Ohio State’s players had filtered into the Mike Conley Jr. Weight Room, and strength and conditioning coach Quadrian Banks was getting Thursday afternoon’s workout session underway.


One player was missing, however, as 13 Buckeyes followed Banks’ first instruction: “Right foot, golf ball, here we go.” Players began to limber up, using the specified instrument to stretch the soft tissue on the bottoms of their sock-clad feet. Next came the other foot, then calf stretches and foam rolls as sophomore center Micah Potter gave Banks a full roster with which to work.


Potter arrived in a sweat-soaked, white Ohio State shirt and immediately jumped in. The sun was filtering through the clouds and peeking through the windows overlooking the loading dock at Value City Arena, and after the Buckeyes stretched all their joints – even going through wrist stretches, both clockwise and counter-clockwise – shoes were donned and Banks explained the stations both throughout the room and in the hallway.


Then, when things got going, he cranked the music for a surprising tune – an instrumental titled, “If I Fight, You Fight (Training Montage)” by Ludwig Goransson from the soundtrack to the movie “Creed.”



What followed was pretty standard. Heavy things lifted, encouragement shouted, bodies pushed and sweat dripped from brows as each player rotated through the multiple stations. Heart rates were monitored and displayed on televisions mounted throughout the room, assuredly to be checked by the staff later. By nearly appearances, it was mostly indistinguishable from workouts opened to reporters when Dave Richardson served in what is now Banks’ capacity. Just like then, the players who want to work hard and get stronger will do just that and those who won’t, likely won’t.


But plenty has changed. Banks, after having spent the last three-plus seasons in the NFL, is putting his stamp on the program. New faces abound as familiar ones work their way back to action.


As the workouts progress, sophomore Andre Wesson is separated from the crowd and heads to a corner elliptical machine nearest the windows. Still working his way back into things after an undisclosed medical condition forced him to sit out the entire summer, Wesson limbered up alongside his brother, Kaleb, a freshman.


As he toiled away on the machine, though, senior Jae’Sean Tate made sure he didn’t feel alone, shouting encouragement across the room over the cacophony of sound.


Elsewhere, graduate senior Andrew Dakich, who transferred into the program from Michigan this summer, looked every bit the wizened upperclassman. As sets concluded and breaks awarded, there was Dakich, slapping hands and offering encouragement to his new teammates.


Other notes from today’s interview session with Banks:


*Fourth-year junior Keita Bates-Diop continues to make progress after taking a medical redshirt for a leg injury last season.


“Keita’s doing a great job,” Banks said. “I’m excited about Keita. He’s a very high-ceiling. He comes to work every day consistent. He’s a great leader as well. He’s coming along. The leg is no longer really an issue with him; we’re just trying to play catch-up from him missing that last year and getting him back so when he hits the floor it’s game speed.”


*Banks had positive things to say when asked about the team’s three recruited freshmen: Musa Jallow, Kyle Young and Kaleb Wesson.


“Outstanding,” he said. “Musa Jallow’s doing a great job. Kaleb, he’s really coming along. Kyle Young, these guys come in with a work ethic and an approach and they’re pros already. We’re just further giving them tools to be successful. They’re doing a great job.”


As for Jallow, who won’t turn 18 until February, “Musa’s very impressive, how he came in. He came in by no means a finished product, but he could do some things from a physical standpoint. He was probably ahead of the curve if you’re looking at every other freshman, but there’s still many different things we can work on with him and he’s coming along great.”