Thursday night marked one week and counting for Ohio State toward its season opener at Indiana, and as far as Jalyn Holmes is concerned, it can’t come soon enough.
The senior defensive end had just delineated his regular and seemingly endless one-on-one duels with left tackle Jamarco Jones and others on the offensive line in a preseason camp that started July 27.
“I’m tired of seeing Jamarco; I want see somebody else,” the affable Holmes deadpanned. “I’m tired of seeing Isaiah (Prince), I’m tired of messing with Billy (Price). I want to pick on somebody else other than those three.
“I can’t wait to play. It’s my senior year. I’ve only got so many times (left) to play in (Ohio Stadium), so I’m going to try to make the best of it.”
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Before the Buckeyes play their first home game of the season against Oklahoma on Sept. 9, the opener will be in prime time on ESPN at Indiana. But that road start doesn’t seem to be dampening the anticipation, especially for fourth-year junior receiver Johnnie Dixon, who is anticipating his first full season after fighting through chronic knee issues.
“My Lord you've really brought me so far these past few months you're really appreciated!” Dixon tweeted at midweek. “Next week can't get here fast enough, man. I'm ready to hit the field with my guys.”
Speaking of the opener drawing near, that means the Buckeyes are in game-week mode, defensive end Sam Hubbard said, a change that’s obvious to all of the players.
“Camp’s a grind. You’ve got to get through it, improve as a player. But once you get in game-week mode, everybody’s demeanor changes around the Woody” Hayes Athletic Center, Hubbard said. “You know, at Ohio State we win games, that’s what we do.
“So everybody’s attitude changes, and the focus (for the defense) isn’t on what the (Ohio State) offense is doing, it’s getting ready to play another team. So that’s really where I want to be.”
Hubbard said “my mind was wandering more than it has in past camps just because three weeks, 6 a.m. to 9 (p.m.) every day was tough. But it really brought us together as a team, I feel like, because everybody was going through it.”
Tight end parade
Along with being offensive coordinator, Kevin Wilson also coaches the tight ends, and he said several could play in the opener.
One reason is returning starter Marcus Baugh sat out part of camp as he recovered from a toe problem. Though he has practiced well of late, his absence gave rise to Luke Farrell, Jake Hausmann and converted defensive end Rashod Berry.
“I think you’re going to see a little bit of a group early,” Wilson said. “We’re going to see how that shakes out. … That group needs to play well.”
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