"Ohio State left tackle Taylor Decker is no longer on the roster after originally committing to play in the event. Decker has been working out in Arizona at LeCharles Bentley's training center since the Fiesta Bowl."
Earlier today the final rosters for next week's Senior Bowl were released, and there was one notable Buckeye missing. Offensive tackle Taylor Decker wasn't included on the roster for the Senior Bowl, which brings the number of Buckeyes participating in the event down to five. Braxton Miller, Nick Vannett, Tyvis Powell, Joshua Perry, and Adolphus Washington will all be a part of the North team in the Senior Bowl. Of the 22 Big Ten participants in the Senior Bowl, five of them are Ohio State seniors. The only other school with five participants is Alabama. The North team will be coached by the coaching staff of the Dallas Cowboys.
The South team in next week's Senior Bowl will include two former Buckeyes. Defensive end Noah Spence from Eastern Kentucky and safety Jeremy Cash from Duke will play in the event. After recording 11.5 sacks in his senior season at Eastern Kentucky, Spence will be hoping to continue to bolster his draft stock, which some projections have him being taken in the first round. After an All-American season at Duke, Cash a top strong safety prospect heading into the draft. The Senior Bowl will take place next Saturday in Mobile, Alabama.
"For me, it's getting these guys to accept the challenge. Obviously with the two losses we had last week, we've got to change how we're looking at things in terms of the approach, but most importantly in the game, what has to be done. The challenges that take place, you have to embrace them and attack them."
Following Saturday's 100-65 loss to Maryland, Thad Matta knows he has to quickly rebuild the confidence of his team as they head into tonight's game at Purdue. After dropping their last two road games by at least 25 points, Matta knows his team will have to display a lot more toughness, both physically and mentally, as they try and pull the upset over the ranked Boilermakers at Mackey Arena. The lack of toughness in Saturday's game was noticeable to anybody watching, with ESPN commentator Dan Dakich saying Ohio State's performance was "as soft ... as I've seen from a team.".
What Matta is looking for from his young team is the ability to stick together during tough times in the game. Where Ohio State has struggled lately has been they haven't been able to create any momentum when their backs have been against the wall. The team has struggled to trust each other when they have faced adversity. Matta has switched things up in practice this week, mixing up some of the rosters to try and get players a little more comfortable playing with each other. A win tonight over a strong Purdue team could give this Ohio State team some confidence they desperately need as they continue to try and navigate a tough Big Ten schedule.
"Really, it's a feeling I haven't had since the Ohio State days."
It has been a long road for former Buckeye Kurt Coleman, but this weekend he'll finally find himself playing in a conference championship game. After being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010, and starting at safety during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, Coleman bounced around a bit before making his way to Carolina. After stops with the Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs, Coleman signed with Carolina last spring, and has been a big reason why the Panthers defense has turned into such a dominant unit.
Coleman does some strength in numbers in Charlotte as well, with former Buckeyes Andrew Norwell, Ted Ginn Jr,, and Corey Brown on the roster with him. Not only has the success the Panthers have found on the field made things fun for Coleman, but being surrounded by three other Buckeyes have helped things off the field. Even though Coleman's play didn't earn him a spot in the Pro Bowl, he has his sights set on something bigger. Carolina will host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday with a spot in the Super Bowl on the line.
"Pretty much a 'next man up' mentality. Things happen at the end of the game. It was kind of interesting, but to see two guys get suspended, you never like to see that. Everyone will just step up, and whoever's name is called to play will play, and we're excited for Friday."
Not only did Ohio State lose on Sunday to Michigan in Ann Arbor, but an altercation following the game ending will leave Ohio State without a couple players for Friday night's matchup against Penn State. Freshmen forwards Dakota Joshua and Brandon Kearney have been suspended for one-game after they were given major penalties for their role in the altercation against Michigan. Joshua was given a major penalty for facemasking, while Kearney was called for fighting. Joshua not only scored the shootout-winning goal against the Wolverines on Friday, but he also scored the first goal in Sunday's contest.
The loss of the two forwards will make a tough test against the 14th-ranked Nittany Lions even tougher. Penn State is one of the nation's leaders in shots on goal with 981 shots this season, and boasts 13 players will at least 12 points on the year. Ohio State will need continued strong play from freshman Mason Jobst, who has three goals and 11 assists in his last six games. For the year, Jobst has five goals and 14 assists, which ranks second among Big Ten freshmen. Ohio State will host Penn State on Friday and Saturday at the Schottenstein Center before hosting Michigan State next weekend.
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