Hook's Notebook: Buckeyes' TV Weekend

The rare Thursday night opener allowed members of the Ohio State football team the opportunity to watch plenty of college football like the rest of the country during the Labor Day weekend. Read on to find out what the Buckeyes thought about the first week of the college football season and more in this notebook by BSB staffer Matthew Hager.

Ohio State sophomore tight end Jake Stoneburner is a college football player. Only, he doesn't feel like one when watching it on television.

Stoneburner and the rest of the Buckeyes had a rare opportunity to sit on their couches and watch the action on the gridiron along with the rest of the nation over the Labor Day weekend because of Ohio State's rare Thursday night game against Marshall.

The chance to watch other college games left Stoneburner an unusual feeling.

"Sometimes I don't think I play college football when I watch the games because we never see the TV cut up of it," Stoneburner said. "We only see our film room and then ourselves playing. Sometimes it doesn't seem like I play college football."

"Like (Monday night's) game," Stoneburner added, referring to the primetime matchup between Boise State and Virginia Tech. "I was so excited to watch it. It was crazy to me. I've played in games like that, but you don't realize it when you're out there."

Senior cornerback Chimdi Chekwa watched some of last weekend's games and found himself getting a little too into the action.

"I'm out there in front of the TV watching other games and trying to coach up the other corners," he said.

Chekwa watched several games, including Michigan's season-opening victory against UConn, and said he was impressed by the Wolverines and starting quarterback Denard Robinson.

"I think they're ready to go," Chekwa said of the Wolverines. "I know they'll be ready to go when they play us no matter what, but I think they're going to have a great season. What they did to UConn, I didn't think they were going to be able to do that. I think Denard Robinson did a good job of managing the offense and making a lot of good plays."

The Thursday opener also had another added benefit. It allowed the Buckeyes to get extra work in preparing for this weekend's showdown with No. 12 Miami (Fla.).

" We were able to mentally prepare before we even got on the practice film by watching film, learning what they do," Stoneburner said. "That gave us an edge on making sure when we got there it was 100 percent Miami and we knew what they were doing already just by watching last year's tapes and the first game they had."

Stoneburner The Secret Weapon?: Miami (Fla.) lost the Champs Sports Bowl last January against Wisconsin, and tight end play was a big reason why. The Badgers completed 13 total passes to tight ends Lance Kendricks and Garrett Graham and that duo found plenty of open space in the Miami secondary in 20-14 victory.

So naturally, Stoneburner was asked by the media on Tuesday whether he will be a big part of Ohio State's attack on Saturday afternoon.

"I think Wisconsin had like 13, 14 catches by tight ends, and we feel like we could – maybe not 13 or 14 – but we feel like we could use me doing that too," Stoneburner said. "With the routes they were running and the ways Miami blitzed, we'd be man to man a lot, and a lot of openings are out there for a tight end."

Junior center Michael Brewster said Ohio State will not solely rely on UW's gameplan against the Hurricanes, but they have re-watched the Champs Sports Bowl.

"We haven't put too much into that or talked about that too much, but we have watched that game a lot to see what Wisconsin was doing," Brewster said.

Past Not Prelude: Brewster also said that another past game will not affect how the Buckeyes prepare for Miami. The 2003 Fiesta Bowl classic against the Hurricanes was a popular subject on Tuesday, but Brewster said that game has nothing to do with what will happen on Saturday.

"I don't want to downplay it because it really was such a historic moment in Ohio State football history, but in this game, it's really not relevant at all for us," he said. "They're going to try to play it up, but to be honest, it comes down 2010, the 2010 Buckeyes and what we're going to do."

Instead of using a previous championship game as a motivation, Brewster will be motivated by this weekend's possible title implications.

"We want to get to Glendale at the end of the year. I'm not going to be shy about that," Brewster said. "I know we need to take it one game at a time. We're not going to look ahead, but at the same time we know that every week is championship week for us. If we want to go to Glendale we need to be 12-0, so there's a lot riding on this game."

Bad Timing: Many times during the Terrelle Pryor era at Ohio State has head coach Jim Tressel mentioned that the junior likes to send football related texts messages at all hours of the day. That fact was confirmed recently by Stoneburner, a close friend of Pryor who is often times the recipient of ill-timed texts.

"He texts me at some of the worst times, just saying ‘Film,' " Stoneburner said. "Or ‘Let's catch,' or, ‘Let's go eat.' Always at the worst times."

"We'll have to be here for football at 11, lunch will be at 10:30 and he'll text me at 10:15 and say, ‘Film,' " Stoneburner explained. "Well obviously I can't get over there and watch film for five minutes. But he's probably already over here. He's just trying to get me to be the best I can, so I'm always getting texts about him about football and about trying to get better."

Boom's Burst On Display: Tressel took time on Tuesday to praise junior tailback Dan Herron for his rushing on the first drive of the season half. In that touchdown march, Herron carried the ball four times for 34 yards. That included an impressive 15-yard burst over right end and a 3-and-1 run for 5 yards that kept the drive going.

"I thought the most impressive running that was done on the night was done by Boom in that first drive of the second half," Tressel said. "Sometimes if you're coming out of halftime and it's 35-7 or whatever it was and some guys might say, well, you know, let's think about the next game or whatever, I thought Boom sparked that drive."

Herron said watching fellow tailback Brandon Saine impress during the first half motivated him. Saine carried the ball eight times before halftime and rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns.

"Brandon and I build off each other. Brandon had a great first half, and I just wanted to keep the momentum going," Herron said. "I knew I had to come out and have a great drive, so I tried to do my best and get the ball up-field to get points on the board.

"He raised the bar high, so I had to reach it."

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