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Ohio State’s Jonathon Cooper is happy to be back on the field after injury

The senior defensive end took the field for the first time this year last week against Nebraska after missing the first four games of the season due to a high ankle sprain.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

“It was emotional. I had to keep my emotions in check and realize there’s a game to play against a very good opponent. So I was very focused on that the entire time. But it was very emotional for me, and I think it hit me after the game.”

Ohio State defensive end Jonathon Cooper on returning from injury via Bill Rabinowitz, The Columbus Dispatch

Jonathon Cooper had big plans for his senior season at Ohio State. The defensive end was named a captain before the season, and was looking to finally have the season on the field that he knew he was capable of. Then everything changed in August. Cooper’s right ankle got rolled up on practice. While Cooper didn’t think the injury was serious at the time, he soon learned it was a little more serious.

After seeing the doctor, Cooper learned he had a high ankle sprain and would need surgery. It was determined that Cooper would need TightRope surgery, where a cord is used to anchor the tibia and fibula. With rehab time at six weeks, it meant that Cooper would have to miss the first four games on the season.

The time Cooper wasn’t out on the field with his teammates was tough, but the senior did whatever he could to help the team. Cooper’s dedication to his teammates even though he wasn’t playing is one of the reasons he was named a captain by a team vote before the beginning of the season.

Last week against Nebraska, Cooper was able to play in his first game this season. Even though he admits he still isn’t 100%, he feels like he has recovered enough to be out on the field and make an impact. Hopefully some big games are ahead the rest of the season for the Gahanna product.

“He’s a complete game changer. You can’t block him one on one. You can’t try to. You better not try to because if you do, you’re going to pay. So he allows us to do more in coverage without getting too risky, per se, if we keep sending people.”

Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley on defensive end Chase Young via Tony Gerdeman, The Ozone

There’s no question Chase Young is the best defensive end in the country. While Young leads the country with eight sacks so far this season, the impact just he presence on the field creates extends well beyond that. The pressure Young constantly puts on opposing quarterbacks has allowed other Ohio State players to showcase their skills.

Last week against Nebraska, the Buckeyes picked off three passes, with cornerback Jeff Okudah nabbing two of those interceptions. With the attention Young demands from opponents, it has allowed Ohio State to do things in their coverage that have created turnovers for the Buckeyes. If you don’t pay enough attention to Young, he’ll hurt you. If you pay too much attention to Young, the rest of the defense will hurt you. There is no blueprint on how to slow down the outstanding defensive end.

The next to try and figure out how to keep Young from changing the game is Michigan State, who has allowed just four sacks so far this season. While Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio has seem a lot of talented defenders in his years of coaching, he knows what Young brings to the table is rare. Good luck trying to figure out a way to keep Young off Brian Lewerke, Michigan State. You’re going to need it.

Ohio State released their game trailer earlier today for Saturday clash in Columbus. With the Buckeyes wearing their black jerseys for Saturday night’s game, this week’s trailer takes a dark turn, with a theme of “Fear The Darkness”.

As if scenes from some of Ohio State’s dominating wins so far this year weren’t enough to get you pumped up for Saturday night’s game, it was backed by a passionate pregame speech. One of the best lines was “Put your foot on the gas pedal, press down as hard as you can, and don’t stop until we sing Carmen Ohio”. The Buckeyes certainly have followed Mickey Marotti’s orders so far this year.

“He’s been developing well. He’s been taking in the coaching that’s been getting taken to him and he’s just trying to apply it now. He’s definitely been coming along.”

Ohio State right guard Wyatt Davis on tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere via Nathan Baird,

After being in the mix for the starting right tackle job during the offseason, Nicholas Petit-Frere has found himself a little lower on the depth chart than many were thinking he would be. Branden Bowen wasn’t able to play against Nebraska, which would have seemed like the perfect time for the former five-star recruit to get a start. Instead, Joshua Alabi slid over from left tackle, where he was backing up Thayer Munford to start for the Buckeyes.

Even though Petit-Frere wasn’t picked to replace Bowen, it doesn’t mean the coaching staff is down on the redshirt freshman. A big reason Alabi was tabbed as the starter was because of his experience. Alabi started for Ohio State in the Rose Bowl last year after Munford was unable to play due to injury.

Petit-Frere was able to get into Saturday’s game when the result was firmly secured by the Buckeyes. So far this year, Petit-Frere has seen time later in games, which has allowed him to get some experience and work on some things to help him improve. Head coach Ryan Day and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa have the bigger picture in mind when it comes to Petit-Frere. Next year both Bowen and Alabi will have graduated, and it’s possible Munford could move on to the NFL. As long as the tackle continues to work hard. it’s hard to imagine Petit-Frere not being a starter for the Buckeyes next season.