Chambers gears up for the Rose Bowl and plans a major offseason
One of Ohio State’s best defense accomplishments in 2021 was the play of the sophomore third year Steele rooms.
The 6-1, 225-pound Chambers moved from runner-up to linebacker ahead of the season. At the start of the year, Chambers seems bogged down on the depth map. But he got more playing time with each passing week and ended up starting three games at the end of the season at the outside linebacker.
When asked last week if he was glad he made the decision, Chambers replied, “Yes, absolutely.”
Chambers, a native of Roswell, Ga., And a product of Blessed Trinity Catholic High School, was sixth on the team in tackles with 42. He also had five tackles for loss, one interception and one sack for l ‘year.
“I feel like I’m playing in the yard like a little kid,” Chambers said. “It’s just fun again. As the linebackers say, FOB, finish on the ball. Whenever you’re not sure what to do, you can just run as fast as you can towards the ball and try to make the tackle. That’s why it’s easier for me in defense.
It wasn’t an instant transition, however. Chambers said there was some doubt when he didn’t see immediate results at preseason camp.
“It took a long time,” he says. “All summer long, I was pissed off to be here. I was trying to learn defense and felt like I was behind everyone. Probably after the fourth or fifth game I started to understand and had fun.
Learning the basics and basic techniques needed to be a linebacker was essential, Chambers said.
“I walked into the linebacker room and I was behind in terms of using my hands and things like that,” he said. “There were a few games where the quarterback would do line checks and help me know what calls they were making.”
The results came slowly, and Chambers had a decisive game on Oct. 9 against Maryland as he registered seven career best tackles with a sack.
He had six tackles and one interception in OSU’s victory over Nebraska, totaling all of those in the second half after missing the first half due to a targeting call. He also had six tackles in the season-ending loss to Michigan. Now, as the Buckeyes prepare for Utah at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, Chambers used the bowl practice to hone the basics.
“Once the season started, there was a lot of planning for the game and I strayed from a lot of the fundamentals that we had been looking at in the spring and summer,” he said. “Working on this should be good for me and for the team.”
Chambers said the Buckeyes know the Pac-12 Utes champion will bring a physical style of play to the Rose Bowl game. Utah was 14th nationally in attacking rushing (216.1 yards per game) during the regular season.
“I think it’s a good opportunity to show that we made adjustments based on the last game,” Chambers said. “It’s a good game for us to prove ourselves, to prove that we are a strong team and a physical team and that we can handle that kind of thing.”