After a summer filled with racial inequality and police brutality, a number of NFL players protested during the national anthem to further the conversation and help to try and bring change. Colin Kaepernick started the protests during the preseason by kneeling during the national anthem. Other players began to follow and support what Kaepernick was doing, not just in the NFL, but in other sports around the country.
Before a Monday Night Football game in September, former Ohio State defensive back Malcolm Jenkins and two of his teammates raised their fists during the national anthem. Recently Jenkins continued to gain even more knowledge on the issues by going on a ride-along with the Philadelphia Police Department. Not only did Jenkins have a one-on-one conversation with Philadelphia Police commissioner Richard Ross Jr., but he also met with some community leaders to hear some of their concerns, and what they are trying to do to improve conditions not only in their neighborhood, but with the relationships between the police and the public. As Jenkins noted, it is possible to be both pro-police and pro-justice at the same time, and with the work he is doing, it will only help relations improve in Philadelphia.
“It’s a nice feeling for Ohio State fans to have the starting running back returning for 2017. Mike Weber was just the third Buckeye freshman back to rush for over 1,000 yards -- Maurice Clarett and Robert Smith were the other two — with 1,096. He also tied for the team lead in rushing touchdowns (9) and was second in carries (182).”
Even though Mike Weber impressed starting at running back as a redshirt freshman, there are still a number of questions in the backfield for the Buckeyes. The biggest question that will need to be answered early is who will step up to replace Curtis Samuel? After rushing for 270 yards and three touchdowns in light duty in 2016, Demario McCall seems to be the favorite to take on the workload that Samuel took on. With his ability to not only carry the football, but also make catches out of the backfield, McCall should be able to make plays early and often for Ohio State in 2017.
Weber and J.T. Barrett will likely see the bulk of the carries in the running game this year, but Ohio State has a couple of young, talented runners behind Weber. Early-enrollee J.K. Dobbins comes into Columbus with a lot of hype, but it still remains to be seen how effective he will be blocking early on, something that is a requirement if any Ohio State running backs want to see the field on a consistent basis. Antonio Williams returns for his second year at Ohio State in 2017, after seeing his freshman season cut short by a shoulder injury he suffered against Northwestern. Williams has a leg-up as this will be his second year in the system, and he’ll also likely get a bulk of the carries in spring practice as Urban Meyer will try and limit Weber’s carries to keep him fresh for the regular season. Even though Ohio State still has some running back questions, they have plenty of talent that is capable of answering those questions when the regular season begins.
“Every point matters right now, every single game. We can’t afford to give up any points. The race is so tight right now.”
While the bubble has already burst for Ohio State’s men’s basketball team, the same can’t be said for Ohio State’s men’s ice hockey squad. The Buckeyes have won four of their last five games, but still sit in third place in the Big Ten. With six games remaining in the regular season, Ohio State will not only have to finish strong, but also will need some help if they want to earn a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament. Currently Ohio State has 23 points, trailing only Minnesota, who has 33 points, and Wisconsin, who has 30 points, in the Big Ten standings. The winner of the Big Ten Tournament will earn one of six automatic bids in the NCAA Tournament, with another 10 at-large bids also being awarded.
Ohio State will try to close the gap on the Golden Gophers and Badgers this weekend, when they host Michigan on Friday night and Saturday afternoon at Value City Arena. Even if Ohio State isn’t able to win the Big Ten Tournament next month in Detroit, they still are being considered for one of the at-large bids, but they can’t afford any slip-ups as they move towards the end of the regular season. The Buckeyes will hope their power play will continue to produce, as Ohio State leads the NCAA with a 29.6 power-play percentage. After hosting Michigan this weekend, the Buckeyes will host Michigan State next weekend, before traveling to Wisconsin to close out the regular season in two weeks.
“We’re heading out to Arizona for the first time — site of Spring Training, we’re going out and playing in a Spring Training facility. Excited for that to take our guys to a Major League complex. To play teams for the Pac-12, that west-coast style baseball. I think it’s important for us to see different styles and have to be prepared to compete against a different style of baseball.”
After opening up the regular season last weekend by winning two of their first four games, Ohio State’s men’s baseball team heads to Arizona for a couple games against Pac-12 powers. The Buckeyes will travel to Arizona for the first time in 20 years, squaring with reigning Pac-12 champs Utah on Thursday and Saturday, and fifth-ranked Oregon State on Friday and Sunday.
After winning the College World Series in 2006 and 2007, Oregon State will be looking to make their first appearance in the College World Series since 2013. The Beavers look like they will rely on pitching and defense this year as they try to make their way back to Omaha. The Buckeyes will try to counter Oregon State with some more power shots from Zach Ratcliff, who hit two home runs in a game last weekend against Delaware. Ohio State will have a tough task in trying to top Oregon State, but they might have a better shot against Utah. Despite winning the Pac-12 last year, the Utes finished the season with a losing record. Utah was able to take two of three games in their season-opening series against Cal State-Bakersfield.