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Aug. 15, 2000

%^$COLUMBUS, Ohio – John Cooper, Ohio State head football coach, will direct the 2000 Buckeyes through full contact drills for the first time Wednesday after several days of competition in just shorts, shoulder pads and helmets.%^$

%^$The Buckeyes began fall camp as a full squad last Saturday after a week of work with the incoming freshmen and invited walk-ons.%^$

%^$In four days of practice as a complete unit, Cooper said the coaching staff is ready to start preparation for the first game Sept. 2 (12:10 p.m. kickoff) against Fresno State in Ohio Stadium.%^$

%^$”These first few practices have been primarily to get the freshmen up to date,” Cooper said. “Now we are anxious to get the pads on to see what happens now.”%^$

%^$The Buckeye coaches are ready to see if the newcomers can compete with the returning varsity for playing time.%^$

%^$”I like this freshmen class,” Cooper said. “But it is really hard to tell how good they are without being able to practice with full contact. These guys all look good in uniform.”%^$

%^$Though the wait has been long since the season ended in 1999, Cooper said he will attempt to avoid being too anxious Wednesday once the team comes out to practice in full gear.%^$

%^$”We are looking forward to getting everyone in full gear,” Cooper said. “But we will try to keep things low key and much the same as we have the last few days. We are going to ease into things so we don’t go out the first day and experience a lot of injuries.”