Skull Session: How Orlando Pace Became The Pancake Man, Marcus Freeman Is A Disciple Of Jim Tressel, And Ohio Stadium Will Have New Foods This Season
Everything starts to feel real.
On Saturday, every Ohio State fan will escape to a reality where the only thing that matters is if their favorite team wins a football game.
No matter your race, religion, political beliefs or whatever divides us in our society, you will be supporting all the Buckeyes as they take on Notre Dame under the lights in front of over 100,000 fans inside the stadium. ‘Ohio.
That, my friends, is the beauty of sport.
Let’s have a good Thursday, okay?
THE PANCAKE MAN. Orlando Pace is one of the best players in Ohio State football history. He was a two-time unanimous All-American left tackle for the Buckeyes from 1994 to 1996, but that’s not all. During his three-year career, Pace also won the Lombardi Prize (twice), the Outland Trophy and finished fourth in the 1996 Heisman Trophy.
But wait – there is even more. Pace was so dominant at Ohio State that the term “Pancake Block” gained popularity due to his play. A pancake block occurs when an offensive lineman hits a defender on the back or beyond the line of scrimmage. Well, Pace accumulated a lot in college.
On a recent episode of Eli’s Places with Eli Manning on ESPN+, Pace opened up about how he came to be known as The Pancake Man.
— NFL Movies (@NFLFilms) August 31, 2022
Following his college career, Pace continued to build his legacy as one of football’s most dominant forces. The St. Louis Rams selected him with the first overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft, and he went on to become a seven-time Pro Bowler and three-time First Team All-Pro.
Pace contributed to the Rams’ greatest turf spectacle offense that won Super Bowl XXXIV, and he protected future Hall of Famers quarterback Kurt Warner and running back Marshall Faulk for several seasons. Pace was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
A TRESSEL DISCIPLE. While Marcus Freeman will be an opponent, rival or even foe when Notre Dame visits Columbus on Saturday, the 36-year-old head coach has Buckeye roots still deep.
After all, Freeman played college ball at Ohio State and later returned to the program as a graduate assistant under then-head coach Jim Tressel. In an interview with Pete Sampson of The Athletic, Freeman said his stints in Columbus were the most foundational years of his young career – one that was burgeoning with potential and promise.
Freeman believes Tressel had a profound impact on his life. He hopes to bring the same qualities the former Ohio State coach created for the Buckeyes in his Notre Dame program.
“The best thing I’ve observed about him is the ability to make everyone in your organization feel important, but also to make them matter,” Freeman said. “That’s what I want to make sure we reflect here is that everyone in our program needs to understand that their role is just as valuable as mine as a head coach.”
James Laurinaitis was Freeman’s teammate at Ohio State. They developed a close relationship at the university which has continued to the present day. Now a graduate assistant at Notre Dame, Laurinaitis has seen Freeman embrace Tressel’s coaching and teaching philosophies of compassion, humility and wisdom.
“Tressel had a weird ability, I’m talking weird, where he would meet someone and he’s just present and he has a way of remembering it and feeling like you’re the only person important to him in that moment,” Laurinaitis said. . “You can’t pretend. It’s authentic. And Marcus has those traits.
Freeman researched and incorporated what Sampson called the “Book of Tressel” into Notre Dame: memorize your teammates’ names, hometowns and high schools, look up All-Americans who had worn their number, and learn the alma mater song school, among other things.
When Notre Dame takes to the field on Saturday to boos and vulgarity from the Ohio State faithful, Tressel will look down from her seat with a smile. And when you watch the Fighting Irish game, remember that a disciple of Tressel stands on the sidelines as a confident and charismatic leader.
NEW FEED TO THE SHOE. Ohio Stadium will serve new menu items at concession stands this season to celebrate the Horseshoe’s 100th anniversary, according to an Ohio State release.
Options like the “Century Dog” — a hot dog loaded with bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, and an avocado-chipotle aioli — will be featured in the main lobby. Additionally, local restaurants Hot Chicken Takeover and Dirty Frank’s will have booths inside the stadium.
Loaded hot dogs, Taste of the Competition burgers and 2 new local restaurant partners will spice up the stadium’s food offering for 2022 @OhioStateFB season. https://t.co/nxN698TrYw
— Ohio State News (@OhioStateNews) August 31, 2022
Another new option will be “Taste of the Competition” burger carts with menus inspired by the regional flavors of visiting opponents. The stadium will also feature mobile ordering for all permanent concession stands inside the stadium, a new point-of-sale system for faster payments, and smartphone payments at all concession stands and kiosks.
I don’t know much, but I’ll be looking forward to seeing the creation of the Taste of the Competition booth when Rutgers visits Columbus. I imagine the burger will be on a bagel. For Wisconsin, maybe a four cheese burger. I’m out of ideas after that.
IT’S TAILGATE TIME? A few weeks ago, I ran a Big Game Boomer article about the Ohio State tailgate scene. I learned that former president Karen A. Holbrook suppressed parties and the disruption of businesses surrounding the Horseshoe, leading to a drop in overall satisfaction for fans who frequented the campus before games.
But there still might be some things to love about tailgating at Ohio State. According to Bookies, a sports betting website specializing in college football, the Buckeyes have the best pre-game atmosphere in the Big Ten.
Here’s what writer Dan Kilbridge had to say about the location, environment, entertainment and family feeling – factors used by bookmakers to rank Big Ten schools – around Ohio Stadium:
Gameday at the Horseshoe feels like a professional environment for all the right reasons. There is massive infrastructure around the Horseshoe and tons of space for grilling, heeling, etc. The Buckeyes fan base needs no introduction and skips a beat when it comes to food and drink.
The city of Columbus is also one of the best in the Midwest, with a vibrant arts scene and limitless offerings for visiting fans. It’s easy to be skeptical and Ohio State’s fans aren’t the friendliest in general, but the game day experience leaves you in awe of the scale of the operation. From the history to the passion to the endless entertainment that surrounds it, Columbus tops our list of Big Ten pre-game experiences.
Eleven Warriors Readers are my primary source for understanding the tailgating scene at Ohio State, so I’ll trust your opinion over anyone else. However, there is food for thought here for Buckeye fans. Are hatchbacks in Columbus still the best?
SONG OF THE DAY. The White Stripes “Seven Nations Army”.
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