GLENDALE, Ariz. — Ohio State offensive lineman Malcolm Pridgeon might be the first college football player ever to call a knee injury “a blessing.”
But he said it more than once during OSU’s Fiesta Bowl trip.
Pridgeon, a junior college transfer with two years of eligibility remaining, was expected to compete for a starting spot at left guard or right tackle before a knee injury in preseason practice ended his season.
He returned for bowl practice and says he is about 80 percent healthy. He expects to be 100 percent by spring practice.
But how can a knee injury be a blessing? Especially when the most serious injury you’ve ever had was a sprain.
“I definitely look at it as a blessing because I learned the offense, got a good chemistry with the team and coaches, the training staff. And I got stronger,” Pridgeon said.
“It kind of set me back for a day but I talked to Coach Meyer and Coach Stud (offensive line coach Greg Studrawa) and we definitely came together and viewed this as a blessing.”
Haskins ready for more: Freshman quarterback Dwayne Haskins will be competing to move up the quarterbacks depth chart at Ohio State next season.
But will he be competing to take the back-up quarterback position if J.T. Barrett decides to leave for the NFL?
Haskins told Cleveland.com he thinks Barrett might leave. “I just have a feeling he’s going to leave. We’ll see what happens.”
Meyer says Haskins has regained the competitive fire he had as a high school standout after not being competitive enough when he first arrived at OSU.
“I was disappointed when he accepted his role (as the No. 3 quarterback) for about two months in September and October, which happens. But the last month he has done a great job. I can see a great future for him. He’s got it,” he said.
Internalizing losses: Meyer joked during a Fiesta Bowl media day interview about how losses and intense moments on the field never leave him.
“If you only knew what goes on,” Meyer said. Then he imagined someone performing an autopsy on him.
“Oh my gosh, what’s that?” Meyer said, playing the role of the doctor examing his inner workings.
“Oh, that’s the loss to Michigan State. That’s the loss to Alabama (while he was at Florida). That’s the fourth-down play against Michigan,” he said.
Valuable advice: Meyer said he uses co-defensive coordinator Greg Schiano as “a sounding board.”
“He has faced a lot of the situations head coaches face. He’s faced them all at the pro level and in college. He’s an excellent football coach and he’s done so much with the back end of our defense.”
Asked how long the former NFL and college coach will be at Ohio State, Meyer said, “Probably not long, but I’m going to do my best to keep him. He’s that good.”
Australian equivalent: When OSU punter Cameron Johnston was asked what sport’s popularity in his native Australia would compare to college football at Fiesta Bowl media day, he said “Either cricket or Australian rules football. Maybe the Grand Finals, which is like the Super Bowl in Australian football.”
Reach Jim Naveau at The Lima News at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.