Walk-on Sika to end ‘Iron Man’ Ohio State ca­reer

Dayton Daily News - - SPORTS - By Tim May The Colum­bus Dispatch

COLUM­BUS — When Scott Sika goes job-hunt­ing, he’ll have some­thing on his re­sume that he thinks will set him apart.

Not the fact that he was a walk-on to the Ohio State foot­ball team who earned a schol­ar­ship. There’s a long line of those folks.

But how many can say they spent five years in a rig­or­ous ma­jor col­lege foot­ball pro­gram and never missed a prac­tice? There might have been a hand­ful at OSU long ago, but Sika is the first in the 10-year Jim Tres­sel era who can make that claim, ac­cord­ing to trainer Doug Cal­land. Not that it’s up there with win­ning the Heis­man Tro­phy, or even be­ing a starter, but it’s the rea­son the of­fen­sive line­man was pre­sented with a spe­cial Iron Man award dur­ing the team’s re­cent ap­pre­ci­a­tion ban­quet.

“That just shows what kind of worker you are and, in my opin­ion, what kind of worker you will be in fu­ture years,” Sika said. “I take

Sugar Bowl Who:

Ohio State (11-1) vs. Arkansas (10-2)

When:

TV: ESPN

7:30 p.m. Jan. 4

On­line:

Day­tonDaily News.com/osu some pride in that. It is what it is, but I am happy to say that’s some­thing I ac­com­plished.”

He still has to­day’s fi­nal pre-Christ­mas prac­tice to at­tend, plus the rest of the prac­tices lead­ing up to the Jan.. 4 Sugar Bowl against Arkansas in New Or­leans. But Sika didn’t let a shoul­der in­jury suf­fered dur­ing this year’s Pur­due game keep him out, so there’s a good chance the per­fect at­ten­dance streak will hold.

The dream for Sika, of course, was to walk on from Strongsvil­le High School in 2006 and even­tu­ally earn not just a schol­ar­ship but a start­ing job. He got the schol­ar­ship this year, but it was ob­vi­ous to him from the start that it was go­ing to be up­hill all the way.

“That first prac­tice you re­al­ize how much faster the game is than the one you played in high school,” said Sika, still a small­ish 6 feet 2, 282 pounds. “It’s an eye­opener, go­ing up against guys like Quinn Pit­cock and David Pat­ter­son and Ver­non Ghol­ston.

“But ev­ery prac­tice, ev­ery year you get more men­tally used to it, and you get stronger. You also learn about the tech­niques. I think the jump I made from year two to year three was tremen­dous, and then from year three to year four was even big­ger be­cause it al­lowed me to un­der­stand that if you can get the po­si­tion­ing and use proper tech­nique, it’s not al­ways about who is 6-6, 310 pounds.”

Sika was con­sid­ered a re­li­able backup the past two sea­sons and gained qual­ity play­ing time this year be­hind start­ing cen­ter Michael Brew­ster, re­cently named a first team All-Amer­i­can by the Foot­ball Writ­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica.

“I have ac­com­plished what I wanted to do,” Sika said. “I earned a schol­ar­ship, I got to play. And just help­ing the younger guys ‘ like watch­ing film with (Brew­ster, a ju­nior). With him get­ting named All-Amer­i­can, you get a feel­ing of pride, too, know­ing that you were help­ing him pre­pare and he is one of the best in the coun­try.”

The Colum­bus Dispatch photo by Neal C. Lauron

Ohio State of­fen­sive line­man Scott Sika is the first player to never miss a prac­tice in the 10-year Jim Tres­sel era, ac­cord­ing to Buck­eyes trainer Doug Cal­land.

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