On Saturday I was lucky enough to get to spend the day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center with a bunch of friends, and a special group that included Ohio State football coaches and players.
The day started out with running backs coach Stan Drayton letting us know just how important the Buckeye women are to that football program. We were on the turf inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Facility and the outdoor practice fields before the football team even got to play on it. (Don't worry boys, it's still in good shape!)
After Coach Drayton, head coach Urban Meyer stepped up to the podium, and his first order of business was to harass Coach Drayton a little bit with a video of Coach Drayton roller skating. Let's just say, that guy has got some moves! Coach Meyer then turned his attention to the crowd and let us know they were there to do two things -- first, to kick our ass; and second, to teach us something. He also let us know how near and dear the Urban and Shelley Meyer Fund for Cancer Research is to him, after losing both of his parents to cancer. The whole time he let us know there was too much giggling. Believe me, if you tell a group of hundreds of women that they are giggling too much, the only thing that is going to happen is more giggling.
Then Coach Meyer gave a presentation on offense, and there were four things we better not ever forget from that presentation:
- Equate Numbers
- Stretch the Field Horizontally
- Stretch the Field Vertically; and
- Create Space for Athletes.
Coach Meyer also taught us about correct football position, and I can report that while my body was already a little sore before the day got started, staying in that position for too long didn't do anything to help!
Once Coach Meyer introduced his beautiful coaching staff, Coach Ash came to the stage with graduate assistant coach Vince Oghobaase and linebackers Joshua Perry and Darron Lee for a defensive presentation. The three other participants that were brought on stage got to "tackle" these fine young men, put their noses in their belly buttons, and then eventually be picked up and moved by these guys. The hundreds of us sitting in the crowd wished we could have been so lucky!
Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tom Herman then came to the stage to run an offensive play along with Jacoby Boren, Warren Ball and Rod Smith. The participants that got to run the read option did a fantastic job. (Just as a public service announcement, Coach Herman wants a group of ladies to wear shirts next year that say something like "Herman's Hotties". He did not see any this year, but made a jab at Coach Ash, who was at his first women's clinic and already had a fan club. Poor Coach Herman felt left out. Let's help him out next year, ladies!)
Next, a contest was held to see who had the best Buckeye themed tattoo. I was surprised to see more ladies on stage than I expected with Buckeye-themed tattoos. There were lots of Block 'O's' but the winner had both a Block 'O' and Brutus on the side of her lower leg.
Next up was a question and answer session with the players. One of the ladies stood up and said that she was a statistics professor at OSU, and you could instantly see all the coaches perk up, waiting anxiously for what she had to say next. She had nothing but praise for those young athletes, not just on the field but in the classroom as well. Joshua Perry also told the group that he already has a career path for himself "after football". Let's hope that "after football" does not come for a very long time!
Director of strength and conditioning Mickey Marotti then came to stage to teach all the ladies the 'quick cals'. Again, the sore legs were not enjoying staying in that football position for that long, but it was all in good fun. Coach Marotti also tried to discourage all of the giggling, but I am sure you can imagine how that worked out for him. He even called out Zach Boren, who he saw in the back, and told that "big boy" to join in, too.
Once Coach Marotti was done, then came Lee and assistant strength coach Anthony Schlegel, who coincidentally got sprayed with water as they were making their way to the stage. Obviously when one gets sprayed with water the only reasonable reaction is to take one's shirt off, and we all got the impression that Coach Schlegel must spend more time with his shirt off than he does with his shirt on. But this group of ladies was not complaining. Lee also took off his shoes and shorts (not his compressions shorts), which of course got some more cheers, as he put on his uniform for the equipment presentation.
Coach Schlegel stayed on stage to auction off a trip for two on the 2015 Buckeye Cruise for Cancer, which sold for $3,500. Next up was a quick lunch and taking pictures with the players and coaches we could find. After lunch the prizes from the raffle were announced.
Most of the afternoon was spent outside on the four practice fields doing drills with the coaches. There were drills that included throwing, receiving, tackling, and several others. I was sent to the field with Coach Schlegel. Before we did drills, he had us sweating -- high knees, jumping jacks, push-ups and stretches. Not to mention the sun beating down on us. We really could not have asked for better weather.
While I was at the water station, I had the opportunity to talk to Coach Schlegel about the women's clinic and get his thoughts.
"It's special to be a part of an alumni and fan base that gets behind a great cause and supports women and fighting cancer at the same time," Schlegel said. "And letting women experience what it truly means to be a Buckeye and to see what we do on a daily basis -- and to hug them, and take pictures, and take my shirt off -- all for a good cause."
The day ended with a "smokehouse" competition including a relay races, sprints and push-ups.
All of us came together at the end to take a big group picture on the practice field. That leaves the million dollar question of the day -- will I do this again next year? Absolutely. With an illustrious list of coaches including Coach Meyer, assistants Coach Drayton, Coach Herman, Coach Ash, Larry Johnson, Luke Fickell, Ed Warinner, Tim Hinton, Coach Oghobaase, Coach Marotti, Coach Schlegel -- and probably some others that I got too excited to write down -- and players including Taylor Decker, Vonn Bell, Nick Snyder, Craig Fada, Pat Elflein, Darron Lee, Joshua Perry, Rod Smith, Warren Ball, and Jacoby Boren -- how could I not want to go back? If that list of names wasn't enough to make a girl's heart flutter, the fact Lee stripped down to his compression shorts for the equipment presentation and that Schlegel gave away his shirt during the day definitely made that happen.