COLUMBUS, Ohio – Members of the No. 6-ranked (USA Today Coaches’ Poll) Ohio State Buckeyes reported for the start of 2009 fall camp by checking into their hotel rooms around lunchtime Sunday afternoon. Following the check-in at the University Plaza Hotel, four senior members of the squad – offensive lineman Jim Cordle, defensive lineman Todd Denlinger, kicker Aaron Pettrey and safety Anderson Russell – met with the assembled members of the media and spoke about the upcoming season. (Note: video interviews of the four Buckeyes will be posted to OhioStateBuckeyes.com beginning Monday, August 10.)
The quartet who met with the media represented an 18-member strong senior class that has posted a 33-6 record the past three years and won Big Ten Conference championships each year (shared in 2008 and outright titles in 2006 and 2007). Those 11 who are fifth-year seniors with the program – Andre Amos, Cordle, Denlinger, Joe Gantz, Andrew Moses, Aaron Pettrey, Russell, Austin Spitler, Jon Thoma, Lawrence Wilson and Doug Worthington – have been a part of four consecutive Big Ten Conference championships (Ohio State shared the crown in 2005) and have never experienced a loss against Michigan.
Supporting the senior class is a group of 29 players who are juniors eligibility-wise, and 54 sophomores and freshman for a total of 103 players who reported for the start of fall camp. By NCAA rule, teams are limited to 105 players during preseason camp.
High Fives for the First Five
The first five players to arrive at the hotel for check-in, arriving even before the coaching staff, were James Jackson, Adam Bellamy, Jake Ballard, Melvin Fellows and John Simon. Ballard is a senior and the other four are true freshmen.
12 Starters Return
Ohio State returns 12 starters from a year ago, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who was selected as the Big Ten’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Other starters on offense include guard Jim Cordle, center Michael Brewster and tackle Bryant Browning. Tight end Jake Ballard made six starts in 2008.
Defensively, the Buckeyes return eight players with significant starting experience: ends Lawrence Wilson, Cameron Heyward and Thaddeus Gibson, tackle Doug Worthington, linebacker Ross Homan, safeties Anderson Russell and Kurt Coleman, and cornerback Chimdi Chekwa.
First Week Highlights
The team will practice as a group for the first time Monday afternoon. Tuesday practice sessions will be videotaped by the Big Ten Network as part of its 2009 Big Ten Football Tour. The BTN’s Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith will be at the practice fields with their production staff covering a day in the Ohio State camp. The 90-minute program will be broadcast on BTN Tuesday evening at 10 p.m.
Ohio State has been selected as the preseason favorites for the 2009 football season by media members attending the conference’s football media day. Penn State was tabbed to finish second, and Michigan State was third.
Ohio State enters the 2009 season in search of its fifth consecutive Big Ten title. OSU finished last season with a 10-3 overall mark and tied with Penn State for the conference title with a 7-1 mark during Big Ten play.
The Buckeyes are once again led by head coach Jim Tressel, who last season became just the fourth coach in Big Ten history to win five or more Big Ten titles in his first eight years with a conference institution. Assisting Tressel this season is offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Jim Bollman (ninth season at Ohio State), quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano (first-year as full-time coach), assistant head coach and wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell (sixth season), tight ends coach John Peterson (sixth season), running backs coach Dick Tressel (ninth season), defensive coordinator Jim Heacock (14th season), co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell (eighth season), safeties coach Paul Haynes (fifth season) and cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson (third season).
Times & TV
Start times and broadcast information for Ohio State games that are set include the following:
114th Big Ten Season
The 114th season of Big Ten football kicks off Thursday, Sept. 3, as Indiana hosts Eastern Kentucky. The conference’s other 10 teams open action on Saturday, Sept. 5.
For updated information, visit OhioStateBuckeyes.com.