OSU Opener Has Traditions Old and New

A new season and a new head coach means new traditions for Ohio State football, but not everything will change under the direction of Urban Meyer. We look at that and more in this week's premium notebook.

While there have been rumblings of a slightly different look to the uniforms, the biggest confirmed change will be the "quick cals" the team will perform during pregame warmups.

Set to take place 23 minutes before opening kickoff in the south end of the stadium, they will be led by first-year strength and conditioning director Mickey Marotti, who along with Urban Meyer can be seen explaining more about the practice in in this video.

Earlier this week, Meyer said he hopes the new tradition provides two benefits – to enhance the college experience for the students and to get his team fired up to win a football game.

"In the spring we did a couple of functions with the students, including a town hall meeting (and) opening the practice to the students," Meyer said. "We were going to do a community service project. It was too late to get that done. And this was I wanted to somehow tie the students in with our team."

The team staff sent thousands of emails to students, who unlike past years will be in class for the entire season because of the university's switch from quarters to semesters. He hopes they will not be the only ones involved, however.

"My dream is to see that entire stadium before a big game getting ready to rock and roll with 23 minutes left, last thing we do before we go in the locker room is address our student body with some kind of energy," Meyer said. "So, for selfish reasons maybe that helps our guys get ready to play, but I think also in an unselfish reason it's giving ownership of the program to our students. Every kid wants to be a part of this team – every student at Ohio State, I would think. Maybe not every, but the majority. So that's just our way of giving back."

Meyer also confirmed the team will continue to walk to the stadium from the team hotel with a stop at St. John Arena for Skull Session with the OSU Marching Band, and he will continue to award Buckeye leaf helmet stickers for various achievements on the field.

Meyer joked that he would need security everywhere he went if he discontinued the latter practice.

"I love the Buckeye leaves," Meyer said, recalling watching then-head coach Earle Bruce give them out during his tenure as a graduate assistant in 1986 and '87.

"I mean I just sat back there and said, ‘Wow we got eight Buckeye leaves.' It will be a huge deal," he said.

During his 10 years as head coach of the Buckeyes, Jim Tressel awarded leaves based on the achievement of various team goals. Meyer did not reveal his criteria but said it would be a little different after he approved changes with some former players.

"We have team and individual awards like they've always had, but it will be a little different," Meyer said, adding "That will be one of the biggest sources of inspiration and pride and reward system we have is to get a Buckeye leaf."

Corey Linsley, a junior set to start his first game at center Saturday, said he was unsure about the "quick cals" at first but has come around on the topic after hearing from friends who are excited to take part.

"I wasn't really sure how it was going to work out and whether the fans were going to respond, but our fans are awesome," Linsley said. "The students are awesome. When I went to a friend's house to eat dinner and everybody was doing them with me. I was like, ‘Oh, that's pretty cool.' "

The Aurora, Ohio, native is happy to see Meyer embrace Ohio State's existing practices, too.

"If he were to come in here and try to revamp a lot of stuff, it would have taken some getting used to, but the fact that he's been so open to everything, obviously he coached here before as a GA, and I think that was one of the biggest things – he was excited to embrace all of the traditions again," Linsley said. "All of our traditions have been going on for years and years. So I think that really shows how much enthusiasm he has as a coach here."

Right Tackle Still Unsettled?
The most closely watched position battle of the fall was right tackle, where senior Reid Fragel emerged as the starter over freshman Taylor Decker.

Offensive line coach Ed Warinner explained that does not necessarily mean the battle is over, though.

"Reid is just a little bit ahead," Warinner said. "He'll get the nod for this Saturday as a starter and anticipate Taylor being in the game, contributing. He would be the first guy in the game at right tackle or left tackle. He works both sides, so he's kind of our swing guy."

The race remains close between the pair.

"Reid's a little older and more veteran and a little more ready to go."

More On Klein's Return
Meyer announced Aug. 23 he had reinstated senior linebacker Storm Klein to the team, following through on a promise he would reassess the central Ohio native's status if he was not convicted of a domestic violence charge filed in July.

The charge was reduced to disorderly conduct after Klein reached a plea deal, but Meyer was not ready to bring him back until he did a little more digging into the situation.

"I wasn't comfortable with just the legal part of it, so I talked to both families," Meyer said. "I wanted to make sure there wasn't something behind ‘door No. 2' that I wasn't aware of, and there was not."

Per the terms of his return, Klein will miss at least two games. Meyer said Tuesday he is still working on making up practice time he missed, which included nearly all of preseason camp. Klein entered spring as the starting middle linebacker but lost the job to sophomore Curtis Grant. The elder player was hindered by injuries, and the staff has thrust high expectations on Grant, a five-star recruit who played sparingly last season.

Ryan Shazier, a sophomore set to start at weakside linebacker, said the team will welcome Klein back with open arms.

"I'm just happy to have my brother back," Shazier said Monday. "I just saw him and he seems really happy about being back. He's really good."

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