Football

Ohio State Football Notebook: ‘Everyone here, they have expectations for themselves’

Nicholas Petit-Frere Ohio State Buckeyes

Could Injured Buckeyes Return?

The Buckeyes lost a couple of key players to injury this spring.

Redshirt freshman wide receiver Kamryn Babb torn an ACL and fifth-year senior linebacker Justin Hilliard suffered an Achilles injury.

Both players were expected to contribute in a variety of ways this season. Both players have also spent much of their respective Ohio State careers dealing with significant injuries.

For Hilliard, who graduated this past weekend, the injury follows a productive 2018 season where he was a leader on special teams.

For Babb, he spent all of last year rehabbing from a torn ACL, only to tear another.

The prognosis for both is still up in the air.

“Anytime you deal with these injuries… you never want them to happen. If it happens early in the spring, it gives you the best chance to get back and rehab,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said this spring.

“We have the best people in the business. [Physical therapist Adam Stewart] and our guys will do everything they can to get them back and ready to roll. I never want to take and put limitations on when guys can come back because everybody’s bodies are different. We’re going to be pulling for these guys. We will give them all the resources they need to get ready for the preseason. There’s time to get those guys ready. We will see as the months go on.”

Five-Star Expectations for Nicholas Petit-Frere

Recruiting rankings carry positives and negatives.

Some players are more concerned with what it takes to improve their rankings during the summer than during the season.

Some players use the lack of ranking attention to drive them.

In the end, whenever a recruit finally signs and steps onto the field for the first time, their rankings will do them no good.

But those rankings still bring expectations with them.

When asked if it creates undue pressure, redshirt freshman right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere — himself a former 5-star signee — said this spring that nothing can exceed the expectations players have for themselves.

“Well, it’s my expectations,” he said. “It’s not really expectations of ‘Oh, he was rated a 5-star guy.’ No. Everyone here, they have expectations for themselves. So really when you get here, it’s not, ‘Oh, he was a big-time guy.’ A lot of people believed in me in high school. A lot of people said I could do well. My high school coaches really believed in me.

“They said, ‘Look, we think you can play at the next level. We think you could play in college. We think you could play at a great university such as the Ohio State University.’ Those are my expectations because it’s a self-determination for me to get better.”

How’s Life With Ryan Day as Head Coach?

There are five current Ohio State assistant coaches who were on Urban Meyer’s staff previously.

They operated as Meyer wanted them to and adjusted to his demands.

Now those five coaches — Tony Alford, Brian Hartline, Kevin Wilson, Greg Studrawa, and Larry Johnson — have experienced the better part of the last six months as Ryan Day’s assistants.

They all got a pretty good look at what that would be like last August and September. The program finally changed hands completely in Janaury, and so did some of the processes.

Even though there has been an attempt to be as seamless as possible from Meyer to Day, these are two different people with different personalities, and those five assistant coaches have had to shift a bit to what Day wants.

So how has Day been?

“I think he’s great. What am I going to say, he’s bad?” Alford laughed. “You can tell he’s much more comfortable, too, in what he’s doing. And I think that just comes with time. Last time, he got thrown in, ‘here we go.’ He’s been able to prepare for this moment. He lets us coach and it’s great. He allows us to coach and own our rooms. And that’s not saying Urban didn’t. But that’s what Ryan is doing.

“He’s not micromanaging things and you can tell he’s much more comfortable with ‘here we are, here’s what the plan of attack is.’ I love his demeanor every day. It hasn’t changed. Such a high-energy guy and positive, and it has not changed from day one. That’s a joy to work for.”