Walk-On Sika Making Most Of OSU Time

It's not a strange sight to see walk-on offensive linemen see the field at Ohio State under Jim Bollman, and one of the latest to do so a season ago was Scott Sika. After playing in five games during his junior year, Sika goes into his final campaign hoping to see the field again while helping the offensive line grow into a championship unit.

Scott Sika, a senior walk-on for the Ohio State football team, can't help but imagine the situation.

The offensive lineman's brother, Neil, is a broadcaster who currently serves as the radio voice of Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew. The hope is that one day, Scott can play in a game in which Neil is serving as the broadcaster.

"He does a good job with what he does and I'm proud to have him as my brother," Scott said. "Hopefully one day – which I doubt – the dream would be him broadcasting and me playing in a game. The odds of that happening are slim to none, but you never know."

Considering Scott's football career seems to be coming down to its final campaign, it does seem like a stretch to see that brotherly scenario unfolding. However, not many people would have expected the Strongsville High School grad to see the Ohio Stadium field in his career, let alone suit up and earn playing time at Penn State or in Cleveland Browns Stadium.

After finishing up his career with the Mustangs as an honorable mention All-Northeast Ohio, All-Plain Dealer and All-Sun News choice, Sika ended up at OSU as a walk-on in time for the 2006 season.

Four years later, he's not only seen action in five games, he's now the old hand among a center group that this spring also included starter Michael Brewster and promising youngster Corey Linsley.

"It's been a ride," Sika said after the spring game draft in April. "I can't complain. I started out with two national title game appearances and played in the Rose Bowl, and I got to play a lot last year, which was fun. I'm hoping for big things this year. Our goal is to win the national championship. Hopefully we can end up my senior year and that of all the seniors on a high note."

As one can tell from that answer, Sika's goal is to do whatever he can to help the team win going into his final season.

"It's not about me, it's about the team," he said. "Having the feeling of going to two national championship games back when I was a freshman and a redshirt freshman and knowing that feeling of disappointment, basically I'll do whatever I can do with the team whether it's scout team or helping the young guys like Corey and Jack (Mewhort, who has played center). Whatever it is, that's all that matters. You want to win. You want to go out on top."

That's good because extensive playing time probably isn't in the cards for Sika, who can also play guard. Almost all of his time a season ago came as the second-team center on a banged up offensive line behind Brewster, and with the redshirt gone off of such players as Linsley and Mewhort, Sika's late-game duties could fall to younger players who need the learning curve of in-game action.

In good news, then, for the Ohio State offensive line, Sika boasts a deep understanding of the team's offensive system and what a center needs to do as part of it, facts he can use to help the younger guys come along.

"We're very lucky that Scott really is great knowledge-wise and can get in there and help the other guys," line coach Jim Bollman said at the start of spring.

Sika credited players like Doug Datish and Jim Cordle before him for helping him create that knowledge base. To help Linsley – who struggled at times with snapping during the spring – get used to playing center and making the right line calls, Sika lined up next to him as a guard in the team's spring jersey scrimmage.

"We just help him on calls," Sika said of Linsley. "He's got talent and a good knowledge base so far. The only thing he can do is improve. Just the things in film, if you see certain things like blitzes and maybe he didn't see it, you can point it out. I remember when I was young and I didn't see the blitzes and Jim Cordle would tell me, ‘You have to look for this and this.' I just give Corey pointers. He's doing a great job. "

That work over the past few years has earned Sika his scattered bits of playing time. After two years of scout team work, he first saw the field for the opener of the 2008 season against Youngstown State. Last year, the 6-2, 282-pounder saw action against Toledo when the Buckeyes played at the Browns' home field, and a run of three games in a row late in the year ended with the time on the field at Penn State.

"It was fun," Sika said. "Penn State was a great time, probably the best place I've ever played. The 'Shoe is fun, but it was kind of cool to play there and be the villain. It was fun playing in Cleveland because I'm from Cleveland. It was fun to get on that field. Your first three years, you go through scout team and you work hard and try to prove yourself. I was finally redeemed last year and hopefully I'll play this year some."

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