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Today is Thursday, Feb. 23, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call.
Pat Elflein hoping to Pay It Forward
Pay It Forward, the mantra of former Ohio State coach Woody Hayes, is still a big part of the program today.
Players spend plenty of time doing community service during their careers, and it doesn’t stop there. The latest example comes from center Pat Elflein, who is attempting to raise $65,000 for charity.
Elflein posted a Twitter note Wednesday detailing his plans. In his first act, he’s selling a ball signed by himself and former All-American LeCharles Bentley, the only two Rimington Award winners in Ohio State history.
— Patrick Elflein (@elflein65) February 23, 2017
Proceeds from that ball will benefit Tyler’s Light, a drug education and awareness charity. The organization was founded by Elflein’s youth football coach.
If you haven’t read the story from ESPN’s Austin Ward on Elflein helping his brother battle a drug addition, it’s absolutely worth a read.
“It was one of the worst things I’ve ever been through,” Pat said. “Going from someone who was so close to you and you looked up to so much, goes through this disease and it just changes who that person is. This person is now lying to you, stealing from you and is doing whatever they can to get that fix. They’re a totally different person, and they don’t have control over that.
“It’s tough not knowing if he’s coming home that night, where he’s at, where he’s sleeping because he’s not sleeping at home. It’s really a tough situation.”
Thad Matta opens up
Given that Ohio State basketball sits 13th of 14 Big Ten teams in the standings, there’s pretty much nothing the Buckeyes can do at this point to grab an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Even with a game against No. 16 Wisconsin on Thursday offering a chance at a quality win, it’s Big Ten Tournament title or bust for Ohio State. With the game against the Badgers looming, Ohio State coach Thad Matta offered his thoughts Wednesday on the current state of the program.
From Bill Landis of Cleveland.com:
“I think we’ve still got work to do in the process,” Matta said. “It’s not as easy in building a program, snapping your fingers, saying ‘We wanna be back’ and it’s back. It doesn’t work that way. I think a lot of situations in coaching pertain to life. Sometimes you gotta get knocked down to learn your lesson. Hopefully our guys are intuitive enough to see what’s going on. We’ve had some situations this year that I’m still trying to come to grips with.”
This year has been trying on Matta, just as it’s been trying on a fanbase eager to see the program get back to where it was a few years ago when it was competing for Big Ten Championships and making March runs.
Fans rightfully demand more than what’s occurred over the past two seasons from a program that pays its head coach the $3 million-plus Matta makes in base salary and additional compensation. What exactly the tipping point to force a change would be remains unclear with athletic director Gene Smith unwilling to discuss the program in season.
For more on Matta and the future of Ohio State basketball, be sure to check out our podcast from Tuesday. It discusses what went wrong this year, what the big picture problems are and whether or not a coaching change needs to be made (and how such a potentially delicate situation should be handled).
Lattimore ready for NFL Combine
One year ago, Marshon Lattimore was more potential than production.
Of course, that was through no fault of his own. The Cleveland Glenville product battled injuries and a crowded depth chart during his first two seasons as a Buckeye. When his chance came, though, he seized it to the fullest. After one season as a starter, Lattimore is being discussed as one of the top cornerbacks in this year’s NFL draft.
Ohio State has been putting together NFL combine previews for each player headed to Indianapolis, and the video Wednesday featured Lattimore. Take a look:
He's the consensus #1 cornerback in the draft.
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) February 22, 2017
• Nebraska wide receivers coach Keith Williams might be headed to jail
• Iowa guard Peter Jok broke a 55-year-old record
• A former Michigan State doctor is facing 23 new sexual assault charges
• Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh raises awareness for mental health
• Former Penn State basketball player will take over as Chewbacca
• Penn State announced dates and locations for its Coaches Caravan