Tim Kubick / For The Lantern
Ohio State football opened its 11th spring football practice of the season up to OSU students Saturday for the team’s second annual Student Appreciation Day.
Approximately 2,500 students were at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center for the public practice, according to an OSU athletics spokesman.
Students were able to watch from the sidelines as the team scrimmaged for approximately two hours, then formed a circle surrounding the players during the team’s end-of-practice field goal kicking drills. Multiple female kickers also received the opportunity to attempt a field goal during drills.
Following the practice, students were able to mingle, take pictures and receive autographs from players and coaches from the OSU football team.
Sarah Stapleton, a fourth-year in special education, said she enjoyed the experience although she did not have a great view early in the practice.
“It was fun,” Stapleton said. “At first we couldn’t really see a whole lot, but once we got moving around a little bit, we got to see.”
Stapleton said she wanted to take advantage of the opportunity for closer interaction with the team before graduating at the end of the semester.
“This is probably the closest I’ll ever get to (coach) Urban Meyer and the football players,” Stapleton said.
As for the players, they said it motivated them to have students there supporting them during today’s practice.
“It’s great to have the student body come out and support us,” said senior guard Andrew Norwell. “It wasn’t just a practice today, it was Buckeye pride.”
Senior kicker Drew Basil, who had the experience of kicking field goals with the large group of students surrounding the formation, said he hopes his fellow students feel that the support is reciprocated from the football team.
“It’s awesome that all these students come out here and support us,” Basil said. “We just hope that they know that we’re on their side too.”
Getting healthy for the Spring Game
The Buckeyes have three more practices on Monday, Wednesday and Friday leading up to next Saturday’s LiFESports Spring Game. A few of their key players, however, remain limited due to injuries.
Junior outside linebacker Ryan Shazier was back in an orange jersey Saturday, signifying his status as injured while he continues to recover from a sports hernia. Shazier did not participate much in practice and said his status is uncertain for the spring game.
“I feel like I should be back pretty soon, I’m just taking it slow just trying to get back and get back to 100 percent,” Shazier said. “I don’t know yet (about playing in the Spring Game), I’m just letting the trainers let me know.”
Redshirt senior center Corey Linsley was limited in practice due to a foot injury, while redshirt senior running back Jordan Hall remained limited with a hamstring injury.
The Spring Game is set to kick off at 1 p.m. next Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.