Courtesy of OSU Department of Athletics
Although it might be four months until football season begins, it wasn’t enough to stop Ohio State students, fans and staff from rushing the field Saturday morning at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Throwing his arms up like he were some sort of rock star trying to pump up a crowd, coach Urban Meyer encouraged fans to surround (and harass) his field-goal team as they tried to connect with imaginary goal posts from about 35 yards out.
It was the cap to a seemingly rare sight, a practice entirely open to OSU students and staff to see the Buckeyes.
Though rain forced what was supposed to be a “Saturday in the ‘Shoe” into the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, fans able to secure a spot inside might have gotten a glimpse of things to come in next week’s Spring Game.
Junior kicker Drew Basil, who was at the center of the playfully hostile crowd, said Saturday was a sight he’d never experienced.
“I’ve never seen this many people in the Woody at once,” he said. “I thought it was awesome, I mean just to see what whole end-zone packed down there, all the way out to the 20-25 yard-line, that was just incredible.”
Basil said he was so excited for Saturday morning that he started stretching almost two hours before the bus was scheduled to take the team to the Horseshoe.
The weather might have thwarted Basil’s enthusiasm, but he said the fans still made the experience worthwhile.
“Once we heard that we were indoors it wasn’t as exciting, but I mean just the atmosphere there was today was great,” he said.
In fact, Basil said he was impressed with so many students getting up early on a Saturday morning to watch something as routine as practice.
“To have all these students come out here and spend time with us, showing that they’re excited too, it’s pretty awesome” he said. “I feel like everybody’s really excited, I don’t think this many students would have come out on a Saturday morning … I know I’d be sleeping,” he said
Sophomore receiver Evan Spencer said it’s good for the team to be able give back to the students.
“It was fun, it was really fun,” he said. “I mean, I had never been a part of something like that before other than like the Spring Game as a recruit.”
Spencer, who is out for at least two more weeks with a broken bone in his shoulder, said he’s looking forward to what next week will be like in OSU’s first Spring Game under Meyer.
Some have suggested with all the hype surrounding Meyer, this year’s Spring Game could shatter 2009’s attendance record of 95,722.
Even if it’s raining out, Basil said he still thinks the crowd will be massive because of all the excitement already this spring.
“If it’s a sunny day, expect a full house,” he said. “I could see people tailgating and have to watch from the parking lot.”