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Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann, Ryan Pedon To Return For Thursday’s Game At Wisconsin

The coaches missed Sunday night's win over Northwestern due to health and safety protocols.

After watching Sunday night’s win over Northwestern from his basement, Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann will be back on the sidelines when the Buckeyes travel to Wisconsin on Thursday (7 p.m. on ESPN2).

“I had a slight fever and some trouble sleeping, though I have some trouble sleeping in season anyway,” Holtmann said during his media availability on Wednesday afternoon. “It did not affect me all that much. My wife snuck down in the basement and grabbed that video of me watching the game the other night and I think you could see I was feeling fine and energized.

“I’m definitely following the protocols of when we can return and I’ll be able to return to the team tomorrow morning.”

Both Holtmann and assistant coach Ryan Pedon started feeling ill on Friday and then tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. They continued to conduct team meetings via Zoom leading up to the game, with assistant Jake Diebler filling in as interim head coach and assistant Tony Skinn and special assistant to the head coach Mike Netti joining him on the bench during the eight-point victory.

“I thought Jake, Ryan and Tony did a tremendous job and the support staff did a tremendous job pitching in for that 24-hour period,” Holtmann said. “It was a collaborative effort. Obviously the head coach is going to take necessary blame for the losses, but any success we’ve had has really been a credit to (our staff).

“I think we have a really high-quality staff. There’s no question that we have future head coaches on our staff. Ryan, Jake and Tony are going to be those guys sooner rather than later, but I thought Mike and Tony really pitched in.”

Holtmann also credited the leaders on the team for stepping up in his absence, but didn’t want to place too much emphasis on the result of a single game, especially one that the Buckeyes felt they had to win.

“It was a home game coming off a loss where we struggled in the last 10 minutes,” Holtmann said. "I think we had a motivated group in that moment, and you don’t want to make too much of one game, but I certainly hope if my absence was an extended absence – God forbid – that’s when you get a sense of how healthy the culture is.

“I believe we have a very, very healthy culture, and I believe that because I think we have exceptional people – as upperclassmen, as captains and as staff guys – who are aligned with what we believe is most important. I hope that if there was an extended absence, that we could continue to grow. I think that’s what we’re trying to do now. Not be perfect, but continue to grow.

“I think those upperclassmen also had an alertness to them that they, coming off the Indiana game, just wanted to play better. I think they had a good way about them, for sure.”

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