Ohio State Coach Nick Myers Still Navigating New NCAA Rules

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Two-way midfielders like Ryan Terefenko will become more important than ever with the dawn of the shot clock, Ohio State coach Nick Myers hypothesizes.


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No. 15 Ohio State

2018 Record: 8-7 (3-2 Big Ten)
Coach: Nick Myers (11th year)
All-Time Record: 485-420-5
NCAA Appearances: 6
Final Fours: 1
Championships: 0

Every team will need to adjust to the sweeping new rules adopted this offseason by the NCAA, namely the insertion of the hard 80-second shot clock and the reintroduction of the dive. But ask Ohio State coach Nick Myers about the changes and you get the sense he’s thought about them maybe more than some of his college coaching brethren.

“We only have to play defense for 75 or 80 seconds. What does that look like?”

“How do you prepare for an inbounds play with eight seconds left on the shot clock?”

“Do we have an offense we can play against both man and zone?”

“How do we want to ride with this 20-second clearing clock?”

“The dive, nobody can give me a clear indication of how that’s going to look, with the way it’s written, so we’re not sure how to teach it?”

“I don’t mean to overwhelm you there,” Myers said after rattling off his stream of consciousness. “But the interesting piece is that for Ohio State, one of the things we’ve prided ourselves on his having a clear identity. Here’s how we play, we don’t beat ourselves, and this is what we need to do within the framework of it. Right now, we’re trying to build a team and understand the framework of what is now a new set of rules, and pretty drastic ones at that.”

Myers, who led the Buckeyes to their first NCAA championship game appearance in program history two years ago, expects teams across the country to figure out their new identities as the season goes on, his included. But from the sounds of it, he expects two-way midfielders, like his own Ryan Terefenko, to become more important than ever — to the point where Myers questions if subbing will even exist anymore in college lacrosse. With the new shot clock, that process will eat into your limited time of possession. “These are some decisions that people have to make,” Myers said. “We, as coaches, are all kind of evaluating that in addition to trying to make our guys better.”

In the end, “It’s about winning games,” said Myers, who has a record of 93-70 in 10 seasons at Ohio State. “It’s fun to say we want to work on this situation or that new situation, but at the end of the day it’s, ‘Are we getting enough shots up every week, are we really focused on the fundamentals that we’ve always pride ourselves on?’ That still needs to be your base and then you got to be able to evolve. You don’t want to be reactionary. You want to be proactive.”

And so he’ll keep thinking about the new rules stew.






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The Case For Ohio State

Offense, faceoffs and Big Ten grit. Tre Leclaire is one of the best offensive players is the country and he’s got fellow Canadian attackman, lefty sophomore Jackson Reid (23 goals, five assists in 2018) returning alongside him. Freshman Jack Myers (“No relation,” coach Nick Myers said) will be the third attackman, but was a high school headliner at the distinguished Gonzaga program in Washington, D.C. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Under Armour and US Lacrosse All-American left D.C. as the city’s all-time points leader (286). If the Buckeyes can get some extra production from its midfielders, like senior Jack Jasinski, that’d be a boon to their chances. Inacio is already a seasoned faceoff taker as a sophomore, and there’s a handful of defensive midfielders that can make an impact in the rough-and-tumble Big Ten.

The Case Against Ohio State

The biggest question marks for the Buckeyes are on defense after the graduations of All-American close defensemen Ben Randall and Erik Evans and long-stick midfielder Freddy Freibott. Senior Matt Borges will anchor the close defense, and junior Jeff Henrick is moving down from long-stick midfield. “We’re not as big as long as we’ve been, but they have great footwork,” Myers said of the pair, but the third close spot was still up for grabs at the end of the fall. Sophomore Evan Riss and junior Caleb Mahoney are in line to play LSM, as are senior Logan Maccani and redshirt junior Brandon Barker at defensive midfield. Watch for competition in goal too, with redshirt sophomore Josh Kirson and freshman Skylar Wahlund, a lefty and former football player who was Ohio’s top high school goalie last year.

Path to the Playoffs

Heading into its fifth season, the Big Ten is arguably the toughest league in the country, and seems like it’s getting stronger every year. There are no easy outs on the path to the conference’s four-team playoff, even for the Buckeyes, who are just two seasons removed from a national title game appearance. If the Bucks can keep bragging rights over an emerging Michigan program, and knock off at least one other conference opponent from the group of Maryland, Johns Hopkins, Penn State and Rutgers, that will give them a good chance for the league postseason. “It’s daunting, but it’s exciting too,” Myers said.

Players To Watch

Tre Leclaire, A/M, Jr.
26 G, 11 A

The Buckeyes’ leading scorer is back. Like many Canadians his age, he played a box season this summer (with the New Westminster Salmonbellies) but unlike many Canadians his age, he also played on the senior national field team in Israel. “That’s a pretty special thing,” Myers said. “He came back with a great perspective. It was really a positive.” An all-around offensive threat with a cannon of a shot, the 6-foot-2 Leclaire has dropped about five pounds, down to 200. His improved quickness was noticeable in the fall.

Ryan Terefenko, M, Jr.
45 GBs, 9 PTs

One of Ohio State’s four captains, the 6-foot, 187-pound short-stick defensive midfielder “stirs the drink between the lines for us,” Myers said, and Terefenko may become more involved offensively with the new rules. He’ll also play the wing on faceoffs. Terefenko ranked second in the Big Ten in ground balls per game (4.80).

Justin Inacio, FO/M, Soph.
61.3 FO%, 47 GBs

The reigning Big Ten Rookie of the Year is a force on faceoffs, winning 130 of 212 last season. He’s a disciple of Greg Gurenlian’s Faceoff Academy. Inacio will again head a one-two combination again with junior Christian Feliziani (55-for-99 in 2018).

National Rankings

Category

Rank

Value

Offense 51st 8.93 GPG
Defense 9th 8.60 GAA
Faceoffs 12th 57.9 FO%
Ground Balls 29th 28.60/game
Caused TO 20th 12.13/game
Shooting 50th 26.9%
Man-Up 54th 27.3%
Man-Down 64th 52.5%
Assists 56th 4.60/game
Turnovers 20th 12.13/game
Clearing 2nd 93.4%

Power Ratings (Scale of 1-5)

Offense
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Defense
⭐⭐⭐

Goalkeeping
⭐⭐

Faceoff
⭐⭐⭐⭐

2

Number of Big Ten Rookies of the Year from Ohio State in consecutive seasons; Inacio last year and Leclaire in 2017.

5-Year Trend
Shooting Percentage

Year

Rank

Pct

2014 26th 26.9
2015 21st 30.0
2016 36th 27.7
2017 8th 33.5
2018 50th 26.9

Coach Confidential
Nick Myers

“It’s going to be a very interesting season with the new rules, and cool for fans to watch. I’m excited. But we’re all going to have to feel this thing out to a degree. You want to feel it out by winning at the same time.”

Enemy Lines

“God only knows. They are an anomaly. Ohio State and Notre Dame certainly earn a spot in the championship game when it comes to social media. They’ve got enough talent. They’re long, physical, big. What scares me is if you look over the years, they’re up and down, up and down. They were down last year. Now it’s probably going to be an up year for them.”

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