When the Buckeyes found themselves in need of another running back, Tony Alford considered his options. Those who have played for the Running Backs Coach, will tell you he deeply cares for his players and naturally builds strong bonds with them. Coach Alford also understands that football means business and if a player he recruited chooses a different path then there’s no hard feelings. In fact, he even leaves the door open for them, just in case.
Opportunity came knocking to one of those recruits as the Ohio State running back room dealt with injuries. Although Trey Sermon went to Oklahoma after Alford recruited him in high school, the running back spoke highly of his relationship with Alford, remembering when he played against him three years ago.“We talked a little bit after the game and he was just checking in with me, how I was doing,” Sermon said of the reunion, “so now, once we got to this point… we picked up where we left off.”
The adjustment certainly appears to have been seamless. Coach Alford was mostly impressed with how Trey jumped straight to work as a pure student of the game. He shared his appreciation for Trey during the Tuesday press conference admiring how he “attacked the playbook…on a quest for knowledge.” He further explained that Trey would visit him at his home (socially distanced) and share text messages during various hours of the day as Trey studied film.
Teammate, Master Teague, echoed the same accolades of how quickly Sermon learned Ohio State’s offense. Teague had high praise for Sermon calling him a “high character guy, you know, very disciplined.” He also embraced the added competition in the running backs room stating that it is another “chance to make each other better, make everybody better… so I think he’s going to be a great compliment to the room”.
Adding depth is crucial for the Buckeyes considering the many pandemic protocols the Big Ten Conference has in place this season. In the year of 2020, those relationships come full circle because you just never know when opportunity will come knocking.