The former Buckeye linebacker and two-year NFL veteran has joined the training staff, filling the vacated assistant strength coach position created when Doug Davis left to become the head of Kent State's program. Two days into his new job, Schlegel – an avid hunter in his spare time – told reporters that he wants the players to have a new attitude about themselves.
SEC schools can talk about their swagger. Schlegel wants the Buckeyes to have stank.
"Hunting hogs in Texas, a big boar hog has a stank about him," he said Tuesday while standing in the atrium of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. "You know that he's there because of his smell. When (the Buckeyes go on the field or you walk by them, I want people to be like, ‘That guy has a stank. He's here to dominate people for 60 minutes.' I want that to be contagious so everyone can get a whiff of that."
This position has been a long time coming for Schlegel. A native of Highland Park, Texas, Schlegel spent two seasons playing football for Air Force and was a team captain before transferring to the Buckeyes following the 2002 season.
After sitting out for a season to satisfy transfer rules, Schlegel accumulated 166 tackles in two seasons at OSU before being selected in the third round of the 2006 NFL draft by the New York Jets. He spent one season there and another with the Cincinnati Bengals before he found himself out of football.
It was during that year that Schlegel began walking down a path that would eventually lead him back to Columbus. It started with training young football players.
"I broke some bones in my back and my foot was all jacked up," he said. "I was just getting healthy and figuring out what God wanted to do with my life and then I started training a kid and that kid led to 30 kids and then the UFL presented itself (in 2009) and then I trained 45 kids and guys for the combine and boom. I'm looking for what I want to do next and the Ohio State opportunity presented itself. I'm just truly fortunate and blessed this has all happened."
When he heard that Davis would be following former OSU wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell to KSU, Schlegel said he immediately placed a phone call to the program. Once he voiced his interest in the position, the former linebacker said things moved quickly.
As for why Schlegel proved to be the man for the job, "I don't know. They just said, ‘Hey, come on up. It's going to be quick.' I'm just happy they picked me."
Schlegel said he plans to be a hands-on coach for the Buckeyes. As he spoke with reporters, he paused to wipe sweat from his brow a handful of times, pointing out that he had just finished going through conditioning workouts with the team.
"I want to know exactly what they're going through and that I can do it and try to dominate them while I do it so at the same time they know that Coach Schlegel is a beast in here," he said. "That's what you want."
His family - wife Stephanie and son Hunter, 4, and daughter Faith, 3 – will move to Columbus in the near future. It is the only position he would have accepted that moved him from Texas, Schlegel said.
The early days on the job have primarily focused on preliminary preparation work for the team's offseason workout program. Schlegel said he is overseeing a group of players but declined to name them. Senior linebacker Andrew Sweat wrote on his Twitter page on Jan. 24 that he had enjoyed his first workout with his new coach.
He did not mention anything about stank, however. Schlegel said it is his duty to teach the meaning of that word to the team.
"My role is to be an example to these guys," he said. "I've been there and I know what this university is about. I know what this program is about and how to carry yourself as a man and a husband. That's what I want to affect them with and teach them to have the stank so that when they go on the field, they're there to dominate people.
"That attitude and the stank, that's what I'm trying to feed them."