'Hell Week' Again A Possibility For OSU

When Ohio State reported to kick off the 2009 season, the decision was made to unplug the electronics and turn off cell phones. Now a year later, a new group of seniors is debating whether or not to institute the same policy.

A few days into last year's fall camp, Ohio State returned to basics in a big way. At the command of the senior class, the Buckeyes surrendered their cell phones, unplugged their television sets and enjoyed a more primitive camp than in previous seasons.

One year later, a new group of seniors is not sure whether or not to subject this year's team to the same conditions. Senior defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, who figures to be a captain this season, said he will not be the one to bring up the idea.

"We might do it this year and we might not," he said. "Hopefully not. I'm not going to mention it to anybody, but it definitely forced us to focus on other things other than electronics and to enjoy each other."

The decision to withdraw from the outside world was based upon a number of factors. In addition to trying to foster a closer sense of team among the Buckeyes, some players expressed a sense of dissatisfaction with some of the accessories their teammates brought along to camp.

When the gadgets were unplugged, offensive lineman Bryant Browning said he grew closer to some of the team's defensive backs.

"There were times we did play a lot of games of cards," Browning, now a senior, said. "My roommate Chimdi Chekwa and I, we played several games against Anderson Russell and Andre Amos. It was just a time for us to be together and get some laughs in."

Heyward recalled getting a bunch of Buckeyes into one room and "just cracking on each other."

Given the team's prescribed reading for the summer – "Lone Survivor," a true story about a Navy SEAL – head coach Jim Tressel said he felt the term "Hell Week" was almost laughable in comparison.

"I thought it was comical that they considered it hell week," the coach said. "We had read the book "Lone Survivor' and it talked about what hell week was and they think losing their cell phones is hell week. That was pretty comical."

Tressel also said that while they confiscated the players' cell phones, some players have multiple phones and were still able to communicate with the outside world.

Wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said the team had instituted some form of hell week in each of his previous seasons but that last season was the first time he could recall it generating any sort of controversy.

"Nobody wanted to lose their cell phones," he said. "Obviously people don't want to lose their connections with the outside world. To be honest, I think it got a little bit more hyped up than it needed to just because I didn't think it was too bad."

Sanzenbacher's roommate was quarterback Terrelle Pryor, whose decision to bring a plasma TV to his room was rumored to have played a part in last year's decision.

"I wasn't complaining," the wideout said with a laugh.

In addition, Sanzenbacher pointed out that the demands that come with camp make it difficult for the players to do much socializing with the outside world.

This year, senior offensive guard Justin Boren said he brought his computer, his cell phone and some boating magazines to help pass the time in his hotel room. If the decision is made to forego electronics, it will be back to the magazines, he said.

The former Michigan lineman also cast some doubt on who initially came up with last year's idea.

"I think that was Coach Tressel's idea and the seniors kind of supported it," he said. "You don't really have a choice. Usually Coach Tress has the idea in his mind and talks us into supporting it, so we'll see what happens. I'm not for the loss of cell phones, but if he has that in mind, there's no – you can't raise your hand and be like, ‘No. I don't want to do that.' "

If it happens, Sanzenbacher has no doubts about where the blame will be cast.

"I'm sure that as seniors we're going to take all the heat for it because it comes from the top but it's probably inevitable," he said. "It's something that I didn't think was too bad, so if it happens, it happens."

BSB staff writer Matthew Hager contributed to this report.

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