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Football: Olmstead a key piece on UF O-line

By ANDY WOLF
STAFF WRITER
In a post-football life Christian Olmstead wants to be an orthopedic surgeon.
The goal is to remain attached to the game and help those who were in the same situation he faced in spring.
The junior right tackle for the University of Findlay sustained a complete lisfranc fracture in his right foot during a one-on-one drill in the first day of full pads.
Olmstead utilized his networking and connections made through his studies to pay a visit to Dr. Robert Anderson — a renowned orthopedic surgeon now working with Green Bay Packers.
At first, Olmstead heard he had a 50-60 percent chance of being ready for Week 1.
The initial diagnosis came from a different doctor that led him to getting a second and third opinion, the latter being Anderson.
“He’s the top in his field and I knew that’s what I wanted to get back and play,” Olmstead said of Anderson. “He performed the same surgery on (New Orleans) Saints starting center Max Unger a week later. He’s done this surgery on many athletes at the Division I level, the pro level. I wanted that treatment and to be back out here for my guys.”
In a span of two weeks since the injury, Olmstead left for Charlotte at 1 a.m. for a 10:30 a.m. appointment, had surgery the next day and was back on his way to rehab in Findlay.
He said the 20-week recovery process allowed him to get back to 100 percent around Week 16 for the start of fall camp.
Olmstead’s presence in Week 1 helped the Oilers rush for 337 yards — fourth nationally — and three scores in a 28-13 win over Tiffin.
“We played well, but Week 1 was definitely some lessons learned,” Olmstead said. “We came out, we played a good game, we made mistakes and we’ve definitely learned from those mistakes that we made. We’re looking forward to getting those fixed and playing a good game this week.”
Mistakes will have to be few and far between this Saturday as No. 2 Ferris State comes to town for a 7 p.m. clash at Donnell Stadium.
The Bulldogs, 12-3 and national semifinalists a year ago, did not have a Week 1 opponent but rose a spot in the polls as No. 2 Grand Valley State fell 24-20 to Indianapolis.
“We can’t change who Ferris is as a football team,” UF coach Rob Keys said. “They are the best team in college football. They have All-Americans (for) preseason, guys are All-Americans last year returning. Shoot, they’re starting 11 seniors on defense. You look at a team that’s has no weakness. They really don’t have a flaw. They’re dominating. They’ve got a great coaching staff. They play hard.”
BRINK OF AN UPSET: Ferris State is making its third-straight visit to Findlay, each with a national ranking next to its name.
Though Findlay held a second-half lead in the previous two games, both ended with the Bulldogs burning out the final 4:00 (2016) and 6:57 (2015) of the fourth quarters to preserve respective three-point victories.
UF is 1-3 against Ferris under Keys with the lone victory coming in 2011 (43-35).
QB PRODUCTION: Eastern Michigan transfer Reggie Bell had an electric first year orchestrating the Ferris State offense last season.
He led all Division II quarterbacks with 1,217 rushing yards (16 touchdowns) and threw for 2,085 yards with 11 touchdowns.
Bell scrambled 49 yards to the house against UF on the seventh play of the game, had a 14-yard run on 3rd-and-6 to seal the game in the fourth quarter and finished with 254 total yards (86 rushing) and no turnovers.
“Reggie Bell is an experienced, athletic quarterback that had 3,000 yards of total offense last year,” Keys said. “If we had a replication of Reggie Bell he’d probably be our starter. It’s funny, you only have to give him a little bit of space or take one bad angle and he’s going to make you pay for it, not for a first but a touchdown and that’s what happened last year.”
Rhys Gervais was only 8 of 19 for 146 yards in UF’s season opener and will look to improve on those numbers.
LINING UP: Despite getting an even 7.0 yards per carry on the ground, Olmstead wasn’t satisfied with the overall production of the offense against Tiffin.
Findlay had six scoreless drives into TU territory including three that ended in the red zone.
“As an offense we didn’t execute to the level that we’re capable of and the stats show it, going into the red zone and not capitalizing with where we’re at,” Olmstead said.
“Once we saw the film and mistakes, made the corrections and know that game is pretty much behind us and we’re looking forward to the next one.”
The O-line unit that returned four starters will face a Ferris State front seven with a reputation for causing havoc in the backfield.
FSU junior defensive end Zach Sieler racked up 161/2 sacks in his 291/2 tackles for loss to become a consensus All-American.
He’s joined by productive senior ends Dylan Roney (61/2 sacks) and Marquis Dawsey (51/2).
For UF, Justin Ellis, Isaac Miles and Justice Jenkins each had a sack last week.
Wolf, 419-427-8496
andywolf@thecourier.com