If you’re an Ohio State student, Urban Meyer wants to see what you’ve got.
Much like last spring when the Buckeyes and Meyer welcomed students to an open practice and one student got a chance to kick a field goal, OSU’s football coach is looking to do something similar this year. This time, though, it’s about speed.
A student will go up against two of the fastest players on the team — sophomore running back Dontre Wilson and senior wide receiver Devin Smith.
“We’ve always tried to get the students involved and have ownership,” Meyer said in an interview with The Lantern Monday. “I did this one other time (at Florida), where I wanted to see a couple students race our players in front of 80,000 people in a spring game. So we added a fastest student contest.”
Students who are interested in competing are to report to the Biggs Lobby at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Wednesday at 5 p.m., Meyer said. There they can learn more about the event and take part in the first rounds of testing.
A series of semifinal races are then scheduled to take place at OSU’s Student Appreciation Day April 5, which is slated to begin at 11 a.m. That winner then will get a chance to show their talent on an even bigger stage — Ohio Stadium — at halftime of the Spring Game April 12.
If that student is able to beat out Smith and Wilson in a race, there might just be a future for them with the Buckeyes.
“I hope not. I hope they can’t,” Meyer said of the chance a student has at beating his players. “If they can, I’m going to recruit them and get them on our team.”
The semifinals of the race are not the only event scheduled for Student Appreciation Day: flag football is set for the same day.
In the interview, Meyer emphasized the importance of students to the team and the university in general.
“Take away the students and I don’t have a job … our president doesn’t have a job,” Meyer said. “All our focus (is) around boosters and whomever, and I get that. But I’m never gonna … I want students on our side.”
Meyer mentioned that when he was the head coach at Bowling Green, he and players “went to every fraternity, every sorority, every student union group, student organization and taught them the fight song.”
Meyer said he wants the student body fully invested in the football program.
“What makes the energy in that stadium is our football team and our students,” Meyer said. “All due respect to the other 80,000 or whatever it is, it’s the students that create the buzz in the stadium. And we want to reward them.”
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