We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Ohio State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.
Today is Friday, Sept. 30, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call.
Men’s basketball ready to put 2015-16 season to rest
The message from Ohio State’s players and coach Thad Matta was clear at Thursday’s Media Day: Learn from the mistakes from last season and become a contender once again in Big Ten play for the 2016-17 season. There can’t be a multiyear rebuilding process here.
Your 2016-17 Buckeyes basketball team. pic.twitter.com/ww4sQhwCWH
— Jeremy Birmingham (@Birm) September 29, 2016
Last season, the Buckeyes finished with a 21-14 record, including a disappointing 10-7 mark in Big Ten conference play, good for seventh in the league. Ohio State also split two games in the Big Ten tournament. The Buckeyes lost to Florida in the second round of the NIT to cap off an already disappointing season, becoming the first team ever to win 11 conference games and not qualify for the NCAA tournament.
After their season-ending loss to Florida, three freshmen – Mickey Mitchell, A.J. Harris and Daniel Giddens – each transferred. Another freshman, guard Austin Grandstaff, had left prior to conference play, leaving Ja’Quan Lyle as the only remaining recruit from 2015.
Forward Jae’Sean Tate, who suffered a shoulder injury that cost him the final eight games of the season last year, said this year’s team is ready to right the ship.
“Nobody wants to go to the NIT,” Tate said Thursday. “It definitely made us hungrier for this year and it has just gotten here so quick. We are excited to go in this week in our first week of practice. We have been preparing all summer for this.”
The Buckeyes come into this season with veteran presence despite the four transfers. All five leading scorers from last year return.
“I think this year we have so many interchangeable players,” Tate said. “I mean, so many versatile players. We have six or seven guys that could play three or four positions on this team. Everybody can do basically everything, keeping up with everyone else. That’s going to be a real good thing for us this year. Everybody’s athletic; they can move. I feel like, this year, our pace is going to be completely different than last year.”
Because of a handful of new players and senior forward (and team captain) Marc Loving, they’ll need to gel quick for there to be success.
“It is going to take a lot of resiliency, a lot of guys being able to fight through adversity,” Loving said. “I mean, we have a lot of young guys, but we also have a good group of returning guys who will be able to guide the young guys in general.”
With this being Loving’s last chance at glory, he really wants to have a championship ring on his finger by the year’s end.
“We haven’t won a Big Ten championship since I have been here,” Loving said, acknowledging the program’s difficulties. “I mean, obviously, that’s a goal of mine. I wouldn’t say that anything has been rewarding just yet.”
Watch Thad Matta’s press conference from today’s Media Day.
Chris Ash talks Buckeyes
Saturday will not be only Homecoming for alumni around the world, it will also be a homecoming of sorts for Rutgers head coach and former Ohio State defensive coordinator Chris Ash. He, and his Rutgers offense, will face a stout defense he helped build, one that has given up only two touchdowns this season: both against Oklahoma two weekends ago.
As he said in the Big Ten teleconference, Ash isn’t surprised one bit that the Buckeyes are as good as they seem to be.
Chris Ash asked on B1G teleconference if he’s surprised how well some of the young OSU players he coached are playing: “No, not at all."
— Tim Shoemaker (@TimShoemaker) September 27, 2016
After a Thursday practice, Ash talked about his upcoming meeting with his former team.
Ohio State will take on Rutgers at noon on Saturday on the Big Ten Network.
Mike Weber working to be an honorary slob
Averaging 6.1 yards a carry, the Ohio State rushing attack has been looking great with help from the offensive line, now affectionately referred to as the “Slobs.”
Ohio State RBs have amassed 6 Heisman Trophies.
Over the past 4 seasons, no one has averaged more YPC than the #Buckeyes.
Who's next? pic.twitter.com/DTDdvEN5xB
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) September 26, 2016
However, the leading rusher, Mike Weber, is getting in on the act as well.
Ohio State RB Mike Weber has yet to allow a QB pressure in pass protection
— CFB Film Room (@CFBFilmRoom) September 29, 2016
On Urban Meyer’s call-in show Thursday afternoon, running backs coach Tony Alford praised Weber on how much he has improved on and off the field. Alford also talked about one former running back’s influence on Weber.
“He holds Zeke in very, very high regard, as he should,” Alford said. “He’s still having conversations with Zeke.”
Like Elliott did after his freshman season, Weber is being praised for his willing to improve physically. Alford said he receives text messages nightly from the Detroit Cass Tech product asking how he can improve.
Alford on Mike Weber: "I'd say he's matured, not just on the field but off the field." Said he's taking care of his body.
— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) September 29, 2016
Weber, so far, has capably replaced Ezekiel Elliott in the Buckeyes offense. We will see if that can continue into Big Ten play as defenses stiffen and every yard becomes harder to gain.
Tyvis loves ‘Dale, continues to be a proud father
Former Ohio State quarterback and current Buffalo Bills back-up quarterback Cardale Jones celebrated his 24th birthday Thursday.
He got some love from former teammate, and roommate, Tyvis Powell. The Seattle Seahawks rookie took to Twitter to celebrate the birthday and brought back this old gem.
— Tyvis Powell (@1Tyvis) September 29, 2016
Even though they now reside near both coasts, it’s great to see the Cleveland-area duo remains as close as ever.
Badgers get very bad news: Biegel out for 2-4 weeks | Matta is game-day ready | McGuff and Women’s Basketball ready for 2016| Bulaga serves as honorary captain | Curtis Samuel is fast | Moore, Farmer out for Illinois game