Nineteen seniors will be walking out of the tunnel at Ohio Stadium for the final time on Saturday.
And they’re all trying not to think about it.
In a physical game like college football, emotions are meant to drive the players, not leave them vulnerable.
When it’s your last game at home and your family is there to greet you, however, all bets are off.
“Honestly, I haven’t really thought about it. I’m trying not to think about it, but I keep being asked about it,” said linebacker Chris Worley. “Honestly, it’s been a wonderful place for me here. This is my sanctuary, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to be pretty choked up coming out of that tunnel.”
Worley knows it is going to be nearly impossible for him to stay stoic. Other Buckeyes are a little more confident.
“I’ve been trying not to think about that. I’ve been trying to think about the game. But yeah, running out to the fans for the last time…I ain’t gonna cry, but it’s going to be a tough moment,” said defensive end Jalyn Holmes. “I promise you I ain’t gonna cry. Nah, I ain’t gonna cry. I’m just going to keep telling myself that so I’ll be cool.”
So who is going to cry?
“Tracy [Sprinkle] is gonna cry,” he said.
What about renowned leader J.T. Barrett?
“J.T. is gonna cry,” Holmes said matter of factly.
“I haven’t really thought about it,” Barrett said. “I mean, there will probably be a lot of emotion. Things like that. I might see my mom cry for the first time. That’s a big deal. I’m 22 years old and haven’t seen that. I’m not sure. I think it’s going to be just a good time. I’m not going to do too much reflecting because we’ve still got a ballgame. I think it will be good just having my parents out there.”
Maintaining focus on the task at hand will be a tactic that the seniors use in order to keep the situation from getting too emotional, but it will be impossible to not get lost in the moment.
And that’s sort of the point of the whole celebration.
“I’ve got all kinds of family coming in,” said center Billy Price. “I don’t know whether or not I’ll bust a tear. I kind of plan on busting a series at Senior Tackle because that’s kind of more emotional for me. But again, embrace it. Embrace the people who have helped you get there. Your parents, your girlfriend, your loved ones, whatever the case may be. And I know all of those people are going to be there for me on Saturday.”
“He’s definitely gonna cry,” Holmes said of Price. “William is gonna cry. I don’t call Billy ‘Billy’. William is gonna cry.”
In fact, to hear Holmes tell it, there are only going to be two seniors who will be able to maintain their composure.
“Me and Jamarco [Jones] are probably going to be the only ones who are not going to cry,” he said.
Jones is plenty aware that Saturday isn’t going to be easy, but he will try to put his emotions in his back pocket. At least until the game is over.
“Probably when I see my mom because she’s going to be crying. I already know that. So that’s going to be horrible right before the game, but you’ve still got to go out there and play football,” he said.
“We still have goals to accomplish, so you’ve got to put it in perspective. I think after, when I get to sit down with my family and it comes up, and I’ll just really take it in that I just played my last game, I think it will hit me a lot more.”
Thank you seniors for your contributions and your love for OSU and your Buckeye family!!
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