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