Wayne’s Robert Landers competing for playing time at Ohio State

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Wayne grad Landers excited about potential of young Buckeyes.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The goal and the dream is simple for Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle Robert Landers: “Touch the field.”

The 6-foot-1, 285-pound Wayne High School graduate redshirted as a freshman in 2015 and finds himself in the mix for playing time on an inexperienced but deep and talented line in 2016. He’s competing with redshirt junior Michael Hill and redshirt freshman Davon Hamilton.

“At our position right now, we’re pretty loaded all the way across,” said Landers on Sunday during Ohio State Media Day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. “I don’t see why all three of us wouldn’t touch the field, but (defensive line coach Larry Johnson) gets the final say. We still have another week of camp and another scrimmage. Saturday will tell all.”

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Ohio State held its first scrimmage last weekend. Landers collided with an offensive lineman’s knee brace Saturday and suffered a thigh bruise. He supported himself on crutches Sunday but said it was a minor bruise and not a serious setback.

Sunday was Ohio State’s first off day since beginning practice Aug. 7. It has two-a-days Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week.

“I’ll take it easy the next few days,” Landers said. “I’ll ice and stretch and be right back at practice. I love what I do. Since I love what I do, pushing through injury is not that difficult for me. It’s not a major injury. I’m not worried about it. I’m kind of stubborn, so I’ll probably be back to practice tomorrow.”

Whoever grabs the starting job at Landers’ position will be a new starter. Hill is the player most likely to start because he has the most experience of the three. He played in all 13 games last season, including one start against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.

“We all have our different attributes,” Landers said. “I’m more of a speed, finesse type of player. Davon is more of a strong solid guy. Michael Hill is the same way. We’re able to display ourselves in different ways. Right now it’s more about who can put together the more solid camp.”

Johnson said Landers has had a great camp.

“He’s gotten stronger,” Johnson said. “He’s leaner. He’s really in a great position right now to help us in the fall.”

Once football season ends, fans of the Dayton Flyers might spot Landers at UD Arena. His younger brother Trey will be a freshman at UD. Robert has offered Trey advice about adapting to college, especially in the area of time management.

“It’s different going from high school where I’m going to be in school from 8 to 3 o’clock, and I’ve got practice from here to here,” Robert said. “Now it’s like, I’ve got lifting in the morning at 6. Then I’ve got classes. Then I might have tutoring. Then I might have to go to film. That’s the most difficult part. Once you get all your time management down, it’s a breeze.”

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