Oct. 6, 2012
By: Sarah Marshall, Athletics Communications
Some say leaders are born, not made. For Pickerington, Ohio, native Zach Boren, both may be true. The son of Mike and Hope Boren, former collegiate athletes at the University of Michigan, Boren has inherited many of his parents’ athletic and leadership abilities, while also developing many on his own.
“It all has come full circle,” Boren said. “When I was younger my parents were really hard on us kids, but they wanted what was best for us and they have been there every step of the way, giving us the support we need. As a leader, the pressure has been easier on me because I have had a tremendous amount of support growing up and I come from an incredibly competitive family, so it’s easy to translate that on the field and with this coaching staff. Coach Meyer maintains a family atmosphere during practice and he and my family blend together because they preach the same thing.”
With the two environments so similar, it is no surprise the “family” concept has become part of the program’s values. Anyone who paid close attention to the ESPN All Access: Training Days may have heard the players utter a word not usually chanted during an end of practice huddle. It was not “Buckeyes” or “team” that was repeated by the crowd of young men who have been through one of the most challenging periods in program history. It was “family.”
“Johnny (Simon) and I started saying it during the summer practices and it has stuck,” Boren said. “We always say “family” after practice because it reminds us of what is really important – each other.”
The locker room is not the only place Boren has found his voice. Although he has been a starter since his first appearance as a Buckeye as a freshman, Coach Meyer seems to have found a scoring chance for Boren in his spread offense. Meyer, who has publicly endorsed Boren as one of the best fullbacks in the country, wants to find more opportunities to get the ball in his hands.
The fullback has credited much of his, and the team’s, success to what he calls “the best preseason ever.”
“In the past, I don’t think we came out as strong as we should have,” Boren said.
“It always took us until about the Big Ten season to start firing on all cylinders and I think this year the way Coach Meyer handled his preseason and how tough he made it really aided us in coming out strong this year.”
Buckeye fans can rest assure the senior class this year will not disappoint. This group understands the importance of playing to their full potential.
“It means everything,” Boren said. “When you’re a senior captain, every single game counts. This season is going to be the legacy this class leaves and as a captain and senior these games mean just a little more. Every game is special because it’s one less game in the ‘Shoe. If you lose a game, there’s no going back. It’s now or never and there isn’t a ‘next year’ to make it better. Every single game counts.”