Josh Myers couldn’t have been more direct when he was asked whether he would want to play football for the Ohio State Buckeyes if there were no fans in the stands.
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“I would do anything to play this season,” said Myers, a Miamisburg graduate who was a first-year starter at center last season as a redshirt sophomore. “I don’t know what I would do without football, to be honest with you. With that would come sacrifices, and I personally am also willing to make those sacrifices.
“That would be doing whatever I would need to do to quarantine, to make sure I’m not getting anybody else sick. I think we’d have to do it in a very orderly way just to make sure that other people aren’t getting sick because of what we’re doing. I would sign any waiver or anything that would say I’m willing to play and quarantine myself and do whatever it takes.”
Myers spoke on a conference call, along with fellow offensive lineman Wyatt Davis, with reporters Thursday. Myers, Davis and the rest of the Buckeyes have done their best to keep in shape at home, not knowing when they will be allowed to return to campus and not knowing for sure if the season will start on time.
The coronarvirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for everyone. For now, all the Buckeyes know is the Big Ten has suspended organized team activities through June 1 and will reevaluate the situation then.
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“The last couple months have been hard, as I’m sure it has been for everybody else,” Myers said. “I think the Zoom meetings and staying in touch with the guys as much as possible has kind of kept me sane. In terms of working out, I’m sure everybody’s doing the best they can. I’m fortunate to have a pretty good amount of weights to where I can pretty much do everything I need to do in the weight room — maybe not quite as good as Ohio State’s weight room.”
Myers made the All-Big Ten second team last season and will be on the radars of NFL scouts in 2021 or 2022 if he returns for his final season of eligibility. The possibility of the season being cancelled scares him because of what it could mean for his future.
“It’s a nightmare, to be honest with you,” Myers said. “That’s time that we can never get back. I was excited for this season and am still hoping and praying that it happens and trusting that it will. It’s a critical time for development and getting that experience and elevating our games to even higher levels, as high as we can possible take them. Even the thought of not playing this season is terrible and an absolutely worst-case scenario.”
Myers and his teammates already lost a critical time for development with the cancellation of most of the spring season. He hopes they get enough time to train together this summer before returning to action.
“In terms of being ready for the season,” Myers said, “I think the biggest thing is going to have to be trusting that what we did was enough and we’re as ready as we can be given the circumstances, and hopefully we’ll able to to train for two weeks before we start hitting. That would be the ideal scenario. I know if anybody can get us completely right in two weeks, it’s coach Mick (Marotti).”
Myers knows when players return to campus they may have to train in small groups to limit the chance of spreading COVID-19. That might mean lifting weights at all hours of the day. He said the players trust the medical staff to do what’s right and to keep them safe. His biggest worry would be getting infected and then infecting his parents.
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“Being back in Columbus, I would not be with my family,” Myers said, “and it would be unfortunate not to see them, but I would be sure I couldn’t give it to them.”
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Myers has been working out at home. He’s keeping up with school work and internships.
“I’m not sitting here doing nothing all day,” Myers said. “That’s kept me sane.”
His brother Zach Myers, a 2012 Miamisburg graduate who played at Kentucky, has helped him with workouts.
“He can still play,” Josh said. “He’s in good shape. Me and him do all kinds of drills together. Luckily, I have him and I’m able to work on a lot of stuff.”
Even with access to weights, Myers misses the extra things he can only get at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, such as the 300-pound blocking sled that helps linemen work on moving their feet after making contact. They hit the sled without pads, training their bodies for the real thing that comes on the practice field and on Saturday afternoons in the fall.
“You have to be powerful enough to move large grown men when they don’t want to be moved,” Myers said. “There’s no other position like it in sports.”
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