April 6, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State football program held its second Student Appreciation Day Saturday on the outdoor fields of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Officially practice No. 11 on the spring, the almost-two hour session was witnessed by about 2,500 people, the overwhelming majority of them Ohio State students but also including parents - it is "Sibs & Kids" weekend on campus - and some former players including current Miami Dolphins Austin Spitler and Brian Hartline, Jake Stoneburner, John Simon and radio analyst Jim Lachey.
Numerous food vendors, football drill-related inflatables, the cheerleaders, Brutus Buckeye, the music group "FBA," director of athletics Gene Smith and even president Gordon Gee were all on hand for the day that started chilly but warmed up nicely by the time the band started playing and the autograph and photograph session had begun. This warmed the crowd, too: a healthy portion of curly French Fries and three boneless chicken wings, plus a $2 dollar off coupon, for only $2, compliments of Rooster's. So those who bought essentially got food free. Free chicken. That's a good thing.
Coach Urban Meyer had three-fourths of the field ringed with people watching the action and the students were literally across the 35 yard line for almost the duration of the practice. They only moved off the field during the final "red zone" plays, but they were called back on to gather around and put pressure on field goal kicker Drew Basil, who nailed 4 of 4 attempts with hundreds of students gathered around in a Block O circle and close enough to touch the players.
A new wrinkle this year: two young co-eds tried their luck kicking a field goal. About five attempts were had but neither young lady connected.
Another new highlight: Brutus Buckeye carrying the football. Good thing there are about four individuals who rotate being Brutus. Today's Brutus got leveled on the play.
The Buckeyes conclude their spring drills next week. The team will practice Monday, Wednesday and Friday before heading to Cincinnati Saturday for the LiFESports Spring Game, presented by Nationwide Insurance.