Saturday night gave Cincinnati defensive tackle Alex Pace a chance to show off his not so ready dance moves with a tackle for a loss against Miami Ohio. What does Pace call his shimmer that’s not good enough for him to be on Dancing with the Stars?
“It doesn’t really have a name right now,” Pace said with a big smile. “I was just really excited and don’t know what to call it. I was happy to be making that big play when we really needed it.”
After playing in two games last season, Pace has already matched that count and feels he’s made some great strides to his game.
“The season has gone very good so far,” he said. “This is really the first year of stepping up and playing more reps and playing a bigger role in our defense. Right now I’m going in when needed and doing what it takes go give our ones a rest when they need it.”
While Pace is not sure of the number of reps he’ll get against Ohio State. The Buckeyes are no stranger to him with so many former Tarblooders having played for the Scarlet and Grey.
“This game is really big,” he continued. “I did go look at Ohio State a couple of times and played in the Horseshoe twice. So this is really big as I get to play against some teammates and we talked about this when we first committed. So I can’t wait for this day to come.”
Does Pace worry about being too hyped at the start of the game?
“I don’t think there is a thing called too hyped,” he said. “I want to go in there with emotions high and just be ready to ball out and play to the best of my abilities. I’ve told many of my teammates that have not played in a stadium that holds more than 40,000 that this will probably be the biggest stadium we ever play in. So I just told them it’s going to be live.
“Going into this game we expect to win. As Coach (Tommy) Tuberville always says, we play each game as a one game season and right now this is our one game season and we’re playing this as it’s our big trophy game as we’re trying to be the best in the state.
“Of course playing under the lights is going to bring a little extra. But just having that stadium packed full of not only Ohio State fans, but also Bearcat fans that are truly loyal to us is going to be special.”
Like those before him under Glenville head coach Ted Ginn Sr., Pace is grateful for all the things his former coach has done over the years.
“Coach Ginn got so many of us ready for college and life,” explained Pace. “It if wasn’t for him, I don’t think I would be here now. He saved so many of us from being out on the streets of Cleveland by giving us a home and showing that being in Cleveland and doing the wrong things is not the way to live as there are better opportunities out there to get an education and better yourself in life. So I really think Coach Ginn for that.”
Like many college football players the summer allows for a return trip home to catch up with friends, family and former teammates. Pace claims he and one of his former teammates talk about Ohio State all the time.
“Going back and seeing some of the newer guys and some of the guys I played with or against is great. I have a former teammate Willie Henry who plays at Michigan and he just had a touchdown in a game at defensive tackle. So just getting together with him and making fun of the Buckeyes was one of the little things we did.”
What type of dance would Pace do if he ever scored at touchdown?
“If I had a touchdown, I think it might bring some flags,” he said with a grin. “My teammates said the way the dance was going that they thought I had cramps.”
While Pace is finding his way he’s also got a couple of players helping him see what being a high level player is all about in Silverberry Mouhon and Terrell Hartsfield. What has Pace learned from the upperclassmen?
“Just playing next to those guys make you want to kick it up another gear,” he said. “It started in camp when you get reps with the ones and those two every day our going out there and all they know how to do is to go out and get the money. It makes you want to go harder with them.”