Aug. 13, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The first week of fall camp is behind the Ohio State Buckeyes. So is the acclimation period, moving into the team hotel, parents’ brunch, team-photo day at Ohio Stadium and media day at the Woody. The Big Ten Network and ESPN have also each had their day on campus with the Buckeyes.

So now … it’s time to grind.

“This next week is real,” coach Urban Meyer told about 100 members of the media during his media day press conference Sunday. “It’s on. It’s 2-1-2-1-2 [two- and one-a-day practices]. I can’t add those up, but that’s a lot of practices in the next five, six days. That’s when the home sickness sets in and you start feeling real sorry for each other.”

The Buckeyes’ have practiced three times the past two days. None of the practices have been at the Ackerman Road field as heavy rain has soaked the fields and precipitated practices at the country club-like Harmon Family Football Complex at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

  • Monday morning the team practiced in mild conditions and sometimes in the rain on outdoor field Nos. 3 and 4 at the “Woody.”
  • Under similar weather conditions, the team returned to those same fields for a second Monday practice – and No. 9 of this fall – in the afternoon before a downpour prompted a move into the indoor facility for the final half of the practice. 
  • And despite some heavy rain Tuesday morning, the team stayed out on the grass fields at the Harmon complex for its only practice of the day in the morning.  

Ackerman for a reason: Practices at the Ackerman Road field are a time for the team to bond and come together. Ackerman isn’t the Harmon Family Football Complex. It’s not-very-nice grass over earth. And there’s nothing plush about it, although the past two days of rain may change that. The field is bordered by two roads and a parking lot and enclosed by a green mesh fence.

“You start finding out what kind of team you have [at Ackerman],” Meyer said Sunday. “And at the end of next week, I will know what kind of a team we have.

“Everything is pretty good. But this next week is when you have to stay healthy … you’ve got to be smart as a coaching staff. But you also need to see how they fight when it gets tough. This will be the toughest week that they have all year. And next week is going to be tough on the coaches, too. So I’m really watching it closely

Black stripe update: Buckeye rookies wear black stripes on their helmets until they display actions and efforts that prove they understand the Ohio State culture on the field of “4-to-6 seconds” and go as hard as you can from “point A to point B.” Each rookie has a big brother mentor to help guide them through this transitional period.

The first two rookies to have the black stripe removed from their helmet were linebacker Raekwon McMillan and running back Curtis Samuel. Both had them removed Sunday. McMillan’s big brother is Curtis Grant while Samuel’s is Ezekiel Elliott

And on Monday, defensive end Darius Slade had his black stripe removed after the first practice of the day by his big brother, Steve Miller.

Sans Stripes (Big Brother)

1.      LB Raekwon McMillan (Curtis Grant)

         RB Curtis Samuel (Ezekiel Elliott)

3.      DL Darius Slade (Steve Miller)

WR Epitropoulos eyes med school: Frank Epitropoulos, a third-year receiver from Upper Arlington, has decided to end his career as a football player for the Buckeyes in order to concentrate entirely on his biology and pre-med/pre-dental academic program. Epitropoulos, who will continue his schooling at Ohio State, is a two-time OSU Scholar-Athlete whose family has a notable medical background, including his mother, Alice, who is an ophthalmologist, and a sister, Christina, who is a third-year Dean’s List student in Ohio State’s College of Dentistry.

“I love being an Ohio State Buckeye,” Epitropoulos said, “but I am also competing to get into medical school, and that is very important to me and to my family. I am already in my third year at Ohio State and the process to begin applying to medical schools is not far off. After consulting with my family, I have therefore decided to end my athletic career so I can focus solely on academics.

“I want to thank my teammates and coaching staff for all of their help and support, and I wish them the best this season and into the future.”

Epitropoulos played in four games for Ohio State last year as a red-shirt freshman, including a combined 39 plays on offense vs. Penn State and Purdue.

Two out indefinitely: Freshman linebacker Kyle Berger, from Cleveland, injured his left knee over the weekend – the same knee he injured prior to the start of the 2013 St. Ignatius High School football season – and he is expected to have surgery next week. Freshman defensive lineman Dylan Thompson, from Montini Catholic High School in Lombard, Ill., also has a knee injury. His injury occurred last Thursday and won’t require surgery. Both players will be out indefinitely.