“He’s just super intense. Walkthroughs for days. You don’t have much time to relax with him. But he’s really smart and really good.”
The three former Ohio State defensive players at the NFL Combine last week had a familiar face on the NFL side of the field. Former defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, who had spent the previous three seasons in Columbus, is among the newest members of the New England Patriots coaching staff. He’ll be filling a critical void, since a large contingent of Bill Belichick’s assistant coaches have already scooted off to new roles during the offseason. In fact, just one defensive assistant, Belichick’s son, Steve, is returning to the Patriots’ sideline next season.
The Patriots, naturally, have the last pick in the first round of this year’s draft, but have additional second- and third-round picks as a result of trades. On the defensive side of the ball, defensive end Trey Flowers is set to hit free agency if New England is unable to lock up his contract soon, so the Patriots could find themselves with needs on the defensive line come the draft in April. While Nick Bosa, the expected No. 1-overall pick, will not be a viable option for New England, defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones might just prove to be an answer in a later round. After the injury to Bosa against TCU early last season, Jones became the de facto leader on the Ohio State defensive line. Jones finished the season with 8.5 sacks and a pick-six. Some mock drafts have Jones going in the early-third round, but that status could be improved after the combine.
The Patriots have not proven to be a destination for talent from Ohio State in recent years, with the last Ohio State draft pick by New England coming with Nate Ebner’s selection in 2012. With Schiano on the staff, however, things might shift within the next couple seasons as former Schiano players enter the draft.
“If the bubble always features more power-conference mediocrity than a mid-December bowl game -- a record five teams with losing league records received at-large bids last year -- it officially has gone mad this season.”
The past week has been something of a rollercoaster for the Ohio State Buckeyes basketball team. A 20-point home win over No. 22 Iowa was highly motivating, especially when considering Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery wound up getting suspended as a result of his actions during the game. Unfortunately, the Buckeyes ended up dealing with team issues of their own, as sophomore center Kaleb Wesson’s suspension certainly contributed to the 35-point beatdown Ohio State incurred at the hands of Purdue Saturday. With the loss in West Lafayette, the Buckeyes move to 18-11 overall on the year, including an 8-10 mark in conference play with two games remaining. Ohio State would need to beat Northwestern on the road Wednesday and No. 19 Wisconsin back in Columbus to even make it back to .500 in Big Ten play.
Even so, the Buckeyes still appear to be firmly on the bubble of the 68-team NCAA Tournament field. And they are not the only Power-5 program with a losing conference record to receive consideration. In the Big Ten alone, both Minnesota (8-10) and Indiana (6-12) are receiving some consideration. Now, the Hoosiers have beaten a top-10 Michigan State team twice in thrilling fashion this season, giving Archie Miller’s team the signature wins that make a compelling story to earn a tournament bid. The Buckeyes? That story is a little harder to tell, especially when it comes to their performance in the Big Ten.
It is easy to opt for teams from major conferences when it comes to tournament selection. These programs are easier to access to watch and glean critical data points compared to those from smaller conferences -- even if that means a less-competitive or less-exciting tournament field. Does that mean that Ohio State might be better left out of the tournament this season, especially in favor of a team, potentially, from a smaller conference that’s been exciting to watch? That just might be the case.
“The Ohio State students represent the most passionate and loyal fan bases in all of college football, and the players and members of this program want to thank them for their support.”
Spring practice is ready to kick off later this week for the Ohio State football team, but the rest of the students on campus have something to look forward to as well. In what has become common practice in recent years, the football program is opening up a practice for the Ohio State students to watch as part of Student Appreciation Day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. This year, the special practice is scheduled for March 23 at 11 a.m., the third practice of spring drills for the team. In addition to being able to watch the practice, students will also be able to see the Big Ten and Rose Bowl Championship trophies, hang out with Brutus and attend autograph sessions with players and coaches.
The football program has 13 practices scheduled for the spring, with the first two taking place this week before the start of spring break. The spring practice schedule will culminate April 13 with the Spring Game in the Horseshoe.
It’ll be an exciting set of practices for the Buckeyes, as they’ll be the first under the helm of first-year head coach Ryan Day and a slew of new assistants -- including former Michigan assistant and co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. Beyond the coaching staff, these practices will also be the first chance to see transfer quarterback Justin Fields, the heir apparent to Dwayne Haskins. Fans will also get a first look at early enrollees from the 2019 recruiting class, such as five-star defensive end Zach Harrison of Olentangy and wide receiver Garrett Wilson from Austin. Beyond Fields and Wilson, the entire offense will likely look a little different heading into next season, with seven players entering this spring’s draft and several more having graduated.