Ohio State has made headlines this season for looking beatable through its first three games.
The Buckeyes (3-1) easily dispatched Akron 59-7 in Week 4, but they also made more headlines, this time for another reason. Linebacker K’Vaughan Pope appeared to quit the team mid-game after attempting to enter as a substitute, only to get waved off.
Pope tried to run out on the field in a sub package. Teradja Mitchell waved him off, and Pope stormed down the sideline, started walking to the tunnel and then had to be coaxed back by an Ohio State staffer. He tossed his gloves into the stands and took off his jersey.
— Austin Ward (@AWardSports) September 26, 2021
According to Austin Ward of Lettermen Row, Pope got into multiple heated discussions on the sideline and eventually caught the attention of coach Ryan Day before being escorted to the locker room.
Pope fired off two tweets during the game after he left the field. One of them, which has since been deleted, read “F— Ohio State.”
The other tweet was supportive of his teammates.
Day didn’t expand on the situation or Pope’s status with the team postgame, but he did say he was aware of the incident and Pope’s tweets.
“Someone just told me that there were some tweets, but I’m going to get the details of everything that happened before I say anything there,” Day said.
Vaughan appeared to post several times on social media during the offseason that he was displeased with his role in the Buckeyes’ defense.
The team lost another linebacker, Dallas Gant, to the transfer portal earlier this week.
Pope, a senior, came to Ohio State as a four-star prospect. He has appeared in 33 games for the Buckeyes, playing mostly on special teams and as a backup in the linebacker rotation.
Day didn’t comment on the specifics of Pope’s exit from the field but said it was an isolated incident event.
“What it really is, is just a lot of guys, they want to play, and you can’t play everybody and then their frustration kicks in,” Day said. “I don’t really want to comment too much on that particular situation, but I certainly think it’s very isolated.”
Day also offered mild criticism of players who don’t want to stay with a program if they’re not playing regularly.
“In today’s day and age, guys can leave after four games because they can redshirt, and then if they want to go into the [transfer] portal, that’s their prerogative. I have a hard time with that because I think when you make a commitment to a team at the beginning of the year, you make a commitment to Ohio State, to the Buckeyes — that’s what you do,” he said.
“One of the hard things is that you know you have to play certain guys, and you have to make some decisions on who’s playing in those games, and you really count on the guys to still be great teammates if they’re not getting on the field,” he added.