten Championship Game… You’re taking it well…

Yeah… (Smiling) You know what, that’s the only bad thing about it man…to see Percy Snow here, who’s a Michigan State guy. That game was so tough I’m still feeling the effects of it. I had my ticket punched to the national championship game…

You were going to go?

I was going. I was ready to go, I was excited. But to see him (Percy Snow) here… He threw a couple of extra shots in there (during Snow’s speech).

He did…

Those guys don’t win much so they’re really excited.

Talk about the passion you have for Ohio State. You were the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, won a Super Bowl, but is there something special about college compared to the NFL?

I think everybody loves their university because it’s that first time you have freedom and an opportunity to play. Ohio State afforded me that platform to show my God given abilities. Go out and give everything I have and afforded me the opportunity to play in the NFL, so I’m extremely excited. Always love my University no matter win or lose. We’ll be back.

I think you guys will be OK…

(Laughs)

You’re OK with Urban Meyer in charge…

Oh yeah, I love Urban. He just sent me a text yesterday congratulating me. He’s doing great things for our University. Look for bigger things next year.

What’s the biggest off-field difference between college and the NFL?

In college you hang out with your buddies after games. That’s just one small thing. You go to the NFL, guys have families. It’s like, hey, I’m going home with my kids or I’m going home with my wife. In college it’s like hey let’s go grab a pizza or do something like that, hang out. You don’t have as much money in college, in the pros you make a pretty good living, that’s probably the biggest difference.

Do you think the Big Ten gets enough respect?

I don’t think we get a lot of credit, but I think as a whole we need to pick up our recruiting, get some better players. Urban, he spoke on that one time where he wanted the whole conference to kinda up it. I think our preseason (out of conference) schedule needs to get better as a unit. We need to play some of those teams, maybe some SEC teams early on, third or fourth game, non-conference games. Just to let people know, hey we can play football in the Big Ten also.

We need some more Orlando Paces in the Big Ten…

Yeah… The game has changed so much. When I played I really wanted to destroy the guys I was facing and now guys are just blocking, just one or two steps, letting the guy go. Hopefully in the next couple of years we get some really good talent.

Big Ten Links:

Q&A: College Football Hall of Famer Percy Snow, Michigan State Spartans

Q&A: Iowa’s James Morris Talks About the Perception of the Big Ten & Upcoming Playoffs

Q&A: James Morris Talks About Corralling the Program & New Year’s Day Bowl

One-On-One With Penn State Offensive Guard John Urschel

One-On-One: MSU LB Max Bullough Talks About Winning the Big Ten Championship

One-On-One: Michigan State’s Max Bullough Talks Playoffs & Defines Spartan Dawg

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. 

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