Smith, Buckeyes Learning Some Discipline

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel likes to think of himself as a teacher of young men before a football coach, and that viewpoint was proven this week. The head coach has used two transgressions of varying severity to hammer home points of discipline to his team as it prepares for the Fiesta Bowl.

Nathan Williams is not the only Ohio State football player who has felt the wrath of the team's coaching staff this week.

Although the freshman defensive end is facing some undisclosed physical punishment after being arrested Dec. 11 and charged with shoplifting, Buckeye head coach Jim Tressel opted to also prove a point to his team via two of the team's older leaders.

Senior fullback Brandon Smith and junior tailback Chris Wells both appeared on the television show "Fox & Friends" around Thanksgiving to discuss the gray "God is Great" bracelets Smith has provided to the team this season.

But not everything went accordingly to plan.

"I guess we didn't properly talk to the people we needed to talk to in order to make sure that was cleared," Smith said. "We paid for it."

Tressel saw the situation as a learning moment for the team and used it accordingly.

"They missed a class," Tressel said. "They went on TV and they missed a class and you're not allowed to do that, so they had a reminder. It was a teachable moment for the whole team because those guys got worked."

The punishment came Dec. 15. Leading up to the team's practice, Smith said he thought the coaches were joking when they said he and Wells would be punished. That changed when they were told to get out of line and head to a separate part of the field.

Neither of the two puked, but it was close, Smith said.

"We started with pulling some sleds down the length of the field and then had some dumbbell carries, a lot of core workouts, we did a lot of running," Smith said. "We had about half an hour on the climber, and then we had to ride the bike. I would rather practice for half a day."

Both have had reps limited in practice during the season while harboring injuries to their feet. Wells has a sore toe he injured during the first game of the season, while Smith has battled a case of turf toe. The fact that these two players were made examples of four days after Williams' arrest might not be much of a coincidence.

The freshman defensive end faces no punishments from an administrative perspective, Tressel said, and as such is subject to whatever punishment the coaching staff sees fit to dole out.

In coming up with a plan of action for Williams, Tressel consulted his seniors.

"From a team standpoint, there is some (punishment) in a physical nature and there's some in a playing-time nature that the coaches and the seniors all agreed upon," Tressel said. "He'll have some work to do and miss some time and he'll have some constraints on the bowl trip, and so how he handles all of that will determine what exactly happens on the 5th."

Although it would seem that Williams' situation and the one Smith and Wells faced Monday are decidedly different, Tressel did not shy away from punishing two of his starters.

As Smith saw it, his teammates will learn from what happened to he and Wells.

"I think it's just an education thing," he said. "When you do things, you've got to make sure you talk to the right people and make sure you get things filled out properly so you can practice."

In the case of Williams, then, a little education can't hurt. Senior defensive tackle Nader Abdallah said he has sought out his teammate and given him some advice.

"Some people when they come here, sometimes they have to learn through mistakes," Abdallah said. "You can tell people all the time what to do and how to do it – I had to learn through so many mistakes I had to take care of. He's going to grow from this."

So, too, will Beanie, Smith and any of their teammates who have been paying attention.


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