Robert Landers doesn’t like being the center of attention, but he was Wednesday night at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, meeting with the media for the first time since he made his Ohio State Buckeyes debut Sept. 3 against Bowling Green.
In a season full of young players making names for themselves for the second-ranked team in the country, the Wayne High School graduate Landers has been one of the biggest surprises. A second-string defensive tackle and redshirt freshman, Landers leads Ohio State with five tackles for a loss and is tied for seventh in the Big Ten with 1.25 tackles for a loss per game.
“It’s been pretty fun,” Landers said. “I’m starting to get a little momentum. I’m starting mentally to be able to slow the game down. Right now I’m taking it one day at a time, one game at a time, one practice at a time. I’m taking advantage of every opportunity I get.”
Landers doesn’t get as many snaps as the starters, but he’s making the most of his playing time. He didn’t even know where he ranked in tackles for a loss.
“One thing about me is I don’t really care about stats,” Landers said. “I just try to contribute to the team as much as possible. We’re all family, and everybody plays a role. Everybody has their own game. I just try to play my game and try to make an impact in the game as best I can.”
The 6-foot-1 Landers is the shortest Ohio State defensive linemen on the depth chart by two inches. Everyone else is at least 6-3. He’s not the smallest, however. He weighs 285, which ranks third among the 11 players on the depth chart.
“I’m a little short for my size, but it plays to my advantage,” Landers said. “As coach (Larry) Johnson likes to say, I’m gravity challenged. A lot of offensive linemen are 6-3 or plus. It tends to be a little more difficult for them to bend down. One thing about me is I’m quick off the ball, and since I am a little shorter, I”m able to use my leverage to my advantage. I try to play my game.”