Mike Vrabel on the head-coaching track, so long Curtis Samuel, and more

Colin Gay

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Today is Tuesday, Jan. 10, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call. 


 Kelsey Mitchell continues to dominate

The 11th-ranked Ohio State women’s basketball team is having a pretty good run. The Buckeyes are the midst of a five-game winning streak that has seen them also start out Big Ten play 4-0.

And as expected, guard Kelsey Mitchell is right in the middle of it. On Monday, the junior was named Big Ten Player of the Week for the first time this season, and fifth time in her career. Against Northwestern and Michigan last week, Mitchell averaged 29.5 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. She has scored more than 20 points in all four Big Ten games with at least 5 assists in three of the four contests.

This season, Mitchell is shooting a career high 45.6 percent from the floor and is making 38.2 percent of her 3-point attempts. Although she is averaging a career low 2.8 rebounds per game, Mitchell is distributing the ball a bit more, averaging about 4 assists per game.

As long as Mitchell continues to put up numbers like this, the Buckeyes are likely to continue succeeding. Ohio State (14-4, 4-0 Big Ten) will try to make it six straight wins Tuesday when the Buckeyes travel to Michigan State (12-4, 2-1).


 Following in their footsteps

For the past couple of years, one former Ohio State standout has been a hot commodity in the coaching market. And now, former All-American linebacker, 3-time Super Bowl winner, and current Houston Texans linebackers coach Mike Vrabel could be in line for quite a promotion next season. At least that’s what Monday Morning QB writer Albert Breer is reporting.

What could make Vrabel an attractive head-coaching candidate? For one, it helps to have been around some very prestigious coaches throughout his playing career: John Cooper (Ohio State), Bill Cowher (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Bill Belichick (New England Patriots).

After a 14-year career in the NFL that saw Vrabel rack up 57 sacks, 20 forced fumbles, 10 touchdown catches and those 3 rings, Vrabel began his coaching career teaching linebackers at his alma mater under head coach Luke Fickell. When Urban Meyer took over the following season, Vrabel moved to defensive line coach. In 2014, he was hired by the Houston Texans to coach linebackers, joining many former Patriots assistant coaches such as head coach Bill O’Brien and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel.

This season, with Vrabel coaching a linebacking group that includes Brian Cushing, Benardrick McKinney and OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney, the Texans the No. 1 defense in the NFL, giving up 301.3 yards per game. The Los Angeles Rams, the team that is going after Vrabel, ranked ninth at 337.

Vrabel seems to be on the fast track to an NFL head coaching job. We will see if the Rams will give him the chance.


Maybe next year

Now that college football has crowned its national champion, it’s time to … look at the odds for next year’s champion, of course. For Ohio State fans, it’s never too early to start looking ahead to the 2017 season. As far as odds go for the Buckeyes, it is looking good.

Before the College Football Playoff National Championship kicked off Monday, Ohio State led all Big Ten teams with 8-1 odds to win the 2018 title. With one of the winningest coaches in college football history at the helm and the amount of talent on the roster, even early on, it’s hard to count the Buckeyes out.  


The memories

Speaking of all the talent on the Ohio State roster, not many (if any) Buckeyes had more talent in 2016 than H-back Curtis Samuel. But on Monday, Samuel declared he is taking that talent to the NFL. While there’s no arguing Samuel’s talent or impact on the 2016 season, when it comes to picking out the best performance of the season by QB J.T. Barrett’s favorite target, opinions vary.

Some would say his 261-yard, 3-TD performance in Ohio State’s first game against Bowling Green set the tone for his season.

The majority of Ohio State fans would probably say that it was Samuel’s 15-yard run to the left that secured the double-overtime win over Michigan in the regular season’s final game.

However, all Ohio State fans can agree on one thing. This promo video with freshman OL Michael Jordan before the Michigan game is unparalleled.

He will truly be missed.


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