August 11, 2007

Larimore takes it to the mat

The Ohio State defensive line will be looking to replace three starters this season but the concern has focused around who will step up inside for the now departed Quinn Pitcock and David Patterson. One player who would like to throw his hat in the ring has shown time and time again he has been able to get it done on the mat and that experience might just be enough to get him significant playing time this season. 6-foot-3, 275-pound freshman Dexter Larimore was a standout heavyweight wrestler in his home state of Indiana and hopes to continue in the long line of former wrestler turned lineman at Ohio State.

"It helps me a little in the fact that I know a little bit more about leverage than some D-linemen do," Larimore said. "It helps that I can keep a little bit lower center of gravity and just try and work in awkward positions for them (opponents) but it is kind of natural for me."

During spring practice this season veterans of the offensive line raved about how Larimore was unblockable and the coaches were quick to mirror that comment. Larimore is on the two-deep behind tackle Todd Denlinger but should see some meaningful playing time as Jim Heacock looks to rotate defensive linemen to keep fresh rushers in during the season. What does the freshman think of the high praise he has been given before ever playing a collegiate game?

"Well I don't know about that but it is a great compliment," Larimore joked. "It helps a lot in the run block and I can try and stay a lot lower than some guys. I am still trying to work the transition to pass blocking."

For now attention is placed on practice and the humble lineman would rather talk about his defensive line unit rather than draw attention for himself.

"It's exciting and our D-Line is working really hard out there," Larimore said. "We are trying to improve everyday and work on the little things and just by the season we will be ready and be prepared."

While the grind of practice might wear down some players, Larimore enjoys getting out there despite some less than ideal conditions and better himself before the season.

"I love to compete, I love to get out there," Larimore said. "A lot of guys sometimes dread practice and everything but I really like to get out there and just compete and just play football. It's fun to compete, especially at this level."

During a redshirt season last year the young lineman learned a lot from the older players while participating on the scout team. Larimore knew he had to pay his dues and knows that the learning curve will be even steeper now that he is a year older.

"Even last year, I was redshirted and I truly enjoyed getting out there and being able to work with guys like T.J. Downing and work with the older guys and work with Doug Datish and just compete," Larimore said. "That's why we are here and just get better."

Is there any one lesson that Larimore remembers most vividly from Pitcock, Patterson and Joel Penton before they left Ohio State?

"From them what they did best is that every day they got better," Larimore said. "Every day they went out and worked hard and tried to improve every day. In the weight room they were hard workers. (Being) hard workers is basically what I got from them and hopefully I can get to that point where I'm at their level."

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