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Ohio State’s Tuf Borland is working back into action six months after injury

The sophomore linebacker was on the field for 10 plays against Oregon State, and that number will increase against Rutgers.

NCAA Football: Army at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

“If you know Tuf at all, he is a laser-focused guy. And he’s put that laser focus on his recovery and getting ready to play.”

Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano on linebacker Tuf Borland via Bill Landis,

Normal human beings don’t usually recover from an achilles injury in six months. It’s quite obvious that Tuf Borland isn’t your normal human being. The linebacker from Illinois suffered the injury during spring practices, which left many wondering if Borland would be ready for the start of the regular season. Luckily for the Buckeyes, Borland has always been a fast healer.

Last week against Oregon State, Borland was on the field for 10 plays. As hard as it was to have Borland out on the field for more plays, this was always part of the plan. This week against Rutgers, Borland will see more time, and his number of plays will again increase the following week when Ohio State plays TCU. Even though Borland is ready for more snaps, the Buckeye staff doesn’t want to rush him back and possibly see Borland re-injure himself.

With the long line of family members who are involved in football, it’s easy to see why Borland is so eager to get back out on the field. It is what his family does, and Tuf wants to be the best at it. The linebacker made a splash early last year against Army, when he recorded 12 tackles, which was the most by an Ohio State freshman in a game since Ryan Shazier recorded 15 tackles against Penn State in 2011.

While football is in his blood, Borland has had a little outside help to get to where he is today. In eighth grade, Borland found John Greenidge in Chicago and has been following Greenidge’s training program since. The combination of strength training, hand fighting, and mental training has helped Borland become the player that he is. Tuf truly is living up to his name, and the rest of the opponents on Ohio State’s schedule this year will likely learn it first hand.

“We have to be smarter. We can’t just fly up the field. We’ve got to be attentive to the fact people can screen on us because we’re so fast.”

Ohio State defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones via Bill Rabinowitz, The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State didn’t do much wrong on Saturday against Oregon State, but when the Buckeyes did make mistakes, they certainly got their monies worth. The Buckeye defense was strong for most of the game, allowing Oregon State just 72 yards on 56 of 63 offensive plays. Those other seven plays? That is a whole different story.

A total of 320 of Oregon State’s yards in Saturday’s season opener came on just seven plays. The Buckeyes gave up touchdowns of 49, 78, and 80 yards to the Beavers, and while Ohio State may have been able to get away with that against Oregon State, they likely won’t be able to survive giving up plays like that against TCU or Penn State later this month.

The world isn’t crashing down though, as Ohio State will have a chance to correct some of their errors this week against Rutgers, a team that hasn’t scored a point against the Buckeyes in their previous two meetings. The Scarlet Knights are starting a true freshman quarterback who threw three interceptions against Texas State last week.

Ohio State’s defense this year features a number of new starters, and it’s inevitable that mistakes are going to be made early in the season. What will tell how strong this defense can be this year is seeing if they can learn from those mistakes, or if they will become issues that plague the Buckeyes throughout the season.

“It’s kind of like in basketball, if you have a hot hand and you’re on one day, you shoot it. If you’re not on, you give it to the open man who is hitting and on fire. I feel like Terry and I were hot. The next game it could be Johnnie (Dixon) and Bin (Victor). That’s how it goes.”

Ohio State wide receiver K.J. Hill via Steve Helwagen, Bucknuts

He may not have the speed of Parris Campbell or Terry McLaurin, but K.J. Hill is undoubtedly Ohio State’s most consistent receiver. Hill led Ohio State last year with 56 catches, and he opened up his 2018 with a team-high six receptions in the win over Oregon State.

Hill had a tough offseason, missing spring practice and some of preseason camp due to recovering from shoulder surgery. The time missed could have allowed for another one of Ohio State’s plethora of talented wide receivers to step in and steal some playing time from Hill, but that didn’t look to be the case on Saturday.

Despite not getting quite as much practice time in the offseason with new quarterback Dwayne Haskins, the two have a connection. Hill can be the receiver that Haskins can throw it to and have confidence that he will catch it, especially with the work Hill did on his hands in the offseason at working on catching different angles of the football.

Ohio State has put an increased emphasis on the passing game this year with new starter Dwayne Haskins behind center. The group of talented wide receivers the Buckeyes have will push each other every week to make themselves better, and also to make Haskins better. Expect the rapport between Haskins and Hill to grow each week, and by the end of the year Hill will likely again lead the team in receptions.

The Ohio State Board of Trustees approved plans for the construction of a new indoor tennis center, which will be adjacent to the outdoor courts on campus. The center will be named The Ty Tucker Tennis Center, for the former Ohio State coach who is the winningest coach in Big Ten men’s tennis history.

The new tennis center will be 75,000 square feet and will feature six indoor courts and theater style seating for spectators behind every court. Also included will be locker rooms and training facilities for both the men’s and women’s tennis teams. The estimated cost of the project is $21.9 million dollars.