Ohio State linebacker Dallas Gant said he'll be out for spring practice because of a foot injury.— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) March 25, 2021
In a year where Ohio State has to replace three starting linebackers, injuries are something the Buckeyes can’t afford right now. Unfortunately, projected starting linebacker Dallas Gant will miss spring practice with a foot injury. The senior revealed his injury during media availability on Thursday, but Gant says he will be able to return for summer workouts, and will be ready for preseason camp.
Gone from last year’s team are linebackers Baron Browning, Pete Werner, and Tuf Borland. With the trio of starters gone, every single rep during spring practice is critical for those who are vying for the open starting positions. Even though Gant won’t be able to participate on the field, he will still be a fixture on the sidelines during spring camp, trying to soak up as much as he can while the team is together.
In his first three seasons with the Buckeyes, Gant recorded 44 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss. Last year in eight games, Gant made 17 tackles, forced a fumble in the season-opener against Nebraska, and recovered a fumble against Rutgers. Gant was a key piece of Ohio State’s depth at linebacker throughout the season, earning even more trust from his teammates and coaches.
While the injury isn’t ideal for Gant, it isn’t a death sentence on his senior season. Gant is confident he’ll be ready for summer and preseason camps, where he’ll have plenty of time to get back up to speed. If Gant was an underclassmen, the injury might be a little more detrimental, as it wouldn’t allow the coaching staff to get a better look at what Gant brings to the table.
Since Gant has been on campus and with the team for a number of years, the coaches are already familiar with his skill set. The biggest issue now will be readying Gant for a starting role. The Toledo native was one of the favorites to be a starter, and this injury won’t change that.
Al Washington wants to be a defensive coordinator and a head coach some day. But Ohio State's linebackers coach said this offseason was not the time to make the jump to Tennessee. https://t.co/0EMSTYbAEw— Nathan Baird (@nwbaird) March 25, 2021
Linebackers coach Al Washington caused a bit of a stir last month when he entertained an offer from Tennessee to become their new defensive coordinator. Ultimately, Washington thought it was in his best interests to remain on Ryan Day’s staff in Columbus. While Washington wants to become a defensive coordinator someday, he didn’t think taking the position with the Volunteers now was the right move for him.
What irked Washington so much about considering the move to Tennessee was that his candidacy for the position became public. Head coach Ryan Day stated last week when he spoke with the media that he was also disappointed that the process became so public. Day said that he brought Washington to Ohio State to help him become a coordinator and coach someday, and the head Buckeye remains committed to helping Washington grow.
There’s no doubt that Washington’s next opportunity to become a defensive coordinator will come sooner rather than later. At just 35 years old, Washington is one of the brightest young stars in the coaching game. In just a few years at Ohio State, Washington has helped the linebackers take big strides from a group that struggled under Bill Davis, to a deep group that will still be feared this year even with having lost three starters.
It also doesn’t hurt that Washington is so well respected by those that he is tasked with coaching. Linebacker Teradja Mitchell called Washington the best linebackers coach in the country, and it’s hard to argue with what Mitchell said. The future is bright for Washington, and hopefully that future includes many years coaching in Columbus. A combination of Day as head coach with Washington as his defensive coordinator would spell big trouble for the Big Ten, as well as the rest of the country.