Friday. Sweet, sweet Friday. In fact, this Friday sort of is a bummer in a way, because yesterday's arrival of football makes it kind of feel like working on a Saturday. Plus, you probably had one too many pumpkin ale too many and/or were up until 3 A.M. watching Minnesota barely edge UNLV in Vegas. I digress. You're one day from seeing the Bucks, but before that becomes a reality, you owe it to yourself to get up to speed on all the pertinent writing in the day that was.
ON THE END GAME
For the first time in 99 years, Ohio State enters a season knowing it has nothing formal to play for. But that doesn't mean Urban Meyer and co. can't create new goals with which to motivate his troops. It doesn't mean the players themselves can't put everything in perspective and make a losing scenario at face value one of self and team growth alike.
The Columbus Dispatch Bill Rabinowitz Buckeyes seek motivation from different 'end game'
Sabino remembers being tutored by the likes of James Laurinaitis and Malcolm Jenkins. It's hard for him to believe that now he's the one providing counsel, but that pass-it-on tradition helps bond players to a program long after they've left.
To have the chance to set a standard in Meyer's first season, despite not having a championship as a potential reward, is one they relish.
"There's a lot of motivation, only because you know they're going to do great things here," Sabino said. "To have a small footprint in it would be great."
While many of Ohio State's new head men over the years have entered Columbus accomplished, none have come in carrying the resume of the Buckeyes' latest, Urban Meyer. In addition to it being the right person at the right time for Ohio State, it also just might be the ideal situation for Meyer as well.
The Columbus Dispatch Tim May Right man for the job
Meyer didn't just bring his resume to town, former OSU coach Earle Bruce said, he also brought his passion.
"He's got a purpose in the sense that he was raised in Ohio (Ashtabula), he went to college in Ohio (Cincinnati), he was a graduate assistant here at Ohio State when I hired him (in 1986 and '87), so he has some ties to this school," said Bruce, a longtime mentor to Meyer. "He has always been mesmerized by Woody Hayes and what he did. A lot of things tie him to this job.
"And as he has said it best, ‘This is the job I've always wanted.'"
So Ohio State won't be going bowling. Big deal, right? Saturday marks the beginning of something new, something special. And yet, it doesn't appear as though the more casual observers in Columbus aren't buying in to the hype, at least not quite yet. Be it the economy, the weather, the end destination for the football season, there are still plenty of football tickets available for Saturday's game.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer Doug Lesmerises Ohio State Buckeyes football: Tickets still available for Urban Meyer's debut against Miami RedHawks on Saturday
"There are always discussions about that, and there are discussions ongoing currently," Scarbrough said. "There are discussions about that exact question: Are we at the right place?"
The face value of tickets, at $70 (plus a $6.75 service charge on Ticketmaster), remained steady for the second straight year, but the Buckeyes also for the second straight year have tickets available for the opener. Scarbrough agreed a lot goes into that - the status of the OSU program, the opponents on the schedule, the overall economy.
You'd think there might be enough Urban Fever to have Ohio Stadium sold out by this point, but I can vividly remember how many empty seats there were for the Troy game in 2008 after the Buckeyes were blown out at USC.
The retention of last year's head coach Luke Fickell on the defensive staff seemingly meant an embrace of an "if ain't broke..." philosophy. And yet, by adding last year's interim head coach from North Carolina, Everett WIthers, into the mix, a few schematic adjustments will be incorporated into the 2012 game plan.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer Doug Lesmerises Ohio State defense looking to maintain its tradition of excellence
During the six seasons Fickell and Heacock served as co-coordinators, the Buckeyes won six straight Big Ten titles on the field, reached two national title games and ranked between first and 14th in the nation in total defense each year. Now Heacock is gone and Fickell is no longer running the program, but he is running the defense. Former North Carolina and NFL assistant Everett Withers is the new co-coordinator. He has brought some pro ideas to the mix, but the plan will look similar to OSU fans.
"We've always been a collaborative group," Fickell said. "It's not any one man's defense. It's a group effort and we kept the terms as close as we possibly can for these guys."
So it's the same words and the same concepts, with two primary tweaks.
Have any great reads you've come across you'd like to see included in Monday's edition? Send them along to @lukezim or e-mail me below.