Nobody ever accuses Robert Landers of not having a good time.
The Wayne High School product was one of the stars of Ohio State’s Rose Bowl media day, carrying around a microphone for part of the morning to do some interviews for a Columbus television station.
Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith and defensive line coach Larry Johnson were among his interview subjects, and the criminology major looked like a natural.
The junior defensive tackle said afterward he would be open to working in the media when his time at Ohio State is done, but for now he is more worried about what he can do to help the Buckeyes beat Washington on Tuesday.
The only thing odd about seeing Landers work a room was the microphone in his hand.
He’s always had the reputation of being someone who goes out of his way to make sure everyone is having a good time in the locker room.
“Just an amazing guy,” said Josh Myers, a redshirt offensive lineman from Miamisburg. “Treats everybody well. Never mad. Never angry. He just always has a smile on his face. Always personable. Always comes and says hi to me. When I was a freshman in the locker room and didn’t really know anybody he helped me through the process.”
It’s a role the 6-foot-1, 283-pound Landers is happy to play.
“My biggest thing is having somebody smile is probably one of the best things you can do,” Landers said. “When you come into the locker room you don’t know how good of a day or how bad of a day somebody’s having.”
Fun in the sun
Both of the local products who were at media day confirmed they have been enjoying their time in California.
“I love it. It’s beautiful here,” Myers said. “This is my first time. I’ve only been to the West Coast once before.”
“California is very beautiful,” Landers added. “Our hotel is amazing. The scenery here is beautiful. There are so many elements to California, you really can’t get to ‘em all, but the areas I’ve been to have been phenomenal.”
The team practices every morning at the StubHub Center in Carson to the south of Los Angeles, typically has an afternoon activity then get the evenings to themselves.
“We went to a comedy club, Disneyland, I got to see the Hollywood sign the other day,” Myers said. “That was really cool. We drove down Sunset Boulevard. That was super cool, too. Just a bunch of places that I’ve heard about that I’d never seen before and gotten to experience.”
Freshman coming along
Landers is not the only Wayne Warrior on the Ohio State roster.
He shares it with Blue Smith, a freshman receiver who was not part of media day because he is not in the two-deep but who has been receiving praise from his older teammates for his development over the course of the season.
“I talk to Blue every day, and I can say this: I’m proud of Blue,” Landers said. “Coming into a program like Ohio State as a freshman and being able to compete at a high level is hard to do because it’s so many elements. No. 1, you’re very raw. Not in a negative way, but you’re immature just because you’re so young to the game and young to college football, so you go through the freshman wall and the freshman phase and he hit it like every freshman has.
“I don’t care who you are. If you play freshman football, you have to go through the development of the freshman phase and he struggled a little bit like every freshman does, but once he figured it out, it’s to the point that Blue down the road potentially even next year will have an outstanding impact and will contribute on an enormous level for this team.”