Ohio State Football Notebook: ‘Everybody’s got to go earn it’

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As a First-Team All-American last season, it could be said that Ohio State junior Nick Bosa was one of the two best defensive ends in college football.

The talent makes a strong argument, and the production didn’t do a bad job either. Now a junior, Bosa isn’t planning on staying the same player he was a year ago. He is working to be better than he was as a sophomore.

“Yeah, there’s always stuff to add,” Bosa said. “The better our tackles get, the better I have to get to keep dominating. There’s so much that you can get better at. It’s just everything gets faster and faster and faster. That’s the biggest thing, just doing everything faster.”

Stay Ahead of the Curve

Playing Ohio State football is never a fixed situation. Yes, the schedule is regimented, but opportunities are always coming and going. The best players are going to play, or at least that is the message sent by the Buckeye coaches.

When you look at the receiver position for the Buckeyes, the depth is such that it’s difficult to imagine many more players getting involved. According to position coach Zach Smith, however, the same rules apply no matter how much depth and experience return.

“If somebody’s playing at a higher level than K.J. [Hill], they’re going to play over K.J.,” Smith said. “I love K.J., it’s not just K.J., any one of them. If Austin Mack is not playing as well as Jaylen Harris, then Jaylen Harris is going to play over Austin Mack.

“There’s some loyalty to a guy that’s played, or you just expect that that will be the starter next year, but there’s no expectation here. Everybody’s got to go earn it. That gives a young guy hope who maybe didn’t have as strong of a role, and it keeps those older guys motivated to stay ahead of the curve, stay ahead of those younger guys because people are coming after their spot.”

No Gain, No Pain

Urban Meyer talked last year about the need for H-back C.J. Saunders to get bigger and stronger if he was ever going to be more than a hood ornament. As a receiver, players need to be able to run block, or else they can’t help the offense as needed.

Saunders played last year at around 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds. That’s not quite big enough for Ohio State football.

So, in order to put himself in a position for a larger role in 2018, Saunders has spent the offseason trying to make himself a more complete player. He has gained 10 pounds over the winter, and will add more weight and strength over the summer.

How has he added the weight?

“I like steak a lot, so I just buy a bunch of cheap steaks at Kroger and make those at night,” Saunders said. “I’d say a big thing is eating before you go to bed, and eating whatever it is, peanut butter sandwiches, protein shakes that while you sleep you have that eight hours of not eating and it sits in your stomach and can digest slowly.

A Long Way from Home

Freshman defensive tackle Tommy Togiai came to Ohio State from Pocatello, Idaho. That’s about 1,800 miles away, which is a very long way from home.

The distance had Togiai’s family concerned initially, but Urban Meyer and his coaching staff eventually eased everyone’s concerns.

“At first they said that’s too far and everything,” Togiai said. “That was my family that said that, but my friends said that was super cool and everything and that would be really cool to see me out there. But once my family got in contact with the coaches and everything, it really helped them to overcome the fear of me going this far.”

And since we’re on the subject of long distances, feel free to check out the video below from a circle drill featuring Tommy Togiai (72) and freshman center Matthew Jones (54).