Thursday, August 19, 2010

BUCKEYES DEALING WITH HIGH EXPECTATIONS; NEW NIKE GARB

(Photo by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

COLUMBUS — High preseason rankings and even higher expectations have become a way of life at Ohio State during the Jim Tressel era.

It seems that every season begins with the Buckeyes residing near the top of the polls. The 2010 campaign is no different, as the Buckeyes are ranked No. 2 in the first coaches poll. More than likely the Buckeyes will be rated the same in the Associated Press version which comes out this weekend.

With all of the hoopla surrounding the Buckeyes this season — from being picked to win their sixth straight Big Ten title to being forecasted for a date in the desert in early January — it would seem difficult for an Ohio State football player not to start feeling the press clippings.

Well, that's not the case at all.

Ohio State senior defensive end Cameron Heyward explained what he does when he reads a newspaper or magazine article about the Buckeyes high rankings and BCS title predictions.

"Just throw it in the trash," Heyward laughed. "If we start believing it we're going to get beat real quick."

Ohio State senior linebacker Brian Rolle stated that football isn't won on paper, it's won on the practice and game fields.

"We don't really talk about it much because the polls haven't played anybody, they just go off of what we've done previously," Rolle said. "We know that we have to get our practice on, and at the end of the day our play is going to determine where we are ranked."

Of course saying it and doing it are two totally different things. It's difficult not believing you're great when everyone is offering up lofty predictions and writing about how your team could be the best in the nation. It's just human nature to develop feelings of entitlement.

However, Ohio State senior linebacker Ross Homan said they don't need to read about or hear about their high expectations because it's just a part of being a Buckeye. Those high expectations are a perennial thing and it starts in-house.

"We really do shut it out," Homan said. "We try to shut out all outside sources, media sources. We just try to focus on our defense, and more importantly, the whole team. When we come out here we don't think about that stuff. We watch our film and try to get better from that.

"We always expect high results," Homan continued. "It doesn't matter what year it was or what year it is, it is a challenge that I know we're looking forward to and I think we can do it."

The Buckeyes have a pretty demanding schedule this season as they play four teams which are ranked in top 14 (according to the coaches poll), with two of them (Iowa and Wisconsin) on the road.

But just like last season, where the Buckeyes were upset by a 1-5 Purdue team, they know that they must bring it every week no matter who they're playing against because that target on their back is as wide as the midwest — and it's growing by the day.

"That's how it is," Homan said. "Every Saturday, every given Saturday you have to bring your A-game or you're going to get beat. No matter who you play."

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who is also being touted as a Heisman front-runner, said it best when talking about how the Buckeyes need to deal with the preseason rankings and high expectations.

"We could go about it a couple of ways," Pryor said. "We could go into the season thinking we're going to run all over everybody and take it to Marshall and guys like that. Or we can go into it slowly, taking it one day at a time. Starting tonight by getting our rest, then getting up tomorrow, eating well, going to watch film, everybody resting up, everybody paying attention, getting better, going to practice. And then after that, we do the same thing over and over.

"(With the first option) we could just let it all go to our heads and lose our one or two games like we've been doing. I would rather go with the second option I gave you."

NEW NIKE UNIFORMS AGAINST MICHIGAN ... Just like last season, the Buckeyes will be wearing a different uniform in their regular season finale against Michigan.

According to a statement from OSU Football SID Shelly Poe, the Buckeyes are one of 10 teams that will wear a uniquely designed Nike uniform for one game this season.

The uniforms will be unveiled on September 1 in New York.

JERSEY SCRIMMAGE ON SATURDAY ... The Buckeyes annual fall camp jersey scrimmage will take place this Saturday at noon inside the Horseshoe. The event is closed to the public.

The Buckeye Times will be on hand for complete coverage.

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