Walk-on Terpin savors big-time experiences at Ohio
TribLIVE Sports Videos
It happened more than a month ago, but it's still on Mike Terpin's mind. In fact, it is something he will never forget.
The Ohio University football team is 5-0 this season, but one win stands out above the rest to the redshirt freshman defensive back — the 24-14 victory at Penn State.
“It was a great feeling,” said Terpin, a Thomas Jefferson High School graduate. “It was awesome being out there, on the sidelines, and really feeling the team believe in ourselves and come from behind like we did. That really was ‘team building.' It showed us we're capable of doing whatever we set out to do.”
That concept of doing whatever one sets out to do is applicable across Terpin's entire football career.
Terpin was a quality player with the Jaguars but, at 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, he wasn't a highly sought-after recruit.
But that did not deter him from pursuing his dream of playing major college football at the NCAA Division I level.
Rather than playing at a Division II or Division III school where he would likely earn far more playing time, Terpin opted to walk on at Ohio.
“I didn't have any scholarship offers, and playing Division I football was always something I wanted to do,” he said. “Ohio U was always at the top of my list.”
As a walk-on, Terpin is not attending school on scholarship. Obviously, walk-on players do not receive the financial benefits of being a scholarship player.
Additionally, they also are at the bottom of the pecking order in terms of playing time and opportunities, yet they endure the same practice and training workload as the scholarship players.
“There are a lot of interesting challenges being a walk-on. You have to really work to make a name for yourself, and earn the respect of your coaches and teammates,” Terpin said. “But it's all worth it if you love the game.”
The reward for all of the hard work comes when those “big-time college football” moments and precious opportunities to get into the games come along.
Terpin joined the team last year and redshirted as a true freshman.
This year, he's deep on the depth chart but has played in two games, including in the Bobcats' 37-34 win over Massachusetts.
While he didn't play in the Penn State game, that contest certainly falls into the “big-time college football” experience category for Terpin.
“I will always remember that,” he said.
And while the Penn State memories and in-game snaps have been gratifying, Terpin knows, at this time, his primary job is on the Bobcats' scout team. It's a job in which he has a lot of pride.
The scout team studies film of that week's opponent. They then work to replicate the opponent's plays and formations during practice to help prepare the starters and primary backups for game day.
“We meet as a scout team defensive unit, and we go over the things they (the opponents) do. We try to model our plays after them,” Terpin said. “We're trying to give the starters a good look.”
There's another goal of most scout team players.
“You're also trying to get the coaches' attention,” Terpin said.
All around the country there are examples of walk-on players earning more and more playing time, and sometimes even earning scholarships.
Terpin hopes to be another example of this one day.
For now, though, he is focused on his role in what could be a magical season. Not only are the Bobcats undefeated, the rest of their schedule is against manageable Mid-American Conference opponents.
“We're just trying to take it one game at a time,” Terpin said. “We want to win the MAC and go to a good bowl game.”
Next up for Ohio is a home game with Buffalo this Saturday at noon. The game will be televised on ESPN Game Plan and ESPN3.com.
Brian Knavish is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Tire comes off, hits oncoming car, kills 1 on Route 28
- 6 shot at Clairton speakeasy; police seek suspects
- Play of nose tackles could have impact on Steelers’ stretch run
- WPIAL’s Top 10 football champions of all time
- Plum man killed in Saltsburg Road rollover
- Starkey: Pens move on with, without Dupuis
- School bus accident in Pleasant Hills sends 4 to the hospital
- Penn State defense proves among best in school history
- Philadelphia hospital evaluating patient for Ebola
- Westmoreland County sheriff won’t alter staffing as cash runs out
- New assistant Agnew has Pens’ PK, defense among league’s best