Breakout season for OU’s Sebastian Smith

“It’s just natural instincts. Wherever the ball’s at, I key in on it. Eyes, hands, and I just lock on.”

That natural instinct has helped wide receiver Sebastian Smith tremendously this season. Throughout his three years with the Ohio Bobcats, his impact has grown each season. Smith had 12 catches for 85 yards in his first season in 2013. That number more than doubled in 2014 with 31 catches for 385 yards. This year, he’s already surpassed that with 51 catches for 632 yards with two games left in the season.

Quarterback Derrius Vick has noticed the transition, especially in the latter half of the season.

“You can really see this year that he’s having fun, that he believes that he’s the best player on the field at all times and that he can’t be stopped,” Vick said. “I think that’s really shown in his game the way he’s just carrying himself on and off the field.”

Ohio Bobcats wide receiver Sebastian Smith #6
Photo Credit: Ohio Athletics

“I believe it just comes down to just doing your part as an individual,” Smith said. “You know there’s 11 guys on the field. It comes down to doing my part, and that’s what I go into the game thinking and come out of the game thinking. Next play, I got to convert for a first down or make this play for a touchdown or whatever it is.”

Even ESPN recognized what’s he done on the gridiron, where Smith’s amazing diving catch against Bowling Green on Nov. 4 was featured as one of SportsCenter’s top 10 plays.

“Actually, in the hotel, I was thinking about making [SportsCenter Top 10]. Last year I made it twice. This year you know I haven’t made it yet. I was thinking it’s time. I got to make a play,” Smith said.

But most of his big plays come when the ‘Cats really need it.

“A lot of them are on third down. Anytime it’s third down and long or I need a big catch, most of the time if you look it’s been Sebastian,” Vick said.

Smith has to adapt to just more than Vick behind center. The ‘Cats utilize all three quarterbacks in Vick, J.D. Sprague, and Greg Windham. All three quarterbacks have very different styles of play, and Smith has done well with all three so far this season.

Photo Credit: Ohio Athletics
Photo Credit: Ohio Athletics

“When we’re scrambling, we always have to be on the same page. So far, Sebastian has just been right there in an open spot. He just looks to get the ball no matter if it’s in traffic or not,” Vick said.

“I talk to all the quarterbacks. When a play breaks down, they know what I’m going to do. Whatever route we’re running, they know what I’m going to do. I just communicate well with all three quarterbacks. I’m comfortable with all three of them when they’re in the game,” Smith said.

No matter who’s snapping the ball, Smith wants to keep on shining and growing as an athlete.

“It’s just a blessing. I always think about progression. I look at my stats last year, and I’ve surpassed those. I’m looking just to grow as a player. The sky’s the limit for me and I’m just going to keep working hard.”

Meet The Singing Men of Ohio

“Pitch Perfect” brought a cappella music to the front of pop culture just three years ago. Ohio University latched on to the scene and a cappella groups started becoming more and more popular. One of the groups has gained massive popularity on campus: The Singing Men of Ohio, or SMO.

Sophomore baritone Josh Gregory summed up SMO in three words, “Brotherhood, Fellowship, Fun.”

On their website, SMO is described as “a group of 80 undergraduate and graduate students that are drawn from all majors of the institution. Established as both a performing ensemble within the School of Music as well as a student organization that sponsors service projects, social activities and makes numerous community appearances at university and alumni functions, The Singing Men of Ohio enjoy a unique blend of professional training in music with opportunities for creative expression in the spirit of fraternity.”

“I always had a great appreciation for the performing arts in high school, so coming to OU, I wanted to stay involved in music. SMO has provided me a great outlet to perform and sometimes relieve some stress,” Gregory said.

Within SMO, there is a sub a cappella group called Section Eight. This is compromised of 17 members, hence the name of the group, from SMO. This group was founded in 1991 that started with just eight members that has grown over the years to now 17 members. The name is derived from the military term, “Section 8”– designated when an enlisted soldier is discharged due to mental incompetence.

Although there is an a cappella group within the ensemble, their performances always leave an impression on the audience.

Gregory said, “The process of a performance starts with being professional, and being in the right mindset. The next step is to be in uniform with one another. We’ll usually sing 5 or 6 songs, along with 2 songs from section 8.

They even have traditional performances, like Johnny Schmoker and Brothers Sing On.

Gregory said, “We always want to make our concerts fun, and give the audience a good laugh, as well as good music. Johnny Schmoker does just that. Brothers Sing On is a song that sums up the idea of SMO, which is brotherhood. Both these songs have been around for as long as I can remember. My older brother was in SMO and he would sing these same songs, and I just thought they were the coolest. But watching it and singing it are completely different. It’s nice to be able to make the audience laugh. It’s also nice to be able to look at the person singing next to you and call him your brother, which singing brothers sing on.”

They have released two CDs in their history: “We May Be Disturbed…” in 2003 and “That’s Okay Here” in 2012.

“We make these CDs at the end of the year, and they are comprised of our best songs of the year. We also record our traditional songs like Johnny Schmoker and Brothers Sing On. Section 8 also releases some of their own CDs apart from the group that highlight their best songs,” said Gregory.

They have two more concerts left for the fall semester of the 2015-2016 academic year. They will perform at the Logan Men’s Chorus Festival on Oct. 24th at Logan High School. Their final performance is the Holiday Choral Concert on Dec. 4th at First United Methodist Church in Athens on College St.

Black Sheep Improv

Outside of Thursday Night Football, there’s very little to do on Thursday’s. That’s where Ohio University’s improv comes into play. Ohio University’s improv is an umbrella term that holds two improv groups: Black Sheep and Six to Midnight.

Both of these groups provide a free weekly show on Thursday’s at 9 p.m. in the Baker Center Theater, and they pack the place. Each group performs for about 45 minutes a-piece. They also have an informal performance every other Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the Baker Center Lounge. Both groups collaborate together to put on their Tuesday shows.

One of the members of Black Sheep, sophomore Matt Cudahy, said, “If I had to describe Black Sheep in three words it would probably be fun, chill and swag.”

What Black Sheep does with their shows is have the audience throw them a word and then on the spot, they create their whole show around that word.

“We basically just wing it. We all trust each other and so whatever’s the first thing that pops in our mind we just run with it,” Cudahy said.

Black Sheep brings in advisors and professionals from across the nation, even from the famous Blue Pencil Comedy in Chicago, to help guide and give them ways to improve their improvisation.

Cudahy said, “It is invaluable, they are very smart and funny people so I appreciate the time they spend to help make us better performers and comedians, even if there is no hope for me.”

These professionals range from giving advice on delivery to the basics of how to handle nervousness on stage.

“The nerves are real. To be honest my first show was pretty much a blur. I think I might have been a dentist in one scene, or maybe it was lion tamer? It was definitely one of the two.”

But after Cudahy has settled in for the past year, there are particular characters that he enjoys to become on stage.

“My go-to character can only be described as the ‘cool’ dad who really isn’t that cool. He cracks cheesy jokes and just goes with the flow. He definitely thinks he is cool though.”

Any and all people are welcome to audition for the group in the fall semester. Cudahy joined his freshman year and loves every minute of it.

“My favorite part has to be the people I’ve met. They have all become my homies, and there is no other group of peeps I’d rather chill and do improv with.”

Reading Day: What are You up to?

Since Ohio University switched from quarters to semesters, administration have tried to bestow a fall break on Bobcats. Their idea of a “fall break” is Reading Day, a three day weekend that takes place around the first week of October. But do Bobcats really read on Reading Day?

Abbey Carnivale, a junior, is spending her Reading Day working with Ohio Athletics. “I’m shooting the MAC Ring ceremony on Saturday, where the baseball team is being honored with their MAC championship rings from the 2015 season.”

She’s one of the few students who is staying on campus this weekend. Out of the 10 people I spoke with, seven of them are going to their respective home towns, ranging from Cleveland to Cincinnati.

Senior Kaitlyn Marshall is going back to Cincinnati for the weekend. “I haven’t seen my family in about a month. May as well go home and spend some time with them.”

Even freshmen are heading home this weekend. Freshman Mark Lindskog headed back to his hometown of Ashland, OH on Thursday afternoon to try and get the most out of Reading Day weekend.

5th year senior Katie Fallon, however, is staying in Athens and couldn’t be happier that everyone is leaving. “This means the bars won’t be nearly as crowded. It will feel like summertime in Athens again.”

One thing’s for sure: the intended purpose of Reading Day isn’t what Bobcats are following.

Ohio makes ESPN top 10 campus list for recruits

A week ago, ESPN came out with a list of Top 10 campuses for basketball recruits to visit, statistics and athletic history aside. Ohio University made the No. 4 spot on the list, and fellow Bobcats were excited to see OU receive some love from an accredited sports source.

How often do you get to see OU mentioned on ESPN for something outside of athletics?