Since Urban Meyer took over as head coach of the Ohio State football team prior to the start of the 2012 season, the Buckeyes have developed a penchant for creating turnovers, but none of his prior teams have shown an ability to turn fumbles and interceptions into points as quickly as the 2016 one has.
Over their first three games of the season, the Buckeyes have returned four turnovers for touchdowns, in leading the team to the No. 2 ranking in the nation after a 45-24 win over the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman two weeks ago.
“We’re never satisfied with just a sack, or fumble or interception,” said junior linebacker Chris Worley said. “The goal once we make the play is to make it an even better play. So that is definitely an emphasis, but at the end of the day, we just go out and play.”
Although the Buckeyes have been opportunistic with a nation-leading nine interceptions over the first three games of the season, they have also proven to be adept at limiting the effectiveness of opposing playmakers.
A reserve with just one start over his first two years with the Buckeyes, Worley has earned a starting role after the departures of Darron Lee and Joshua Perry to the NFL.
After registering 28 total tackles combined in 2014 and 2015, including 21 solo stops and one sack, Worley worked hard on improving his tackling. And his rugby approach has worked for the Buckeyes, as he has made 18 total tackles with two pass break-ups, two more defended and one hit on the quarterback in just three games.
“It’s the best way to tackle,” Worley said. “It not only helped me, but it’s helped everyone here who’s learned it. I know for me, I used to always go for the big hit and I’d miss a few tackles. Coach Fickell would always tell me, 'There are times you can go for the big hit, but sometimes, you can’t.' Tackling this way has helped me a tremendous amount.”
And the Buckeyes are going to need Worley’s tackles and those big returns for touchdowns as they begin Big Ten play with today’s game against Rutgers at Ohio Stadium.
“Big Ten football is the real deal,” Worley said. “There are a lot of good teams in the Big Ten right now. It’s one of, if not the strongest conference right now. We have a lot of good teams we’ll need to play, and it’ll be a long journey for us.”