Monday, August 15, 2011

BOOM EMBRACING SIDELINE ROLE WHILE PREPPING FOR OCTOBER

Dan Herron
TBT Photo/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell
COLUMBUS — Though Dan "Boom" Herron will not see the field until the Ohio State Buckeyes enter Lincoln, Nebraska for a huge Big 10 matchup, the tailback is having a ball on the practice field.

Herron, who is suspended the first five games of the 2011 season by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits, hasn't let his off-field issues with eligibility affect his passion for the game of football. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound senior is keeping a smile on his face while handing out advice to anyone who'll listen. Through the first week of fall camp, Herron has constantly been in the ears of fellow backfield runners Carlos Hyde, Rod Smith and Jordan Hall.

As camp has rolled on, the trio of Hyde, Smith and Hall seem to be in line to see a good amount of touches in the first five games of the season. But with Herron set to return against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on October 8, you can bet that Herron will be more than ready.

Although Ohio State Head Coach Luke Fickell hasn't directly addressed any of the suspended players during camp, he said something after the opening practice last week that describes Herron on point.

"The attitudes are right," Fickell said on Aug. 8. "Guys are working together. I think they have the right focus."

As a fifth-year senior, Herron is embracing his sudden role of mentor to the younger skill position players. During practice, Herron has been seen giving advice to receiver Verlon Reed, fullback Zach Boren and quarterbacks Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton, for example.

Receivers coach Stan Drayton said it isn't just Herron who is becoming another coach on the field.

"(DeVier Posey) is a guy who is going to teach those young guys what Ohio State football is all about and what it is to play receiver in this system," he said. "Like I said, I've been extremely impressed."

Rather than wallow in his tears, Herron seems determined to go out on a high note at Ohio State. The Warren, Ohio native put together a very impressive junior season when he rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and 16 TDs. Herron reached the endzone in every game except the opener against Marshall. It's arguable that Herron was the most consistent offensive weapon last season.

Although Herron may be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to Buckeye Nation support, there's no doubt he's doing all he can to help his teammates in 2011.