OSU tight ends put team goals first

Bill Rabinowitz
Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) gets a block from tight end Luke Farrell (89) on Indiana Hoosiers defensive lineman Jerome Johnson (98) as he throws a pass during the first quarter of the NCAA football game at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind. on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. [Adam Cairns/Dispatch]

Ohio State’s starting tight end does not have a reception this season heading into a game Saturday against Miami University. Luke Farrell doesn’t mind.

Rashod Berry also doesn’t have a catch. No big deal to him, either.

When you play tight end at Ohio State, you accept that you’re not going to rack up receiving stats. That’s just the way it is.

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But that doesn’t mean that tight ends are afterthoughts in the offense, and this season they have been invaluable. Jeremy Ruckert and Jake Hausmann join Farrell and Berry in a four-man rotation that coach Ryan Day and position coach Kevin Wilson have repeatedly praised.

Hausmann also doesn’t have a reception. Ruckert might get kicked out of the OSU tight ends' players union because he does have four catches, including two for touchdowns in the opener against Florida Atlantic.

Ohio State often uses more than one tight end on the field this season as the Buckeyes have shifted to a less pass-dominated offense. All four are adept blockers — even Ruckert, who signed last year as an elite pass-catching tight end. He had a key block Saturday on Master Teague’s 40-yard touchdown run against Indiana.

Farrell said that video review of that play drew whoops of congratulations in the meeting room, and there’s a genuine sense of camaraderie among the group.

Farrell is considered the most complete of the four, and Berry the best athlete.

“He’s an incredible player,” Berry said of Farrell. “He does everything right.”

“Rashod is super powerful, athletic and one of the most explosive guys on the team,” Farrell said of Berry.

But isn’t there at least a smart part of them that would like to lobby for a catch?

“No,” said Farrell, a junior from Perry. “We got a big win Saturday. I played well, graded out a champion, so I'm happy.”

Berry, who also graded a champion, had a similar view.

“It's not frustrating,” he said. “If I got frustrated, I'd be selfish, and I'm a team player, so I can't be selfish. That would mess up my mindset. I’ve just got to go out there and do what I can to help the team.”

That’s the same attitude the tight ends have about sharing snaps.

“It’s great having that rotation with us four,” Farrell said.

They don’t need catches to have validation.

“I'm happy,” Farrell said. “I mean, we're Ohio State tight ends. We're expected to do it all, and if opportunities come our way, we'll take advantage of them.”

Lineman Davis takes criticism in stride

One of the television broadcasters during the Indiana game said that a Hoosiers coach considered the right side of Ohio State’s offensive line — guard Wyatt Davis and tackle Branden Bowen — to be the weaker side.

“Yes, I did hear that,” Davis said. “I just try not to focus on stuff that comes from outside the team. I get that there’s probably going to be multiple comments like that made throughout the season.”

The reason, he said, is because he became a full-time starter only this season and Bowen didn’t play last year after a long recovery from a broken leg.

All five starting linemen have graded as champions in every game.

“I think Branden Bowen and Wyatt Davis are two of the better linemen in the country,” Day said.


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