Ohio State linebacker Tommy Eichenberg is not letting a pair of injured hands slow him down, even in practice.
The redshirt junior had visible bruises on his hands during his media availability earlier this week, but he said he would not let the injuries keep him out of the lineup for the huge upcoming game against the Michigan Wolverines Saturday.
After Ohio State’s game against Maryland Nov. 19, one of Eichenberg’s teammates implied the linebacker fractured his hands. When reporters asked Eichenberg if the bones in his hands were actually broken, he replied with, “I’m not sure. They feel good, though.”
Eichengberg mentioned that many other players play with pain.
“It’d take a lot to stop me from playing, especially with this team, this defense,” Eichenberg said via Eleven Warriors. “Everyone that’s still playing football right now, everyone’s battling different things. Everyone has pain every time they’re still on the field. So people have different things they got to deal with.”
Eichenberg’s coaches have been impressed by his toughness.
“Tommy’s as tough as they come, as tough as any player I’ve been around,” defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said. “He epitomizes what we want to be as a defense, and I think, as a program because nothing is going to stop him. No matter what the circumstances of the injury, he’s going to show up.”
The pain has not had a noticeable impact on the Ohio State linebacker’s performance on the field. He recorded 13 tackles in the Buckeyes’ 43-30 win over the Maryland Terrapins.
Eichenberg even mentioned that the injury made him become more fundamentally sound as he tackles.
Like his teammates, Eichenberg is driven by the memory of last season’s loss to Michigan. The defense largely played poorly during the contest, but this year’s game presents an opportunity for redemption.
The game also carries massive College Football Playoff implications. Ohio State is the second-ranked team, while Michigan comes in at No. 3 in the latest CFP rankings.
This season, Eichenberg is an All-American candidate. He has recorded 105 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 2½ sacks.