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Aug. 16, 2000

%^$COLUMBUS, Ohio–After three days of intense conditioning, the Ohio State football team donned full pads for the first time Wednesday.%^$

%^$”I think everyone had a little more spring in their step this morning,” John Cooper, Ohio State head coach, said. “The mentality changes when you put on pads.”%^$

%^$Cooper’s charges are working out three times a day as they prepare for the season opener against Fresno State Sept. 2.%^$

%^$”I thought we got after it pretty good for the first day,” Cooper said. “We had a lot of guys flying around out there. Some of our freshmen have been impressive, but it is still too early to get a good read on them. I do like the overall speed of this new group.”%^$

%^$Middle linebacker Jason Ott (Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) suffered a bruised shoulder in the morning session Wednesday and missed the last two practices. Ott started all 12 games last year and had 79 tackles. While Ott is out, sophomores Freddie Pagac (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) and Matt Wilhelm (Lorain, Ohio/Elyria Catholic) are expected to fill-in.%^$

%^$”This is the time of year when you get a lot of nagging injuries and we have had our share,” Cooper said. “It is part of the grind of fall camp.”