Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer says that Zach Boren is “probably” going to start Saturday. Boren says he’s ready.
So perhaps the senior’s appearance on the defense against Indiana was considered a stopgap, but he’s now officially part of the plan to stop Purdue.
“I am getting a little more comfortable,” Boren said. “[Co-defensive coordinator Luke] Fickell has been great with me on the practice field, and every day has been a learning process.”
If he’s truly started to settle in, watch out. In his first game since high school playing linebacker, he led the Buckeyes in tackles when he recorded eight against Indiana.
That may be why Boren admittedly lobbied to play linebacker even before this season. “There were probably 2-3 games in the past where I told them I’d go in and play.”
It could also explain why defensive lineman John Simon said he was glad to “finally” have Boren on his side of the ball.
Also praising his teammate was offensive lineman Jack Mewhort, who called what Boren has done “the ultimate sacrifice.”
“He’s the best fullback in the country,” Mewhort said, “and he’s going to go over and play linebacker, and give up three years of playing fullback, and maybe being All-Big Ten playing fullback to go over there.”
However, it’s not all downside for Boren. Coach Meyer says he’s talked to scouts, and they think this move proves Boren has the versatility that team’s prize at the next level.
Whether it also proves helpful in shoring up the Buckeye defense against the Boilermakers will be tested Saturday at noon.
UPDATE-In editing sound for the radio station last night, I came across this gem of a quote from Bradley Roby regarding Boren: “He’s short. He’s not that tall; but, I mean, he’s a big guy, so he’s not a little guy. He’s strong, and he goes hard. So he not look the part, but he can definitely play the part.”