"Ezekiel Elliott may not be Todd Gurley, but he also may be the best and most complete running back prospect to come out of college since Adrian Peterson."
- Sam Monson, Pro Football Focus
Ezekiel Elliott is a great player who has heard a lot of praise since throwing his name into the NFL Draft. He impressed at the combine, and he's known for his great skills not only as a runner, but as a pass catcher, and a blocker as well. But this might be the highest praise he has received yet. Adrian Peterson is one of those players that has been called the last of his kind. A complete back that you can play on all three downs, somebody who is an unstoppable force.
That's pretty good to hear for Zeke, who has been mocked to teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants, who already have pieces in place. His complete skill set should make for an immediate impact wherever he does land. Monson starts by touching on his blocking, adding that it's not his best skill, but the fact that he's capable puts him high up on boards immediately, since most college backs aren't involved in pass blocking. Monson also takes note of the fact that he's great after contact, and reading the defense. His list of things that Zeke struggles with was pretty simple and compact: nothing.
"Keita Bates-Diop got the deserved headlines at the time, but it was the play of Marc Loving that still has Ohio State coach Thad Matta raving."
- Adam Jardy, The Columbus Dispatch
Since Jae'Sean Tate's injury, which seemed to be extremely detrimental to the Buckeyes season at the time, Marc Loving has stepped his game up, and Thad Matta is loving it (no pun intended). Matta specifically liked the defensive effort that Loving put in at the end of the Iowa game, which helped get Keita Bates-Diop a block on the play. "He faked and stayed home. I think (Gesell) was going to pass it for a three, and Marc did exactly what he was supposed to do," Matta said, via Jardy. "That was something maybe only the coaches see, but that was a great play by Marc Loving."
Loving has had a pair of 20-point performances, including one that came against Michigan State when Ohio State needed scoring the most. Although the Buckeyes couldn't come out victorious in either contest against the Spartans, the effort exerted was there. The team as a whole has responded well since the injury, but you can especially see it in Loving, who has taken unfair criticism for much of the season. Jardy points out that Matta noticed a different demeanor from him in practice, and that he likes the new focus and attitude he's playing with. It's been huge for the Buckeyes, who hope for one last push in the Big Ten Tournament.
"Tate is out for the year because he injured his shoulder slapping the floor against Nebraska. That, of course, isn't true. But it makes for a good story."
- Bill Landis, Northeast Ohio Media Group
Everybody took the headline and ran with it. But contrary to the (false) and popular belief, Jae'Sean Tate did not injure himself slapping the floor against Nebraska. Tate explained it to Landis as having popped out in the first half. In the second half, Tate contested a three, and when he went up for the shot, his shoulder actually came out. Tate then slapped the floor, as the offensive player went by him. Tate said via Landis, "Next time maybe one or two slaps instead of three."
Although Tate felt the pain in the Nebraska game, it's still not when he got hurt. He explained to Landis that he did it a couple of practices before the Northwestern game. The Nebraska game is when it became too much for him. The four games that the Buckeyes played when Tate was injured, they came out with four wins, which isn't unexpected from a guy like him. Tate is forever bringing energy and toughness to the floor. Knowing his team needed him kept him going, as he told Landis that there were some rebounds he knew he could have gotten, but he was afraid to further injure his shoulder. Knowing what we know now, a healthy Tate next season should be especially fun to watch.
The fourth season of coach Urban Meyer's Real Life Wednesday program opened Wednesday morning in the Fawcett Center Auditorium with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell the featured speaker.
-Ohio State University
The program was open to student-athletes from all of Ohio State's varsity sports programs, along with all athletic administrators. The crowd was estimated to be around 350 people, listening as Roger Goodell answered questions for about 40 minutes. One of the first questions Goodell was asked was about what it takes to succeed/play in the NFL. Goodell told the crowd, "you all have a great opportunity by being at Ohio State University. That is an advantage right out of the box. And the big thing is to take advantage of this opportunity."
Goodell continued, "Look at your future broadly. Prepare for life. You got here by preparing and working hard. Focus on your dreams and goals, but broaden those goals. Even if you become successful in the NFL, the great career is 15 years, the terrific career is 10 and the average career is five. So prepare yourself for life after football. Get your degree and you'll be prepared for life after football. Start now." The commissioner also answered questions that ranged form player safety, and women in the NFL, and even gave some advice for life after football, including getting internship experience, and even learning from negative ones. Goodell is just the first in a schedule that includes six speakers this year.
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