It was chaotic, but that was by design.
Ohio State held it's annual Student Appreciation Practice Saturday morning, opening the Woody Hayes Athletic Center to students for an hour-long scrimmage followed by some drills with student involvement as about 2,500 fans watched on.
"That's what makes this place really special, it's what separates Ohio State from every other school is the student body," center Pat Elflein said. "We have more students at practice than some schools have come to games. They're always there supporting us, behind us 100 percent.
"Our fan base is incredible and that's what makes Ohio State special."
With Elflein and guard Billy Price sitting out much of the practice that was open to students the defensive line dominated, giving the quarterbacks little time to find receivers who struggled to get open during the scrimmage.
With those two players out the first-team offensive line consisted of Jamarco Jones and Isaiah Prince at left and right tackle while the guards were Michael Jordan and Demetrius Knox with Brady Taylor at center. With the mismatched offensive line the defense took advantage, throwing multiple blitzes at the young group.
"There's a lot of work to be done," Elflein said of the offensive line. "I think guys need to be comfortable with each other. You'd like to have a set five guys that can play and gel together and when you throw some other guys in there it kind of mixes that up a little bit. I think it's going to calm down and just gain confidence for the guys that were in there. It was chaotic today, but it was supposed to be. Stuff was hectic."
J.T. Barrett would have been hit consistently if not for his black no-contact jersey, but the captain stayed clean and was periodically able to find open receivers. The Buckeyes employed a bunch formation that featured Marcus Baugh split wide, but it rarely led to open pass catchers.
Joe Burrow took the second-team quarterback reps and made some nice throws while rolling out despite being under duress for much of the morning. The real star of the second-team offense, however, was running back Antonio Williams. The true freshman ran hard and broke off a run of around 40 yards that delighted the onlooking fans.
Among those in attendance were former players Michael Thomas and Jacoby Boren as well as Ohio coaching legend and Urban Meyer's mentor Lou Holtz. He addressed the students after an introduction from Meyer and reportedly spoke to the team before the practice.
Following the scrimmage Ohio State players ran a circle drill as young defenders took on young offensive players in close proximity to the students.
The only veterans to participate were Marcus Baugh and Raekwon McMillan, though no winner was declared in that drill. Barrett also got in on the drill, but went against a young fan. She didn't do so well.
"I was barking at her and trying to make her nervous," Barrett said. "I wasn't going to hurt her or anything, I was just going to pick her up and drop her back down. I wasn't going to tackle her, but I tried to scare her with my barking."
Following those drills the Buckeyes went through red zone packages with the students lined up along the hash marks.
Meyer, who earlier had chastised certain students for wearing blue, pulled a student out of the crowd to serve as the Buckeye running back for a play as the student involvement portion of the practice picked up.
The fastest student competition followed, with Ohio State players and coaches jumping in to various heats to compete with the students.
In all it appeared to be another successful student appreciation day as the players were happy to be able to put on a show for the fans.