breaking news

Multiple crashes on area highways causing severe backups

Ohio State football: Wayne’s Robert Landers focused on leadership, production for Buckeyes

Robert Landers earned his first start in an Ohio State uniform last Saturday.

That’s a big deal, right?

Not to Landers.

“Honestly my mindset about it really hasn’t changed,” the Wayne High School graduate said Wednesday. “My biggest thing from my first year playing to now is just come out and produce.

“(I want to) contribute as best I can to not only the defense but the team to try to come out with a win week to week. So I really didn’t pay it much attention. I’m just out there trying to have fun.”

>>RELATED: Area players who have signed with Ohio State

With a smile as wide as his 6-foot-1, 283-pound frame, Landers usually looks like he’s enjoying himself. 

He’s often productive, too.

As part of a rotation on the defensive line that sometimes went three deep, the fourth-year junior led the group in tackles-for-loss per play in 2016 and ’17.

He picked up another stop behind the line of scrimmage Saturday against Oregon State, giving him 13.5 in a career that may be only about half over. 

Landers has seen a lot in his time at Ohio State.

After redshirting in 2015, he played in 13 games as a redshirt freshman and 13 more last year.

With four players from last year’s rotation gone, including three who made NFL rosters, Landers has seen his role evolve from young guy looking to contribute to old hat hoping to hand down knowledge.

His message for a group of defensive tackles that includes five first- or second-year players who were four- or five-star recruits: The game will slow down as experience builds, so learn from any mistakes along the way.

“Once the game slows down, it’s almost like high school again,” Landers said. “The biggest thing when you’re young is learning how to be patient, especially coming out of high school with all these accolades.”

>>RELATED: Urban Meyer returns to practice at Ohio State

Despite being one of the older players on the defensive line, Landers is not among the first two or even three to be mentioned as next in line to jump to the pros.

If hearing that NFL scouts are probably more excited about Nick Bosa, Chase Young and Dre’Mont Jones was a slight to Landers, he didn’t let on this week.

“Oh man it’s exciting,” he said. “Sometimes I catch myself being a fan, just watching. Especially on our third down package. If I were playing quarterback, I would be terrified of them.”

He said he loves playing with such a deep and talented group because they feed off each other.

“The whole unit is unselfish,” Landers said. “We all get energy from each other. It really makes my life easier some days.”

Of course, “easy” is a relative term when it comes to playing in the trenches in the Big Ten. 

The next challenge will come Saturday from an improving Rutgers team that beat Texas State 35-7 in its opener.

The Scarlet Knights had one of the worst offenses in college football last season, though an offensive line that returns three starters was one of the bright spots.

“All the way across the board their O-line is very good,” Landers said. “They’re very athletic. They’re big. They’re pretty mobile. They work well together. They’re good at picking up different stunts and communicating. It will be a good challenge for us that will show us where we are as a front four.”

The Scarlet Knights are sure to try to take advantage of some of the issues Ohio State’s defense had in a season-opening win against Oregon State, a 77-31 blowout that featured a lot of offensive fireworks on both sides.

“Those were little mistakes we made that were just very uncommon for our defense,” Landers said. “We’ve got to go back to the drawing board after every game and just fix and tweak the little things, make sure we’re solidified with our fundamentals.” 

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

HS Roundup 9/25: Area teams, golfers compete in D-III sectionals

Division III boys golf began sectional play on Tuesday, with several area teams and individuals making the cut. Middletown Christian and Cedarville each qualified from the Walden Ponds tournament. Evan Green shot an 86 for MC and Adam Wood led Cedarville with an 84. Austin Whitton of Cin. Christian and Amay Kejriwal and Alec Martin of Miami Valley...
HS Scores 9/25: Northmont golf wins FireBolt Cup

Boys Soccer Tuesday’s Results Alter 2, McNicholas 2 Beavercreek 3, Wayne 0 Bellbrook 2, Oakwood 0 Carroll 9, Badin 0 Dixie 4, Madison 2 Eaton 2, Valley View 2 Fairborn 3, West Carrollton 1 Fairmont 2, Springfield 0 Greenon 3, Stebbins 1 Northmont 3, Lebanon 0 Oak Hills 1, Middletown 0 Sidney 3, Piqua 1 Springboro 2, Miamisburg 1 Tippecanoe 8...
Dwayne Haskins excited for opportunity to compete ‘blow for blow’ with Penn State’s McSorley
Dwayne Haskins excited for opportunity to compete ‘blow for blow’ with Penn State’s McSorley

Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson had the quote of the night Tuesday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Asked about the play of quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who has won the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week award twice in his first four career starts, Wilson said, “He’s very accurate. If he went to the county fair, he’d win a...
Wittenberg’s new athletic facility, opening in 2019, has a catchy name
Wittenberg’s new athletic facility, opening in 2019, has a catchy name

The new $40 million indoor athletic facility rising on the campus of Wittenberg University will be known simply as  “The Steemer,” Wittenberg Athletic Director Gary Williams said Tuesday. “It’s just the Steemer,” Williams said. “That’s what Wes wanted to call it. It’s kind of catch.” Wes...
Hal McCoy: Barry Larkin turns down interview for Cincinnati Reds manager post
Hal McCoy: Barry Larkin turns down interview for Cincinnati Reds manager post

For those hoping and wishing and praying that Barry Larkin will be the next manager of the Cincinnati Reds, well, your hopes, wishes and prayers won’t be answered. Larkin doesn’t want it. Not at this time. Maybe down the road, but not now. This startling information comes from President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams, who indicated...
More Stories