The leading candidate in my mind for future-Ohio State head coach, Mike Vrabel, sat down to talk about his new position and opportunity with the Tennessee Titans. During his first official interview as the head coach, he made note of how important interviewing for these positions is, and how he used to be really bad at it.
“I bombed my first interview. Urban Meyer interviewed me and I bombed it,” Vrabel explained.
Following a successful collegiate and NFL career, Vrabel headed to the coaching side of things in July 2011. While his NFL career was already nearing the tail end, his decision to join Ohio State’s coaching staff was moreso done to help the program. Having lost Jim Tressel and a handful of starters thanks to #TattooGate, Vrabel joined the staff to help out his former teammate and close friend, interim coach Luke Fickell.
When Urban Meyer accepted the head coaching position at the end of the 2011 season, he interviewed Vrabel to see if he should be retained with the changing of the guard. It was this interview in December 2011 that went so badly, Meyer actually asked him to re-do it.
“Urban had faith in me, and he called me that night and said, ‘That’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I want you to come back tomorrow at 6 in the morning, and I want you to do it again.’ So I left the house, and went down and stayed in the office, stayed up all night, cleaned my thoughts up, got things in order, did the interview, and he hired me at Ohio State.”
The rest is history. Vrabel stayed in Columbus for a few seasons — coaching linebackers and then the defensive line — before joining the staff for the Houston Texans as the linebackers coach under (former Penn State head coach) Bill O’Brien. With rumors swirling ahead of the 2017 season that Vrabel could be eyed for a head coaching gig, the Texans instead promoted the Buckeye to defensive coordinator, before he ultimately got a chance to lead his own team in 2018.
“Stephanie Mavunga and Linnae Harper recorded double-doubles and Kelsey Mitchell scored 27 points but the Buckeyes just weren’t able to get over the hump and would fall on the road at No. 25 Iowa 103-89 on Thursday night.”
Despite the myriad of scorers the Buckeyes claim, Thursday’s matchup against No. 25 Iowa wasn’t the best show of the team’s ability. (Doesn’t that sound familiar.) The Hawkeyes were able to limit Ohio State to a season-low five three-pointers.
This matchup drew some additional attention with the two top scorers in the Big Ten conference, Kelsey Mitchell for Ohio State and Megan Gustafson for Iowa, going head-to-head. The Buckeyes were able to limit Gustafson to a season-low five rebounds, marking just the second time this season that she didn’t record a double-double. Gustafson did, however, score a game-high 29 points (on 11-of-14 from the foul line), while Mitchell put up 27 points on the day.
The Buckeyes were plagued with foul trouble and missed shots throughout the matchup. Stephanie Mavunga was in foul trouble most of the night, but earned her double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, before fouling out late in the game. Makayla Waterman also fouled out midway through the fourth, after putting up seven points and snagging six rebounds. Linnae Harper snagged double-double numbers with 17 points and 12 rebounds (along with four steals), and senior Asia Doss put up 14 point, in addition to three steals and two assists.
The Buckeyes will get back to Big Ten play on Saturday when they host Michigan State at noon at home -- the first of a three-game home stretch.
“In all, five Buckeyes were highlighted on Perfect Game’s Big Ten prospect list.”
In addition to claiming five of the top 25 prospects in Perfect Game’s Big Ten College Baseball Preview, junior pitcher Ryan Feltner was listed as the top prospect in 2018 out of the Big Ten Conference and was named to their preseason All-Conference list. The 6’4, 195-pound right-hander has amassed 118 strikeouts in 131.1 innings pitched in two seasons with Ohio State, and was named 2017 Cape League Relief Pitcher of the Year and a CCBL All-Star. (Feltner was also named the top Big Ten prospect on D1Baseball’s Top 100 2018 prospect list earlier this month.)
In the news released by Ohio State in the link above, Perfect Game said of the 2018 Buckeyes, “With better health and injury luck in 2018, the Buckeyes are poised to potentially make a huge jump back into the conference’s elite, especially on the mound. It’s an extremely experienced pitching staff with a lot of seniors, and given health, could be one of the best staffs in the conference.”
The other four top Buckeye prospects span the next several draft cycles, with junior left-handed pitcher Connor Curlis (No. 21) rounding out the 2018 list, sophomore outfielder Dominic Canzone (No. 6) and sophomore third baseman Conner Pohl (No. 13) selected to the 2019 prospect list, and freshman catcher Dillon Dingler (No. 5) making the 2020 prospect list.
The Buckeyes have four players (of six voted to the rosters) representing Ohio State in the 2018 Pro Bowl down in Orlando, and wide receiver Michael Thomas continues to prove why he’s breaking records and making Pro Bowls in just his second year in the league. During the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown — one of the many Pro Bowl Week events before the big game — Thomas helped keep the NFC in the contest, winning the Best Hands competition.
Ultimately, the AFC would win the overall showdown, but with a handful of teammates — including Buckeye rookie Marshon Lattimore — from the New Orleans Saints being voted into the All-Star game, the future for Thomas and the Saints looks very bright. The team fell just shy of making it to the NFC Championship, but will return almost all of their young playmakers, which should help them dominate in 2018.
Despite coming on after a slow start to the season, the Saints were poised for an extended playoff run — but, they didn’t end up making it as far as they had hoped thanks to the Minneapolis Miracle via Stefon Diggs. This was still the first year that Thomas has played in the postseason, where he claimed 15 receptions for 216 yards and two touchdowns.
Thomas’ two-year career has already broken records, and looks to continue to improve in the years to come. He’s coming off his second 1,000-plus season in a row, for a career total of 2,382 receiving yards during the regular season for 14 touchdowns.
All Ohio State Teams’ Weekend Schedule
|Women's Swimming||@ Shamrock Invitational (South Bend, IN)||Friday, All Day|
|Men's Swimming||@ Shamrock Invitational (South Bend, IN)||Friday, All Day|
|Women's Track & Field||@ Columbia Challenge (New York, NY)||Friday, All Day|
|Men's Track & Field||@ Columbia Challenge (New York, NY)||Friday, All Day|
|Pistol||Akron, Purdue||Friday, TBA|
|Women's Tennis||Kansas||Friday, 10 am|
|Women's Hockey||@ Minnesota Duluth||Friday, 4:07 pm|
|Men's Hockey||Michigan||Friday, 7 pm|
|Wrestling||@ Michigan State||Friday, 7 pm|
|Women's Swimming||@ Shamrock Invitational (South Bend, IN)||Saturday, All Day|
|Men's Swimming||@ Shamrock Invitational (South Bend, IN)||Saturday, All Day|
|Women's Track & Field||@ Columbia Challenge (New York, NY)||Saturday, All Day|
|Men's Track & Field||@ Columbia Challenge (New York, NY)||Saturday, All Day|
|Pistol||Akron and Purdue||Saturday, TBA|
|Men's Lacrosse||@ Duke||Saturday, TBA|
|Women's Tennis||Kansas (2nd Round)||Saturday, TBA|
|Men's Tennis||Yale||Saturday, 10 am|
|Women's Basketball||Michgan State||Saturday, Noon|
|Women's Gymnastics||Minnesota and Illinois State||Saturday, 4 pm|
|Women's Hockey||@ Minnesota Duluth||Saturday, 4:07 pm|
|Men's Hockey||Michigan||Saturday, 8 pm|
|Wrestling||Purdue (St. Paris, Ohio Graham HS)||Sunday, 1 pm|
|Men's Volleyball||Penn State||Sunday, 2 pm|
|Men's Tennis||Toledo||Sunday, 5 pm|
STICK TO SPORTS
- Ohio State was named Big Ten Conference champion in the annual 2017 Game Day Recycling Challenge for the sixth year in a row.
- Funding for research is at a premium, and as the federal government’s funding has flattened over the years, Ohio State has had to look elsewhere.
- KFC has been changing up the role Colonel Sanders rather regularly, and now Reba McEntire will be the first female to portray the fried chicken legend.
- A petition has been started to get Columbus an XFL team now that Vince McMahon announced the league will be up and running in 2020.