Welcome, friends, to The Wake-Up Call for Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016.
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 – six days a week – 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 and we look forward to sharing it all with you.
Let’s get started.
Could Mike Weber impact the playoff race?
As Ohio State learned in 2014, it’s certainly possible for freshmen to step up and carry a team into the playoff picture. Redshirt freshmen like J.T. Barrett, Eli Apple and Darron Lee all played big for the Buckeyes that season.
This year, the Buckeyes have no shortage of freshmen to pick from. With 21 of 25 players in the class of 2015 redshirting last fall and a whole new class of true freshmen set to enroll, more than half of Ohio State’s roster is made up of players with freshman eligibility.
So which one might make the biggest impact for OSU this fall? Sports Illustrated put redshirt freshman Mike Weber on its list of 10 freshmen who could shape this season.
He was expected to compete with senior Bri’onte Dunn for carries this season, but Dunn was dismissed from the team this summer. That leaves Weber to carry the load, with junior Curtis Samuel serving as a speedy alternative, in an offense that loses two of its top receivers (Michael Thomas, Braxton Miller) but will be guided by shrewd veteran passer Barrett. If Weber struggles, it’ll damage Ohio State’s attempt to vanquish Michigan and Michigan State in the Big Ten East and reach the national title game following a (gasp!) one-year absence. If he takes well to a prominent role despite his inexperience, Weber will be proof positive of Urban Meyer’s ability to restock his lineup with first-rate talent.
What Chris Ash learned at Ohio State
For Ohio State fans keeping up with Tom Herman at Houston or Chris Ash at Rutgers, a lot of things the former Buckeye assistants do must look familiar.
Whether its Real Life Wednesdays, game champions or Friday Night Lights, a lot of concepts that Urban Meyer uses at Ohio State have taken on similar iterations in New Jersey and Texas. Ash elaborated a little bit more on that in a first-person piece for Sports Illustrated.
We took Urban’s mat drills from Ohio State, which are high intensity quickness and agility drills done on mats. We also grade players on everything—attitude, effort and even hydration. We had a player this winter strain his hamstring. It turned out his hydration levels were off the day before. He got called out for letting his unit down for not being properly hydrated.
And while there are plenty of reminders about the Buckeyes, there are also circumstances that prevent Rutgers from operating fully the way Ohio State does.
When you walk around our facility, a lot of the program feels like Ohio State. That’s where I came from last, serving two years as defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer before taking the Rutgers job. And while a lot of our structure, attitude and approach comes from my experience there, we don’t have the same facilities and resources as Ohio State. So in recruiting, especially, I’ve had to go back more to my other experiences as an assistant coach at places like Arkansas, Wisconsin and Iowa State. Urban Meyer’s philosophy was that we wouldn’t recruit a player unless he had the potential to be a first-round NFL draft pick. We’re not there yet here at Rutgers.
Don’t disappoint Larry Johnson
Most college football coaches spend practices issuing out commands that would be unprintable in this space. That does not apply to Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson, however. The longtime assistant coach does not curse, a lifelong practice he attributes to hearing some foul-mouthed coaches in his younger years.
That should be good news for players looking to avoid a scolding, right? Well, think again. Just ask defensive end Jalyn Holmes, who dreads disappointing his position coach.
From the Columbus Dispatch:
“Normally a coach would get after you, cuss at you,” Holmes said, and it rolls through one ear and out the other. “But when (Johnson) looks at you and doesn’t say anything, you’re wondering what he’s thinking. You’re wondering if he’s mad at you. It’s worse. … It works, though. I like how he coaches, him not cussing. He gets to telling you what you’re doing wrong instead of getting after you so bad.”
Wimmers reaches the big leagues
Former Ohio State pitcher Alex Wimmers was a first-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2010 MLB Draft and was thought of as a player with potential to make a quick ascent to the major league level.
Instead, he had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and had another surgery in 2013. He struggled with control and didn’t begin to really climb the minor-league ladder until 2014, when he jumped up from high single-A to double-A. He progressed to triple-A in 2016 and his long wait was finally rewarded when the Twins called him up from Rochester on Friday.
The #Twins have called up pitcher Alex Wimmers, their first pick in the 2010 draft. Congrats to him. A long climb to the big leagues.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) August 26, 2016
Wimmers didn’t have much of a wait to make his MLB debut. He pitched a scoreless eighth inning in Minnesota’s 15-8 loss to Toronto on Friday.
3 up, 3 down for Alex Wimmers in his Twins debut. After long, long road the former No. 1 pick has traveled to get here, it has to feel good.
— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) August 27, 2016
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