Robert Landers happy his mom will get to see him play in Fiesta Bowl

Ohio State’s Robert Landers talks to a reporter at Fiesta Bowl Media Day on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, at the Camelback Inn. David Jablonski/Staff
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Ohio State’s Robert Landers talks to a reporter at Fiesta Bowl Media Day on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, at the Camelback Inn. David Jablonski/Staff

Wayne grad calls his mom his No. 1 fan

Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle and Wayne grad Robert Landers won’t have two of his biggest fans supporting him Saturday at the Fiesta Bowl — not in person anyway. He knows his younger brothers will be hanging on every play back in Ohio.

Trey Landers has a game Friday night with the Dayton Flyers at UD Arena. His youngest brother Tallice is playing in a basketball showcase in Cincinnati.

However, the biggest Landers fan of them all, his mom, Tracy Matthews, arrives in Arizona on Friday, and she’ll be there Saturday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

“That’s my biggest supporter,” Landers said Thursday at Fiesta Bowl Media Day. “That’s my No. 1 fan. That’s my backbone. She stresses if she can’t make the game. I’m just glad she can make the game so she doesn’t have to stress about it as much.”

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Landers was on the sideline a year ago when Ohio State beat Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, but he knew he was redshirting as a freshman and wouldn’t play. Now he’s a part of the eight-man rotation on the defensive line. He recorded 7½ tackles for a loss in the regular season.

Landers doesn’t know how many snaps he’ll get Saturday. Every game is different.

“It all depends on how the game is going,” he said. “I don’t care how many snaps I get. My biggest thing is whatever your role is, play it. If you get minutes, make those the best minutes. If you don’t, then you don’t. Cheer on your teammates, and support them the best you can.”

Defensive line Larry Johnson tells Landers and the other defensive linemen when to enter the game.

“He says, ‘If you’re not on my hip when I call your name, then we have a problem,’” Landers said. “I say, ‘Yes, sir, I’m going to be right in your pocket.’”

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Robert Landers has played with a chip on his shoulder since he showed up at Ohio State. The former Wayne high school star will be in the mix on the Buckeyes defensive line when Ohio State meets Clemson Saturday night. Some said Landers wasn't big enough to excel at the big time level of college football but he continues to prove those people wrong. Landers says playing for the Buckeyes is a dream come true and a win in the Fiesta Bowl would make it that much better.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Centerville's Evan Lisle has seen the sidelines more than the field in his four years at Ohio State, but the Buckeyes offensive lineman says he knows he's just one play from getting on the field. Lisle graduated a couple of weeks ago and Saturday night could be his last game at Ohio State. Even though he still has one year of eligibility remaining, Evan says he is undecided on his future plans.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Lisle update: Centerville grad Evan Lisle has been in the center of some of the biggest plays of the season for the Buckeyes.

As a redshirt junior offensive lineman on the field-goal unit, he has experienced the best and worst of the season: the game-tying field goal in the final seconds against Michigan and the field goal blocked by Penn State and returned for one touchdown in Ohio State’s only loss.

On Thursday at the Camelback Inn, Lisle talked about both of those plays.

Of the Tyler Durbin kick against Michigan, a field goal that followed two misses, Lisle said, “You can’t flinch or else the game would be over. You just had to hold your gap. It was awesome. You’ve just got to do your job. He’s been good all year. Every kicker misses a field goal once in a while. You can’t let him get down.”

Of the block by Penn State, Lisle said, “The guy timed it up perfectly and jumped up. You look back on it and watch it. You’ve just got to move on, and we did as a team.”

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Lisle competed for a starting job this season when three starting jobs opened. He’s listed as a backup at left tackle to junior Jamarco Jones.

“It’s hard,” Lisle said. “You’re here for the team. My role is to do anything to help the team.”

At least one spot on the line will open after this season because Ohio State loses Pat Elflein. The competition for that job has already begun.

“I’ve got a year left,” Lisle said. “(Starting is) the goal. It starts in bowl practice. It’s been going on for a while. It’s all season. We’re always looking for the next guy.”