When the Ohio State football team moved into its hotel for the rest of fall camp, it was clear that the coaching staff had a plan in mind by pairing veterans with young players of the same position.
Some of those veterans know exactly what to expect in camp, and have a clear set of rules for their room at the Hyatt Place Columbus on Yard Street.
“Shut up, don’t snore, sleep when it’s time to sleep,” senior tight end Jeff Heuerman said outside the team hotel Thursday.
While Heuerman and some other veterans know it will be important to get as much sleep as possible during the two-week grind heading into the season, noise level won’t be bothering all of them.
“It’s not going to bother me,” junior linebacker Joshua Perry said. “I sleep like a rock.”
The rule of the room certainly goes to the veteran player, but they aren’t paired with freshmen in order to intimidate.
Senior cornerback Doran Grant said he is paired with freshman cornerback Marshon Lattimore at the hotel, but he said the pairing can help each of them get better for the season. He added it’s a chance to help the younger players get ready for their first go around as a Buckeye.
“Just to help guide the freshmen…through camp,” Grant said. “When they get down, you know, pick them up, hug them up a little bit, show them that everything is good.”
Grant, for one, said he didn’t try to enforce any power as a senior, even when it came to bed selection in the room.
“I went up there and he (Lattimore) already called the window, he had his stuff on there, so it’s okay,” he said. “As long as we both get a bed, that’s good.”
Junior offensive lineman Jacoby Boren said the same wasn’t the case when it comes to his pairing with freshman offensive lineman Kyle Trout, but added he wouldn’t have a set of rules for the room.
“We don’t really have any rules,” Boren said. “I just took the bed closest to the window, so other than that we’re good.”
At the end of the day, Heuerman, who is rooming with redshirt-freshman tight end Marcus Baugh, said the hotel is only a small portion of fall camp. He said when the players get back to the hotel after practice, they spend about half an hour awake before it’s lights out to get ready for another day.
Heuerman also had a warning for the younger players, saying the first few days of camp didn’t touch on the “hard stuff.”
“A lot of those younger guys, they don’t know what’s coming,” he said. “Two-a-days starts on Saturday I think. Once you move into the hotel it gets real.”
Heuerman added that the players have to turn in their car keys during camp, and in years past had to turn in their cell phones during the day.
Senior linebacker Curtis Grant said, once you move into the hotel, football takes over your entire life. He added it will be a difficult adjustment for any players going through their first fall camp.
“It’s going to be a tough time in their life, because they’re stuck in the hotel, you can’t do anything,” Grant said. “By next week, everybody is going to hate their life because they can’t go anywhere.”
Redshirt-sophomore safety Tyvis Powell said the time in the hotel can also be used to make sure the young players are prepared, and still preparing, to step on the field once the season starts. Powell is rooming with freshman safety Erick Smith, and said he’ll be making sure Smith knows his assignments inside and out.
“I know yesterday he was struggling a little bit on some plays, so basically I’m just going to kind of quiz him, make sure he’s got the playbook,” Powell said.
While fall camp is certainly a new experience for the younger players, there are still some veterans going through it from a different perspective.
Senior offensive lineman Joel Hale is participating in his fourth fall camp as a Buckeye, but just his first on offense. Hale spent his first three seasons as a defensive lineman, where he saw extensive playing time last season. He said it was a risk to make the switch, and has to be ready to go everyday no matter what, even as a senior.
“I mean, I’m fighting for my life right now, I’ve got to fight everyday and I’m a senior,” Hale said. “That’s hard.”
After Thursday’s practice, the Buckeyes are scheduled to have 14 more days of camp. Two-a-day sessions are set for six of those days, with the last coming on Aug. 20 while camp is scheduled to end Aug. 23 –– their last day in the hotel.
OSU’s season is scheduled to start Aug. 30 against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Kickoff is set for noon.
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