For someone who had just made his first career start, Tracy Sprinkle has made quite the impact on his coaches and teammates.
The Elyria, Ohio native suffered a season ending injury in the season opener against Bowling Green and after the win, he was described as the heart of the defensive line, and his injury brought tears to the eyes of his teammates.
"You don't know the impact he has on the young kids, but when you look in the locker room there is Nick Bosa and Johnathon Cooper crying their eyes out for a guy they barely know," said defensive line coach Larry Johnson on Monday afternoon. "He is going to be missed as a leader, as a unit player but we will keep him around as much as we can."
Johnson added that the impact Sprinkle has made on the young players is a tribute to his character and the kind of player he is on and off the field.
"He would give his heart to anyone without asking," Johnson said of Sprinkle. "I think that is what makes him really special. He will go out of his way for anybody. He is a special guy. Our players love Tracy. My room is really close. He is a great example of how you're supposed to work."
With Sprinkle out, the Buckeyes now must look to find a new starting defensive tackle, and while Johnson was not ready to name Sprinkle's replacement yet, head coach Urban Meyer said that there are plenty of names in the mix.
Ohio State played 10 defensive linemen against Bowling Green, and a handful of them will be expected to play more reps in Sprinkle's absence according to Meyer.
"Davon (Hamilton) is a guy that played pretty well Saturday. He has a little twitch to him. And (Robert) Landers did pretty good at nose. So he'll get more playing time," Meyer said Monday. "We're taking a hard look at Malik (Barrow). Josh Alabi played a little bit, but he's more of a nose so we're going to take a look at Malik Barrow. Very quick twitch, good hand placement, so he's a guy that we're going to look at as well."
Hamilton recorded half a sack in the win over Bowling Green while Landers also made his first career tackle.
Meyer also did not rule out the possibility of moving one or more of the Ohio State defensive ends inside to get more of a pass rush moving forward.
"You saw us put already Jalyn Holmes in there at the three technique," Meyer said. "And obviously Nick Bosa is a very good pass rusher from in there, too. But first down and normal you want to have a good-sized three technique."
The Buckeyes are set to return to action at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at home against Tulsa.