- Brad Bournival, RecruitingNation
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Time and Change is a series at BuckeyeNation where we chat with former Ohio State athletes.
Most Ohio State fans remember Mike Lanese as the wide receiver that made the play of the game in a 21-6 win over Michigan in 1984.
Many forget Lanese, 48, was a two-time Academic All-American and Rhodes Scholar, who also studied overseas at Oxford.
As a Civil Affairs Officer for the United States Army Reserve, he was deployed to Iraq in 2010 and is now back home and in the process of getting a new web start-up company off the ground.
He finished his career with the Buckeyes with 72 receptions for 1,170 yards -- a 16.3 yards-per-catch average -- and six touchdowns.
BuckeyeNation caught up with the Mayfield (Ohio) graduate, who now lives in Grove City, Ohio, and is still asked about his catch against the Wolverines almost 28 years ago.
BN: You studied at Oxford after Ohio State. How different is an education in England from one in the states?
Lanese: It's completely different from anything I've experienced and I don't think there's any good equivalent to the method of teaching that you'll find than at a place like Oxford. It's really geared toward a tutorial system, which is kind of a one-one-one, one-on-three or four kind of system.
You get really intensive work with a tutor, or 'don' is what they call them. They actually assign on a weekly basis, essays. They suggest a bunch of readings you should do for your essay topics. The next week, you come back with a written essay and you present your essay out loud, orally in front of your tutor, your don. He or she makes suggestions/corrections and then starts the process again for the following week. It's very different from the American education where you sit in front of a teacher in a classroom and the teacher gives you a lecture. You take notes seriously and then periodically throughout the quarter or semester you take tests where you have to regurgitate the information. It's very different in an Oxford system. You only take one test at the end of your time there. It's a comprehensive exam that covers all the things you studied.
BN: You were in the U.S. Navy guy for a long time and now serve as a Civil Affairs Officer in the United States Army Reserve. What lessons did you take from former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce into the military world?
Lanese: It was a really easy transition for me to go from an Earle Bruce-coached football team to a military experience and a lot of people automatically assume that that means your discipline and all the other stereotypes in the military. But there's other stuff, too, like being able to operate in an environment where there are challenges every single day. You wake up in the morning and there's new stuff you haven't seen before and you have to find a way to improvise, adapt and overcome. Playing at a high-level football program under Earle Bruce, who in turn was coached and learned under Woody Hayes, who was a former Navy commander, it made the cultural transition very easy for me.
BN: Third-and-14, 1984 Michigan game, your 17-yard catch of a Mike Tomczak pass secures a win over Michigan. Tell us about that play and what you've heard from fans some 28 years later?
Lanese: There are worse things to be remembered for [laughing]. I go places even today and someone will, out of the blue, recognize my name and say, 'Oh, I remember the catch.' It's flattering. For my kids, if they're with me, it's embarrassing for them, and I make sure that I embarrass them even more when they get like that. It's fun now. I don't really remember a whole lot about the days that I played football. I'm certainly not very athletic anymore, so whenever someone brings it up, it's kind of fun.
BN: Being around Columbus, what's the buzz about Urban Meyer?
Lanese: The buzz is all good. I don't know Urban. Oddly enough we came out the same year. We were high school seniors together in Northeast Ohio, separated by whatever Mayfield to Ashtabula is [47 miles], but I don't think we ever ran into each other. And then when he came to Columbus to be as a [graduate assistant] under Earle, I had just left. We always kept missing each other.
I don't know Urban at all, but I know some of the folks that have been around him and I've heard nothing but the highest praise for the guy in terms of coaching ability, obviously, but also in terms of integrity, in terms of organizational skills and managerial skills. He's just the right fit, the right kind of guy that should be at Ohio State. I loved Earle Bruce. I loved Jim Tressel. I'm glad that they got a guy who I think is in that same mold.
BN: What do you think about the team? How good can they be?
Lanese: I think they've got some challenges to work through. They've got some personnel issues on the offensive side of the ball and defensive side of the ball. I think they're going to get corrected, but – and I don't have any inside information, I haven't been around the facility at all – I think they're going to have a challenge with this upcoming season. I think they'll be competitive, but it'll take a little while to adjust to a new system to find the right personnel for that system. I mean we're all hopeful that this season will be strong, but I think it's more realistic to think that in Urban's second year, he'll have more time to get his folks engaged and transition the current folks into his system and we'll be ready to rock and roll.
BN: What does the future hold for Mike Lanese?
Lanese: Right now, I'm having a lot of fun staying extraordinarily busy. I have three young kids running in different directions, all a million miles an hour. I'm starting a new company after having success at my last company, so things are good. I can't complain about anything, really.
Series: Time and Change -- BuckeyeNation caught up with former wide receiver Mike Lanese, who served in Iraq and starting a new company.