Buckeyes Keep Rocking at the WHAC

Aug. 10, 2013

Several Buckeyes with black stripes on their helmets still trying to earn their Buckeye strips

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The first three of a scheduled 12 practices for the Ohio State Buckeyes at the Ackerman Road fields have been held, instead, at the team's Harmon Family Football Park at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, including a two-hour session today that ended about noon.

In a nod to the heavy metal rock super group Led Zeppelin, Friday was a "Misty Mountain Hop" kind of morning as fog, mist and ultimately 60 minutes of cold rain greeted the Buckeyes during a two-hour practice that was supposed to take place at Ackerman, but was switched to the turf fields.

Friday afternoon, to quote Willie Nelson, "blue skies, nothing but blue skies," were smiling upon the Buckeyes during the second practice of the day. The Ackerman fields were still more like a soggy bottom so the team used the plush perennial rye and Kentucky Bluegrass fields at the Woody for another two-hour session.

And today's session, including some scrimmage action, was also held at the Woody while Ackerman continues to dry out. The day was only merely fantastic with a light cloud for most of the practice keeping the temperature reasonable and comfortable.

Last practice
The team's practice today was its last until returning to the fields at 8:45 a.m. Monday morning. Team members will spend Sunday spending time with their parents/families, taking a team photo and meeting with the media.

Texas two step up
Two freshmen from Texas - LB Mike Mitchell from Plano and RB Dontre Wilson from DeSoto - each had the black stripes removed from their helmet today for deeds and achievement that indicate they know what it takes to be a true Buckeye. Their big brothers: Joe Burger and Brionte Dunn, respectively.

Receivers up
A handful of receivers and coach Zach Smith met with the media after practice Saturday. Senior Corey Brown and fifth-year senior Jordan Hall headline a skilled group of throw-to performers that also includes juniors Devin Smith and Evan Spencer, senior Chris Fields and sophomore Michael Thomas.

Brown emerged not only as a reliable target last year with 60 catches and 5.0 receptions per game (fourth in the Big Ten), but a big-play maker as well. He scored five touchdowns, including on a 76-yard punt return vs. Nebraska, a second- and third-effort 37-yard reception vs. Illinois, and a 68-yard punt return vs. Wisconsin. His 12 receptions vs. Michigan State: merely the fourth-most in a game in school history and just two off the school record.

Hall is expected to shine in the dual purpose H-back role. He has 1,032 career rushing yards (and six touchdowns) and 24 receptions for 233 yards and four more touchdowns entering 2013. His 2,765 career all-purpose yards lead all current Buckeyes and rank 20th at Ohio State.

Smith, one of the fastest guys on the team, has scored 10 receiving touchdowns so far, including three over 60 yards in 2012 - 72 vs. Cal; 63 vs. Michigan State; 60 vs. Indiana - and he averages a 39.3 yards per touchdown catch.

Spencer was fourth on the team with 12 catches for 136 yards last year, and Fields didn't let four idle games affect his play last year: he expertly cradled and caught the touchdown pass from Kenny Guiton with three seconds to play to put the Buckeyes in a position to tie Purdue (and later win). Thomas played in 11 games as a true freshman.

Notable receivers new to the mix this year are true freshman Jalin Marshall and James Clark, and junior college transfer Corey Smith.

Zach Smith on his group: "We had some trials, tribulations and great successes last season but I think we have grown from our mistakes and matured as a group. We have used our learning experiences from the past to become a good group."

Evan Spencer on Dontre Wilson: "That little joker is quick."