Team Building Part of 6 a.m. Workouts

With a week of morning workouts nearly finished, some of Ohio State's seniors-to-be are happy with what they have seen so far in their first glimpse of the 2010 squad all in one place working together.

At 5:57 on Thursday morning, the Ohio State football team began another day of winter conditioning, breaking up to go into groups by position with a simple chant of, "Hard work."

For the next hour or so, members of the coaching and training staff put the Buckeyes through all manner of drills to build strength, endurance and agility.

They pushed sleds, ran sprints, hopped bags, swung ropes and much more, but according to some of the rising seniors, all the development was not merely physical.

"The conditioning is really good, and it brings the team together really well, too," running back Brandon Saine said. "We all have to be here at 6 a.m., so I think the camaraderie is pretty good. Everyone is out there working together and hurting together."

The week of daily early-morning workouts represents the only time the full squad is permitted to workout together with the coaching staff between the end of the previous season and the start of spring practice in April.

"The one thing that is weird about being out here is you get to see the new team now," wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said. "Obviously we've gone through all these workouts with our past guys and seniors graduating. We get to do the weight room together, but when you're out here working and you see everything and now this is our squad, it's kind of cool to see it come together."

"It definitely brings us together as a group to see everybody here at once," added offensive lineman Bryant Browning. "Sometimes when we start to working out you don't get to see all your guys because we lift on different schedules and stuff like that, so it just brings us back together and starts us working together as a team for spring ball."

While the seniors are eager to help mold what they hope will be another successful team, many fans are most interested in the status of Terrelle Pryor.

The junior quarterback, who is a little more than a month removed from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, visited various work stations with a group comprised of quarterbacks, tight ends, kickers and long snappers. He moved around the field normally and took part in many drills but not all of them. He also spent some time on the sidelines doing other activities along with other rehabbing players such as linebacker Andrew Sweat and cornerback Chimdi Chekwa.

Being hurt is no vacation, though.

Those players worked hard on their own in activities that included pulling weighted sleds, doing boxing drills, wall-sits and riding the exercise bike.

"I think they're trying to discourage people from being like, ‘Oh, I think I just pulled my hammy. I'm going to go do this thing,' because they make this harder than actually going and working," Sanzenbacher said.

Pryor is not expected to be limited in what he can do when spring practice begins April 1, and Sanzenbacher said the team has not shown much concern that it would be without the signal caller.

"I wouldn't say we were worried about it," Sanzenbacher said. "It doesn't surprise me. I think we all know we've got the greatest doctors and they take care of you."

Also of note in regards to personnel was the presence of Tyler Moeller, who was forced to miss all of last season while recovering from a brain injury. He worked out with the safeties on Thursday.

Needless to say, with the group newly whole, the seniors are anxious to put their stamp on the 2010 team.

"It's great," linebacker Brian Rolle said. "Some of these faces are new with some of the walk-on guys, but the majority of the guys I've been here with for the last 31/2 years, so it's just great to be together with these guys and see them working hard. I work out at 6 every day so I don't get to work out with everybody, but now during the 6 a.m. team workouts it's great to see how hard they've been working when I haven't seen them."

Added defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, who had a chance to skip such activities had he chosen in January to enter his name into the 2010 NFL Draft, "I wouldn't say I was excited for 6 a.m.'s, but the way we refer it is they are the first of our lasts. It's our last first 6 a.m., our last second 6 a.m. It's a great feeling to know that we've put so much effort into this and we're going to grow from it, and we get to lead for a change."

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