COLUMBUS, Ohio - - Members of the Ohio State football team spent three hours Thursday morning cleaning up and landscaping Buckeye Grove, the hallowed ground just south of Ohio Stadium and rich in tradition as the home to a Buckeye tree planted for each of the Ohio State All-Americans.
It wasn't the entire team, though; just the members of the gray team, which was defeated, 38-31, by the scarlet team in the annual spring game last Saturday before a crowd of 80,000-plus at Ohio Stadium. This is the sixth spring that coach Urban Meyer has had the losing team landscape Buckeye Grove.
And it's the fourth spring that kicker Sean Nuernberger has spent a morning moving around what amounts to 50 cubic yards of mulch. (It's a lot. It doesn't sound like much. But, trust me: 50 cubic yards is a lot of mulch!)
Specialists like Nuernberger play for both teams during the spring game. But even though the specialists are on the winning team, they are also always on the losing team so they are needed each year at Buckeye Grove. And they are happy to be there.
"The tradition of Buckeye Grove and our All-Americans are a huge part of our program," said Nuernberger. "And it's awesome to be a part of cleaning it up and landscaping it. It just wouldn't feel right having someone else take care of this. We have to own this place and it's an honor because it's these All-Americans and all the players before us who we are playing for now."
Quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and Dwayne Haskins were running wheelbarrows. Running back Mike Weber was handling a wheelbarrow but later switched to a rake. And center Billy Price and tackle Jamarco Jones were also among the 40 or so players who showed up around their class schedules to help. Price was landscaping an area that will be home to his All-American tree next year. He was a first-team All-American this past season, one of four for Ohio State in 2016.
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