COLUMBUS, Ohio — The No. 2 Buckeyes practiced in full gear for 24 periods Tuesday afternoon with just 15 days remaining until the season opener with Marshall Thursday, Sept. 2. Conditions were in the low 80’s with blue skies and (finally) low humidity. It will be the only practice of the day for the Buckeyes.

Afterwards, seniors on the defensive side of the ball stopped and met with local reporters. Click the audio links above to hear what each had to say and keep checking this week for video interviews with selected players.

Notes from today’s practice included …

Washington, Stoneburner Continue to Impress
Two players who are hoping to be on the receiving end of more passes this season are senior WR Taurian Washington and sophomore TE Jake Stoneburner … and each continued to solidify their cases Tuesday. Washington made more than a few nice grabs, including one on a deep ball from Pryor down the right sideline which he snagged with his fingertips while sprinting out of bounds. Stoneburner’s solid spring has carried over into fall camp as he made a terrific over-the-shoulder grab on an out route to the sidelines from Pryor. Washington is starting to establish himself as the solid No. 3 wide receiver behind DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher.

Soccer balls made their way onto the practice fields today at the beginning of practice. The futbols were used in a punt blocking drill in place of the normal pigskins to help defenders follow the flight of the ball and to practice more efficient angles to take when attempting a block a punt.

It’s a Bird. It’s a Plane. It’s Air Force One?
President Barak Obama was scheduled to arrive at Port Columbus at some point Tuesday for a fundraiser Wednesday in downtown Columbus. Football staff and media took notice of military helicopters clearing airspace above the Harmon Family practice fields, where planes consistently fly over en route to Port Columbus. Two planes later followed the choppers that appeared to have the look of Air Force One, but neither were confirmed by our “officials” at practice.

Hardest Hitter
Senior defensive back Chimdi Chekwa called senior Aaron Gant the “hardest hitter” on the team after practice: “Whether we have on pads or no pads, cast or no cast (on Gant’s left wrist), Aaron comes to hit every day. He’s fearless and very aggressive.” His comments drew a large grin on the face of Gant when asked if he agreed with his assessment: “I’ll take that as a complement,” he said.

Ross Homan on the SI Cover
“I’m very blessed and very honored (to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated). It’s every kid’s dream to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated.”