“To be at the highest level of football and be able to be a part of it on the highest stage of any football is a surreal feeling.”
- Chase Farris, New England Patriots practice squad offensive lineman via Bill Rabinowitz, The Columbus Dispatch
Fifteen first-year players from Ohio State were in the NFL this year, but the one who will be involved in someway in the Super Bowl might surprise a lot of people. While Chase Farris won’t be on the field playing next Sunday in Houston, he is still making an impact in a way. The former Ohio State offensive lineman is a member of the New England Patriots’ practice squad, doing what he can to make sure his teammates are ready for the big game against the Atlanta Falcons. Leading up to the Super Bowl, Farris will be tasked with helping run some of Atlanta’s plays so the New England defense can try and get a handle on their opponents’ defense.
This is actually Farris’ second stint with the Patriots this year. After going undrafted, Farris first signed with Detroit before being released in August. The Lions signed Farris to their practice squad before eventually releasing him again. Farris then worked out with Jacksonville and Buffalo before the Patriots signed him to their practice squad. New England released Farris but ended up resigning him three weeks later. Even though Farris isn’t on the main roster, he knows it is a step in the right direction as he tries to release his dream of playing in the NFL. Who knows, he might even be able to earn a Super Bowl ring even before stepping on the field as a part of an active roster.
“It was fun. I learned a lot (in 2016) but at the same time, I’ve felt like I’ve been ready to play if my number has been called. It’s been kind of tough and sit back when you think you’re ready to play, but that’s my role and I embraced it.”
Following the shutout loss in the Fiesta Bowl to Clemson, quarterback has been a bit of a hot-button topic for Ohio State fans. In reality it’s hard to not want a player with 100 career touchdowns back, but there were parts of the Buckeye fanbase who were ready to move on from J.T. Barrett. While Barrett has announced his intention to return for his senior season, there was a bit of brief chatter that backup Joe Burrow would be transferring. Burrow quickly shot down those rumors, but he is going to face a battle on the depth chart heading into this season.
Burrow is the only of the three quarterbacks who will vie for Barrett’s spot once he graduates who has seen the field for the Buckeyes. Dwayne Haskins gained some notoriety for the way he performed for Ohio State’s scout team this year, and it will be hard for Ohio State to keep the combination of his arm and athleticism on the bench. The wildcard could be Tate Martell, who has drawn comparisons to Johnny Manziel with his size and ability. Martell will likely take a redshirt this year, so he’ll only be a redshirt freshman heading into next season. The Buckeyes don’t have to rush Martell along, unless he forces his way into the quarterback conversation. Even though Ohio State faces questions at quarterback after Barrett, all three of these signal callers are only going to get better moving forward.
“Obviously how can I not think of what happened (at Wisconsin). To win a national title, to be a national title to be a two-time captain and play with the guys I played with. Those memories are forever. At this point for me, it’s all about Ohio State every day, and there’s no place I’d rather be right now. I’m here just to carry on the tradition.”
Any time Ohio State men’s hockey coach Steve Rohlik faces off with Wisconsin, it is a big deal. Rohlik was a part of Wisconsin’s 1990 national championship team. Tonight’s meeting has even more intrigue behind it, as he’ll be squaring off with Wisconsin head coach Mark Osiecki. On Wisconsin’s national title team, Rohlik was the captain, while Osiecki was one of the alternate captains. Along with Rohlik, Ohio State assistant coach Mark Strobel also played at Wisconsin, as he was captain for his junior and senior seasons, and was a part of the Wisconsin team that made the 1992 NCAA Tournament final.
The connections between Rohlik and Osiecki aren’t just limited to their time on the ice at Wisconsin. After 10 seasons as an assistant coach with Minnesota-Duluth, Rohlik joined Osiecki at Ohio State as an assistant coach. After the final game of the 2013 season, Osiecki was fired by Ohio State, and Rohlik was tabbed as his replacement. Tonight’s matchup marks the first time the two have met as opposing coaches since Rohlik took over for Osiecki in Columbus. Wisconsin already has 11 wins this season after just 12 victories the last two years, so whatever Osiecki has done in his first year in Madison is working. The Badgers will have their work cutout for them though, as they’ll face an Ohio State team that is ranked eighth in the country, their highest ranking since they were ranked sixth in January 2012.
“I feel like it takes time to jell any team in general. Once we switch the lineups, it’s different because we’re playing with different lineups, different personnel, so it takes a little while.”
Lately Ohio State’s women’s basketball team has been doing their best to keep their opponents on their toes by switching up the lineups. It remains to be seen if Ohio State will roll out a fourth different starting lineup in four games against Minnesota tonight, as head coach Kevin McGuff hadn’t decided who would start when asked earlier in the week.
Last week against Wisconsin, Ohio State used 10 different lineups in the first half. One downside to the tremendous depth Ohio State has, is when switching up the lineups so frequently, it might take those on the floor time to get comfortable with each other. Even with the shuffling Ohio State has done, they are still earning victories, winning eight of nine since their loss to UConn in December. Currently the Buckeyes sit just a half-game behind Maryland in the Big Ten standings, and look to be setting themselves up for another run in March on the shoulders of Kelsey Mitchell.