COLUMBUS – Maybe no player is giving thanks more this week for the chance to play in the Ohio State-Michigan game than OSU linebacker Etienne Sabino.
The fifth-year senior suffered a broken bone in his leg on Oct. 6 against Nebraska and was uncertain if he would get back on the field this season.
“When I got hurt, I didn’t know what was going to happen. They told me I had a broken fibula and I didn’t know what that meant. In my mind, I was thinking about a break and I didn’t know what that means,” Sabino said.
“I thought, ‘There goes the rest of my season.’ Yeah, that definitely entered my thinking. I’m truly cherishing every moment of these last couple of weeks. It’s special.”
Sabino started last week in OSU’s 21-14 win at Wisconsin. He played most of the game and had six tackles.
When he was recruited to Ohio State he was rated as one of the top linebacker prospects in the country, but playing time was slow in coming. He was a rare third-year redshirt in 2010 before breaking into the lineup the last two seasons.
So he was well prepared for dealing with adversity when the injury happened.
“I can truly say I was blessed to get back out there. I was just so happy to be back out there with my team,” Sabino said.
“It was definitely hard. Any time you deal with an injury, you don’t want to be out. My teammates helped me. I had a great attitude about the whole process. I knew that I would be back if I did my rehab and it worked out fine.
“They (his teammates) just helped me stay positive and they encouraged me. They said, ‘I can’t wait until you get back.’ I’m truly cherishing every moment of these last couple weeks. It’s special.”
MEMORIES OF 1987: Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was a second-year graduate assistant in 1987 when Earle Bruce was fired as the Buckeyes coach the week of the Michigan game.
On Monday, he remembered how he learned that was happening when he was summoned to Bruce’s office for a meeting.
“I can tell you everything, I can tell you about walking into Coach Bruce’s office right here (in the Woody Hayes Center) and Rick Bay (OSU’s athletic director) was leaned up against the wall and looked at me and said, ‘Close the door. Are you the last one?’ And I said yes and sat down.
“I saw a bunch of coaches with their arms on the table, their faces in their arms and tears and the whole deal. I was the last guy to walk in and he said that Coach Bruce will no longer be the coach after this game and that I have resigned as athletic director. Just an incredible moment in Ohio State history,” Meyer said.
Ohio State went on to beat Michigan in Bruce’s last game. The team wore “Earle” headbands for the game and carried Bruce off the field after the game. Meyer called that scenario “one of the great memories that I have of my time here.”
[HOKE DODGES, WEAVES: Michigan coach Brady Hoke was in full coach-speak elusiveness during his weekly press conference about how he might use his two quarterbacks on Saturday.
Devin Gardner has filled in for three-year starter Denard Robinson the last three games after Robinson suffered a nerve injury in his right arm, his throwing arm.
Last week in a 42-17 win over Iowa, Gardner threw for three touchdowns and ran for three more and Robinson played tailback. Robinson rushed for 98 yards on 13 carries but did not attempt a pass.
Asked who will start at quarterback against Ohio State, Hoke said, “Denard continues to get better every day, so I’d say that’s probably up in the air. He’s close. He’s throwing the ball. I think he’s close to 100 percent.”
HOT MAIL: Both Michigan quarterbacks were recruited by Meyer when he was at Florida.
Gardner told reporters during Michigan interviews on Monday that he was recruited by Ohio State after committing to Michigan but burned the OSU letter.