When you think Ohio State Buckeyes football, you think about defense. It’s a tradition that runs from Paul Brown to Woody Hayes to Jim Tressel, a tradition that has produced seven national championships and 34 Big Ten titles (plus two more in the old Ohio Athletic Conference). But Ohio State’s latest head coach is spread offense guru Urban Meyer, and last year’s Buckeyes defense finished No. 45 in efficiency, according to the F/+ numbers at Football Outsiders.
Better things are expected in 2014 after Ohio State went 12-2 last season, and just 6-7-1 against the college football odds. But this has already been a summer to forget in Columbus. Sophomore DL Tracy Sprinkle was kicked off the team Monday after getting arrested for a bar brawl and being charged with possession of cocaine. Sprinkle has pled not guilty and could be reinstated later down the road. For now, he’s out of the picture.
Nothing Good Happens After Midnight
Everything started to go pear-shaped late Friday night at the Grown & Sexy Lounge in Lorain, about two hours north of Columbus and not far from Cleveland. According to the police report, there were about 50 people outside the club, many of them fighting with one another. Inside, police found a pool table flipped over and broken lights and bottles everywhere. Sprinkle is 19 years old, by the way. He soon found himself in the back of a police car.
This is where things get really interesting. Sprinkle was moved from that car to another car, after which police reported finding two small bags of cocaine stuffed into the back seat of the first vehicle. That was enough to lead to possession charges, on top of the charges for rioting and failure to disperse. Sprinkle appeared in court Monday in shackles and was granted a $2,000 bond; his pretrial hearing is scheduled for July 31.
Dotting the E
In the grand scheme of things, this might not turn out to be much of a problem for the Buckeyes. If anything, it might give Meyer some welcome gravitas as a disciplinarian. Sprinkle came to Columbus as a three-star recruit last year and redshirted his freshman campaign; he’s got speed, and he’s got strength, although his technique could use some work. Sprinkle ultimately projected as a depth player on a defensive line that already includes senior DT Michael Bennett, sophomore DE Joey Bosa, junior DE Noah Spence and junior DE Adolphis Washington.
That doesn’t mean Sprinkle couldn’t have helped Ohio State’s D-line. Spence was suspended in January for three games, including the Orange Bowl, after what his father said was a positive test for ecstasy – a spiked drink was blamed at the time. Spence was originally banned for the full season, but the family appealed and the suspension was reduced. Those aren’t cupcake games Spence will be missing: Ohio State plays at Navy and at home against Virginia Tech to start the 2014 campaign. Never accept an open beverage, kids.
Big Man on Hiatus
In other unfortunate news, Tennessee Volunteers freshman DT Charles Mosley, all 6-foot-5 and 360-plus pounds of him, was involved in a car accident on Sunday and suffered a broken leg. Mosley had surgery later that night; he was reportedly in good condition after the procedure, but his timetable for returning to the gridiron is unknown.
Mosley is another three-star recruit, the No. 43-ranked defensive tackle in the Class of 2014 according to the ESPN 300 – although Scout.com has him pegged as a four-star recruit and No. 27 at DT. He played both sided of the ball in high school and could still help Tennessee improve on last year’s 5-7 record, including 5-7 against the NCAAF betting lines.
Be a better college football bettor with our free picks & odds analysis.