No Rest For The Summer

Being a football player at Ohio State comes with a lot of extra baggage. That includes a lack of spare time when most college students are enjoying warm weather -- the summer. See what the Buckeyes did during their summer seven-on-seven camps, who stood out and why the camps are particularly useful for certain players.

There is no rest for the weary when it comes to Ohio State football.

While the NCAA mandates that players have at least eight weeks off away from football during the year, that does not leave for much time to do anything aside from playing, studying and preparing for the game itself.

That is never more obvious than during the summer. While most college students spend their summers studying abroad, working or taking vacations, the Buckeyes have conditioning drills, seven-on-seven passing camps and endless opportunities to spend time in the film room.

They take advantage of it, too.

"The only one that wasn't there is one of the freshmen who is playing pro baseball," OSU head coach Jim Tressel said. "I can't remember the last guy that wasn't here for the summer."

The one player in question who did not attend, cornerback Devon Torrence, had his absence excused in advance as he played minor league baseball.

Unofficially organized events are limited to eight hours per week during the summer. One of the highlights is the team's annual seven-on-seven passing camp, which features all the players minus the offensive and defensive lines.

During regular practices, players have multiple sets of eyes watching them. In addition, practices are filmed and dissected afterward so players can see what mistakes they made in the hopes of helping to correct them.

It can be a bit daunting.

"When you're out here in practice and you've got coaches watching your every move and you've got cameras watching you and you're going back in the film room and you're studying everything, it can be a little bit of pressure," junior wide receiver Brian Robiskie said.

The summer can be a time, then, for players who simply want to get back to doing whatever it is that makes them feel confident to shine. One such player is junior strong safety Jamario O'Neal, who has been bumped from the starting spot in the latest depth chart to be released.

Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins said the atmosphere the seven-on-seven drills provides could be just what O'Neal needs.

"That's what I tell Jamario all the time: Just play your game and have fun out there," he said. "Do what you've got to do within the lines of the team and just play your game.

"Your own true swagger can come out when there's nobody around. You play how you need to play. You can play with confidence, because overall when you're playing with confidence you're probably having fun and playing better."

During seven-on-seven, the offense and defense are both divided up into three separate groups. With an ongoing battle for the quarterback position this season that figures to stretch late into fall camp, all three quarterbacks rotated equally with the three offensive groups, Robiskie said.

While Jenkins said he was most impressed with the leadership capabilities demonstrated by Robby Schoenhoft, Robiskie said he was matched by Todd Boeckman, James Laurinaitis and Jenkins in that department.

Still, it takes a little time for things to get rolling.

"Everybody looked pretty good," Robiskie said. "I think that starting off they are going to be a little bit sluggish just because the coaches aren't there and guys are trying to figure out what's going on, but as soon as we get organized and some leaders started to emerge it turned out pretty good."

The trick, then, is finding a way to make the drills more of a practice-like atmosphere despite the absence of the coaching staff.

"It's got a practice atmosphere just from how competitive we all are and how fast everybody's going," Robiskie said. "Guys are really working hard and we use it as a time to get better. I think everybody did that this summer."

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