April 17, 2014

Buckeyes News: FB Zach Boren Might Also Play Linebacker

In preparation for tonight’s game at Indiana, the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes might have a secret weapon up their sleeves. And it probably wasn’t the guy you first expected it to be. Take it away, Eleven Warriors:

Last night, the internet, or at least the Buckeye corner of it, was buzzing with rumors of fullback Zach Boren, playing—perhaps even starting—at linebacker against Indiana.

Quite the stunner. If true, Boren will become the first real two-way contributor for Ohio State since Chris Gamble played extensively at cornerback and wide receiver in 2003.

We reached out to a couple of sources and were told that Boren will indeed see playing time at middle linebacker tonight. How much? That’s hard to say.

Ohio State will counter Indiana’s pass-first offense with a heavy diet of nickel packages, which means the Buckeyes won’t even have a middle linebacker on the field for most of the game. Further, we don’t know if Boren will be the man in the middle for OSU’s base defense or whether the staff is looking to start him off in short yardage or similar situations with an expanded role as the season progresses.

Boren, an unheralded three-year starter, could certainly be a vicious contributor defensively. The 6-foot-1, 245-lb. senior actually was named Ohio’s defensive player of the year as a linebacker for Pickerington Central in 2008.

This should be a particularly neat storyline to follow tonight in Bloomington. All Buckeye fans should have fond memories of Gamble participating on both sides of the ball, as that was during the glory days of Tressel ball last decade.

Update: Now this is likely why Boren might be forced to play defensively:

[Related: “You are completely screwed” – B1G Buckeyes]