Ohio State’s football facility gets redecorated, Thad Matta defends Big Ten

Ben Axelrod

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Today is Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call.

The Woody gets redecorated

While the $43 million renovation of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center is far from finished, Ohio State’s football facility received some redecorating this week. As Buckeyes wide receivers coach Zach Smith shared on Twitter, his players will now be greeted by a friendly face upon entering their position meeting rooms.

The wide receivers room isn’t alone in receiving a redecoration. According to assistant running backs coach Sean Buckley, new artwork has been installed outside the running back and tight ends rooms as well.

The prominence of ex-Buckeyes in the NFL in the Ohio State facility is two-fold. On the one hand, it lets current players know the standard in their respective position rooms. On the other, it serves as a friendly reminder to recruits just what the Buckeyes staff is capable of turning its talent into.

I mean, Ohio State does use its ex-players-turned-NFL stars on the recruiting trail, right?

“Ya think?” Urban Meyer said with a smile on National Signing Day.

Thad Matta defends the Big Ten

With its 70-64 win against Rutgers on Wednesday night, the Ohio State men’s basketball team moved to 15-10 on the season and 5-7 in Big Ten play. And while they rank ninth in the conference standings, the Buckeyes are only a couple wins away from cracking the top half the league.

At the conclusion of play Wednesday, nine teams in the league possessed between 4 and 6 conference wins. So do the muddled Big Ten standings mean the Big Ten is enjoying parity throughout — or is simply mediocre as a whole?

Ohio State coach Thad Matta has a message for anybody who thinks it’s the latter.

“Honestly, probably the greatest advice my father’s ever given me in life (is) ‘never rule out stupidity in a conversation,’ ” Matta said with a smile when asked about the idea that the Big Ten is simply average. “This league is tough, boys.”

Nobody knows that better than Matta.

After getting off to an 0-4 start in Big Ten play, the Buckeyes have a chance to make some noise in the next 10 days with games against No. 21 Maryland, Michigan State and Nebraska. Riding a two-game winning streak, if Ohio State is ever going to gain some ground in the league, the time is now.

Former Buckeye gets extra year

Remember Warren Ball, the former 4-star running back who was a part of Meyer’s first recruiting class at Ohio State?

After transferring from the Buckeyes program following the 2015 campaign, the Columbus native caught on at the University of Akron, where an undisclosed injury limited him to just two games with the Zips in 2016.

Ball’s college career, however, isn’t over just yet. On Wednesday, Akron announced that the NCAA had granted Ball a sixth season of eligibility for 2017.

Per the school’s release:

“We are extremely happy that Warren will continue as a member of our team,” sixth-year head coach Terry Bowden said. “His leadership on and off the field has been a tremendous asset so far, and we look for his continued contributions to our success.”

Serving as the Zips’ starting running back in their first two games last season, Ball rushed for 181 yards and a TD, including 110 yards in a season-opening win vs. VMI. As he stays healthy, Ball will square off with a familiar Big Ten opponent in his first game back in 2017 — Akron opens the season against Penn State in Happy Valley on Sept. 2.

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