Sabino Out Indefinitely
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State linebacker Etienne Sabino will miss this week’s game against Indiana and likely more after injuring his leg during Saturday’s 63-38 win over Nebraska.
Photo by Jim Davidson
An Ohio State spokesperson confirmed that Sabino would not play this week at Indiana because of a lower leg injury but would not speculate on the senior’s status beyond this week.
Sabino, a fifth-year senior out of Miami (Fla.), was wearing a protective walking boot after the game and sources have indicated to The-Ozone that the injury will likely force him to miss more than just this week’s game in Bloomington.
The injury occurred in the first half of the Buckeyes’ big win over the Cornhuskers at Ohio Stadium late Saturday night. He was taken to the locker room on a cart, but eventually returned to the sideline in the second quarter with his pads still on.
The indication was that Sabino might be able to get back in the game, but that hope was dashed when he returned to the field in warmup pants for the start of the second half.
“One thing that pushed us a lot is when Etienne got hurt,” teammate Ryan Shazier said of his captain after the game.
“We tried to put it on our back. We try to do it for our brother because we're here for each other no matter what, and we'll always be there for each other.”
With Sabino out of the game, defensive coordinator Luke Fickell was forced to play a true freshman at Sam (strongside) linebacker. This was after true freshman Camren Williams had to step in for Shazier at Will (weakside) linebacker earlier in the game.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Joshua Perry, a true freshman out of Olentangy High School in Lewis Center, Ohio, replaced Sabino, who is third on the team behind Shazier and Christian Bryant with 38 tackles this season.
Perry is a 6-4, 238-pound linebacker who enrolled early at Ohio State back in January and completely transformed his body over the course of his first off-season under Mickey Marotti.
He was the first commitment in Ohio State’s 2012 recruiting class, and Perry was rated pretty highly – the No. 9 outside linebacker prospect in the country by Scout.com and No. 11 nationally at the position by Rivals.com – by the major recruiting services. He had had 70 tackles and seven sacks as a senior, and was top-five twice in the long jump at the Ohio state track and field championships; including a runner-up finish as a sophomore in 2010 (current Buckeye receiver Devin Smith won the event).
The Buckeyes also played a little bit of sophomore Curtis Grant, who lost his starting job at Mike (middle) linebacker to Storm Klein earlier in the year. Grant finished with one tackle and Perry was held without a stop against Nebraska, but the Buckeyes will need one of them to step up over the next couple weeks.
Fickell has already been playing a lot of nickel defense, which replaces the Sam linebacker with a fifth defensive back, in this case Corey Brown, but Sabino typically stayed on the field with Shazier in those passing situations.
Now the Buckeyes will be forced to use Klein, as they did Saturday after Sabino’s injury, in the nickel defense or play a true freshman as one of the only two linebackers on the field.
Along with Perry and Grant, senior Stewart Smith and freshman Jamal Marcus are also capable of playing the Sam linebacker position.
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