A Morning at the WHAC

By Danny on April 14, 2012 at 3:01p
52 Comments
The scene from Woody Hayes Athletic Center's Leo Yassenoff Field.

Braving the elements, waking up early on a Saturday, and a hang over which could only be described as unpleasant, I made my way to Ohio Stadium and eventually the Woody Hayes Athletic Center to partake in an Ohio State football practice.

However, this was no ordinary football practice. This practice was open to the students of Ohio State, and for once, a student identification got you farther than any press badge could've. And thousands of students came out to take advantage of the opportunity to see the beginning of the Urban Meyer era.

But it wasn't just students who came out, it was families and alumni as well who wanted to just get a glimpse before their football withdrawal completely consumed their souls. What occurred at the WHAC today definitely did just that for all in attendance.

Going into the event, I believed the whole thing was just a massive public relations stunt to show that the team cares about their most loyal fans: the students. At the beginning of the practice, the players seemed to display a rather extra excited mentality about this practice. Even coaches had a very intense mentality, going as far as yelling at players during stretching drills.

I, for one, was not buying it. I had a difficult time believing that this is how the average Ohio State practice takes place. But then, the team set up to play a scrimmage for the rest of practice and my attitude on this event completely changed.

Cones were set up along the 25-yard line of the practice field and students were invited to come up and sit right next to the action itself. In order to create that sense of a real-game mentality, referees were on hand to call the shots. Additionally, the scrimmage was full-contact. The coaching staff did an excellent job of making it feel like a real game.

Even the crowd was into it as if the Buckeyes were actually at The Shoe during the season. After some small gains on the ground by Carlos Hyde to start the scrimmage, Braxton Miller dialed up a huge throw to Devin Smith which he retrieved in the back of the end zone, causing the crowd to erupt with excitement.

If there was anything indicated by this practice on the receiving end, it looks like Devin Smith is going to get a lot of balls thrown his way. The sophomore receiver was a regular target all afternoon. On the passing end of these plays, Braxton Miller looked a million times more confident than he did going into last season. It can't be stated how much more composed and improved he will be this season.

With only one season under his belt, though, Miller still had some hiccups today. Miller ended up telegraphing a pass which landed straight into the arms of last year's Freshman Defensive Player of the Year award for the Big Ten, Bradley Roby. The play caused Urban Meyer to grab his head with both hands and eventually send the entire first team offense to the bench in favor of seeing the second team get some reps.

For the most part, the defense dominated the scrimmage. The defensive line gave the offense linemen problems throughout the whole practice and the secondary played lights out. The only major error for the defense during the later parts of the scrimmage came when freshman running back Bri'onte Dunn reversed the entire field and used his combination of speed and power to make defenders look ridiculous. It'll be interesting to see if the back can break into the rotation with Hyde and Jordan Hall.

As the practice neared its end, the coaching staff had a treat prepared for all in attendance. The coaches invited everyone to actually surround the team as they lined up to kick a practice field goal. Coaches and players continually told fans to yell and scream as loud as they could in order to disrupt the kicker. It was really a terrific moment because fans were actually close enough to basically run up to the ball and block the kick themselves.

At the end of the practice, students were allowed to come mingle with players and coaches. It wasn't the media who got to ask questions today, it was the fans. Even though fans were told not to ask for autographs, players gladly signed everything they could get their hands on.

So while I began the day thinking that this was just some public relations stunt, it was truly so much more. For fans who are so connected to this team, it truly meant the world to them to just have this time to see that their football team appreciates them. I mean how many opportunities do you get to just go up to Urban Meyer and say, "Hey, how's this team going to do next season?" 

This event helped bridge the gap between students of this university and the student athletes who they cheer for every season. It'll be interesting to see what types of similar events occur in the future because I think after today's reaction from students it's easy to say this was a very successful experience for the football program.

After this event today, I can truly say that it's a great time to be a Buckeye and this team is bound for great things. Go Bucks.

52 Comments

Comments

buckeyefanatic's picture

Sounds awesome ... so jealous.  Wonder if any video of the event will pop up?  Would like to see what the field goal practice looked like.

How many batteries does it take to beat Michigan football?   1AA
Want to beat Michigan? There's an App for that.

RecruitBuck's picture

The ushers were yelling at people with cameras, but when they did the field goal drills everyone got them out, since everyone was scattered. I'm sure some videos will come out.

A picture of it: http://twitter.com/#!/AdamWidman/status/191234028232384513/photo/1

M tots's picture

No cell phones or video cameras were allowed, and I actually saw a few people get escorted out for using them.  However, it's possible some people didn't get caught.

Here's a picture of the FG drill taken by the media:

https://twitter.com/#!/AdamWidman/status/191234028232384513/photo/1

EDIT: Recruitbuck's on top of his game and beat me to the punch

 

Shaun OSU's picture

When everyone gathered in for the field goal, about 90% of the fans pulled out their phones at once, so I managed to get a shaky clip of one of the kicks. Not great quality, but it gives you an idea of the atmosphere. (Note: This kick was good, although one of the attempts did get tipped at the line and fell short).

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NVCmXWSrb0

703Buckeye's picture

That was a good one, Shaun! Thanks for the clip.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

Colin's picture

When everyone pulled out their phones all at once there wasn't anything they could do about it. I'm glad it happened but also kinda mad because instead of the camera I brought I had to record the field goals on a crappy phone. After that they didn't care anymore.

RecruitBuck's picture

Cones were set up at the 20, not the 25. Believe me, I was sitting on it.

RecruitBuck's picture

If you guys want some observations from the practice:

http://www.elevenwarriors.com/forum/football/2012/04/spring-practice-notes-414, with added ones in the comments.

dbit's picture

Question is... did he make the kick?

cbusbuckeye's picture

I was sitting right on the 20 and managed to take a few pictures and videos of plays. Is there any place on here that I can upload them?

PWLafferty. TBDBITL. TRow.'s picture

Hahahahaha I love Coach Coombs @ 1:13 screaming like a little kid

"I'm up there with Chris and Dave Pass, getting ready to broadcast that game, and that band came out of that tunnel, I was wiping tears out of my eyes and all the memories came back." ~Urban Meyer

Colin's picture

I see me! ...but no one will ever know.

Urbstache's picture

Who the hell was the woman from student life? And why did she call him coach Meyers?

Urban Warfare

cbusbuckeye's picture

That was Dr. J. She is the vice president of student life. And she apparently doesn't know that it is Coach Meyer, not Meyers.

RecruitBuck's picture

98% of students hate her. She's overpaid and thinks she's awesome, but she fails.

William's picture

The thing I hate are the (biweekly?) emails about pointless student life info that we get. It seems like her position was created to spam my email. 

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

The guy before her was much better.  I forget his name, but he was actually both funny and insightful in his e-mails.  He left in 2009, I think.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

Scott's picture

Damn. I didn't realize this was open to alumni, as well.

Class of 2008

RecruitBuck's picture

It wasn't. They were only supposed to allow the first 1000 students in with valid BuckIDs (due to limited seating) but changed it as the walkthrough went on.

LadyBuck's picture

It was an awesome event. I got to meet Coach Coombs during the meet-and-greet, and he's a lot of fun to listen to. It's easy to see why the team respects him and Coach Meyer. My favorite part was sitting at the 20 yard line, watching the scrimmage right in my face, for the first 20 periods (and then moving while they punted closer and closer to the goal).

Afterwards, the tour of the stadium and locker room were great as well. 

LadyBuck's picture

Haha, yeah, but I was in the middle, so when they lined up middle, it was right in my face. Quite awesome, indeed.

It was absolutely amazing! Especially the field goal kicks.

BuckeyeUro's picture

Agree LADYBUCK, it seems you enjoyed your time there!!

Good to know that so many from this website were at the Saturday practice. Hope you guys can make it to the spring game, let's beat Alabama 74,000 record. Go Bucks...

RecruitBuck's picture

I got to meet and talk to !!Noah Spence!! and Warren Ball, as well as Stoney, Adam Homan, and John Simon. The longest conversation I had was with Mike Thomas, with whom I got a picture.

BritishBuckeye's picture

side note: picture in article isnt a picture of OSU's indoor field

 

Good to see that people enjoyed themselves and it was worth it. 

cplunk's picture

I am so ridiculously ganked about this season. Let's get this baby started already. Screw summer.

pcon258's picture

not gona lie, im kicking myself right now. i woke up to go to it, but when i found out it was at the woody, my wicked hangover convinced me to stay in morrill. i guess thats what i get for staying up all night playing fifa.

OurHonorDefend09's picture

Hangover kept me in bed as well. I wish I would have just sucked it up and went but oh well. Good thing the spring game is only a week away. 

 

Seems like everyone had a good time and the team is coming around. Very encouraging to see people making plays, even this early in the practice season.

Don't give up... Don't ever give up.

SPreston2001's picture

I had a opportunity to go but passed up on it because of the weather! My gf works @ OSU and is an alumni so she had the chance to take herself along with one other person but we stayed home. Im definetely going next year!

klfeck's picture

Anyone know if the picnic for buckeye club members will resume this summer? Was a great experience a few years back.

Kevin

OH!!!!!

Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

Colin's picture

Here's my video ...shows Urban trying to amp up the fans before the field goal. Like most, quality isn't very good because it's my phone and it was stretched out over my head.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzBK6pZVXKs&context=C4c29c70ADvjVQa1PpcFMqU44nY4JkuRKsDzdpibaZRjtyRE-MyZQ=

Jason Priestas's picture

That's awesome. Thanks for sharing.

kr66osu's picture

Man I really regret not going

Colin's picture

Also, I have to say my favorite moment was after Orhian Johnson's interception return for a "TD," Vrabel ran over to the group celebrating and did this hilarious fake chest bump to OJ with a huge smile on his face.

LadyBuck's picture

That was a great play! It was fun to watch them right in your face like that. You could tell that the defense didn't like losing earlier this week, and took Coach Meyer's criticism to heart, forcing turnovers, fumbles, and sacks. 

Sgt. Elias's picture

Current students are lucky devils! I wish they had this going on when I was there. I'm jelly, lots of cool info you guys have shared from today. I feel like the traditions Tress introduced plus the new ones Urbs introduces makes a great thing fantastic. The first game cannot come soon enough.  I wish baseball did it for me but sadly I just pass out, heh.

"Okay -- I've got an El Camino full of rampage here." 

Jdadams01's picture

OT... Michigan's Spring Game was on and they have less talent on their roster than Wisconsin, Michigan State, or Nebraska. Maybe some of the incoming freshman will help, but for now they are just not overly talented. Denard looked exactly the same as last year: kinda awful at throwing. Hit a D-lineman in the face with a pass at one point. The RBs looked the same as last year and the receivers lack any world beaters. The defense played with solid fundamentals (mostly), but won't wow anyone with speed or strength. They'll sorely miss Martin. I think Bama beats them by 20 on athleticism alone.

Osuallstar7's picture

Here are a couple videos that I shot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fMUXhKZJEc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRb3XY-VYXk

Also, The picture that is associated with this story is not the WHAC, I am pretty certian...

 

EDIT:  They changed the picture :]

faux_maestro's picture

I guess Braxton likes rolling right and throwing long touchdown passes!

Inní mér syngur vitleysingur

dbit's picture

Noticed that too.  I would assume eventually teams are going to force him to his left.  

Colin's picture

Man you had a great view...everyone else's videos make me jealous for being so far back

ost8fan3245's picture

The picture on this artcle is a picture of Alabama's indoor field. Come on guys. Gotta do better than that

FutureBuckeye's picture

Omg. Do they do this every year? I can't wait to attend this fall & be apart of this type of atmosphere. That place was loud has hell in Shaun's video. I'm so stoked. Nothing like THE Ohio State University.

Colin's picture

To my knowledge this is the first time they've done anything like this...all Urban's idea, getting the students connected to the team.

M tots's picture

This was the first year, but I believe they said they want to make it an annual event... A new tradition of sorts.

Buckman's picture

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lT0HzQ9v3gI

Don't know if this has been posted yet but here is a compilation video from 2012 recruits highlights from Bucknuts.

I like to believe that my best hits border on felonious assault.

JACK TATUM

Ohio1St81's picture

What gives lately? This site used to be so reliable for updates. 

RBuck's picture

Looks like someone hijacked the The Skully again.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

BuiltfortheNuthouse's picture

yep.

" I went for two cause I couldn't go for three." 
-woody Hayes 

spqr2008's picture

I thought the guy before her died.  He's the one that the dorms over Marketplace are named for.