Eventual Captains Must First Prove Worth

First-year head coach Luke Fickell announced Tuesday that Ohio State's captains will be chosen weekly. At the end of the season, however, the team will make its vote to see who will go down in the record books.

When looking at the past criteria for what it took to be named a captain on the Ohio State football team, senior center Michael Brewster was practically born to fit that role this season.

For now, he'll have to settle for being a captain for only the first week.

Instead of allowing the team to vote at the conclusion of fall camp for four permanent captains — often distinguished as the biggest honor for a player — first-year head coach Luke Fickell instead chose to name captains on a weekly basis.

Brewster, fellow senior offensive lineman J.B. Shugarts, and junior defensive lineman John Simon will serve as the team captains for the coin flip the first week.

"It's something different, I understand that," said Fickell, who has done the majority of things this fall in the mold of former head coach Jim Tressel. "I think the coaching staff, we kind of talked about it, thought about it. We've got obviously some different changes and some different things that obviously (surrounds) a group of seniors, some here, some not here, some in, some out."

Fickell was referring to seniors DeVier Posey, Dan Herron, and Mike Adams, three integral parts of Ohio State's offensive unit that will miss the first five games of the season while serving NCAA suspensions.

Those three, along with defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and former quarterback Terrelle Pryor, were involved in the infamous tattoo scandal where the players opted to sell personal memorabilia in exchange for cash and other benefits.

It was those actions that ultimately led to a summer-long probe into Ohio State's football program that ended with the resignation of Tressel and the departure of Pryor.

Though Posey, Herron, and Adams all will miss the first five games of the season, Fickell and their teammates continued to view them as captain-like figures. That led to the dilemma that helped Fickell come to the decision to not name permanent captains.

Instead, the team will vote at the end of the season.

"I thought it was best for our team. Sometimes you elect captains and those are the guys that are just by nature the ones who stand up in front of the team," Fickell said. "I thought for right now, this year, it does a good job of bringing a whole group of senior leadership to the forefront."

There's no question it is a new take on one of Ohio State's oldest traditions, but it seems to fit perfectly in line with what Fickell has stood for thus far in his tenure.

To Fickell, those who prove they're captains during a football season where the team is facing as much adversity as it ever has will be the ones who go down in the program's record books. "Things are different this year," Brewster said. "It's Coach Fick's decision to make everybody a part of it, and I think that's great. We need everybody this year. It's not about a few people or four seniors. It's about everybody."

The new way of deciding captains will allow Herron, Posey, and Adams to regain their credibility during the course of their final season with the Buckeyes, even after everything they've given the program the first three years of their careers.

No doubt an integral part of Ohio State's success, Brewster and the other two captains for this week made it clear that they'd be fine with those guys being named permanent captains if voted for at the end of the season.

"They were young when they made those decisions," Brewster said. "Those are our brothers and some of my best friends. I was never really mad, just wanted to help them move on with the five game suspensions. I know it's going to be hard or them but we'll get through it."

Perhaps it is that point of view that has Brewster, Shugarts, and Simon in the position to be named a captain for the first week of the season.

Now Brewster and the others are hoping to be there at the end.

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