At 6:29 a.m. on Thursday, the 2017 Ohio State Buckeyes finished stretching in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and ran onto their outside practice field.
Preseason camp has officially begun.
This is a soft opening. Players weren’t in pads. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said at Big Ten media days in Chicago that he considers next week the true start to camp.
But this was the first time all the Buckeyes had been on the field since the spring game in April.
With the NCAA’s abolition of two-a-day practices, college teams have adjusted their camp schedules. In the past, Ohio State typically had two practices on their first day – one in the morning for first-year players and another in the afternoon for veterans.
Thursday required early wake-ups for everybody.
“I set my alarm for 5 o’clock in the morning,” senior quarterback J.T. Barrett said. “I was here about 5:15, so it was up-and-at-‘em early. We were on the field by 6:15.”
Barrett said there was no grumbling about the early hour. After all, 5 a.m. weight-room workouts in the offseason conditioning program aren’t exactly a picnic.
“It was more of, it’s time to get going,” Barrett said. “I’m not terribly mad at finishing my last summer here as a Buckeye as far as the offseason program. It was time for football and I think everybody had that vibe.”
Three starters on offense did not take part in drills with the rest of the team. Running back Mike Weber worked (unspecified injury, but believed to be minor) on the side along with tight end Marcus Baugh (toe).
Left tackle Jamarco Jones stood with the offensive lineman but didn’t participate. He declined to specify the reason in interviews afterward, but said it was a minor issue.
Matt Burrell took reps at the open right guard spot with the first-teamers in the limited amount of time the media was permitted to observe. Malcolm Pridgeon worked in there as well.