Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer and director of player personnel Mark Pantoni added what they hope will be a new Buckeye tradition with the debut of the first annual Friday Night Lights, a one-day football camp for high school football players inside Ohio Stadium. OSU students, alumni and fans were granted free admission into Ohio Stadium Friday to watch more than 100 high school recruits run through drills with the Buckeyes coaching staff. Meyer and Pantoni created the Friday Night Lights camp in 2005 back when both held positions at Florida, and they decided to bring it to Columbus after its successful run in Gainesville, Fla. Some OSU fans like Andrew Warren, an OSU graduate, said they think the camp is another tool that could give Meyer an advantage when it comes to recruiting the top talent in the country. “Most of these kids have probably never worked out in a stadium this big,” Warren said. “I think just being here in front of all these fans will make some of these guys want to commit because it’s a memorable experience.” Clinton Bowman, stepfather of Trotwood-Madison High School running back Ashton Jackson, said that Friday Night Lights is a good idea, but recruiting ultimately leads back to Meyer’s reputation. “This camp, this stadium and these fans are all great but it comes down to coach Meyer at the end of the day,” Bowman said. “When you look at his track record, his two national championships at Florida, and his coaching style, that’s what kids want to be a part of.” The parents of the campers watched from the East side of the stadium, while the general public was permitted entrance to the West side of the stadium. Donte Horton, father of Lakota West High School running back prospect Mikel Horton, said the camp was just as exciting for the parents watching as it was for the campers participating. “It feels great to be out here in this atmosphere watching my son compete against some of the top high school talent,” Horton said. Horton also said the camp is a good experience that will be beneficial for his son going forward. “Now Mikel has a feeling of what is demanded from him on the college level,” Horton said. “I think this will prepare him and motivate him to be the best he can be.” Luke Fickell, co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, Mike Vrabel, defensive line coach, and Everett Withers, co-defensive coordinator, were among the OSU coaches present helping the kids through their drills. Meyer, who began his day at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago Friday morning, led drills and talked to players between reps. Jake Collier, an OSU graduate, said the camp overall was a success, but said there’s room for one improvement next year. “I think it would be helpful if they could pass out some printed rosters in the future so people can keep track of who is who,” Collier said. “Besides that, everything was great.” The camp was also a chance for OSU fans to be in the stadium before September 1, when the Buckeyes open up the season against Miami (Ohio). Kickoff is scheduled for noon.
OSU redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) scans the field after a snap during the 2017 spring game at Ohio Stadium on April 15. Credit: Mason Swires | Assistant Photo EditorThe last time the Ohio State football team touched the field at Ohio Stadium, they were joined by thousands of fans who jumped from their seats in celebration of former H-back Curtis Samuel’s walk-off touchdown in double overtime against the Michigan Wolverines. Little did players or fans alike know that — thanks to a 31-0 shutout loss at the hands of the Clemson Tigers on Dec. 31 — it would be the last Buckeye touchdown they would see in more than four months. However, at the 2017 spring game, it took just under four minutes for redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett to find redshirt sophomore tight end A.J. Alexander in the back of the endzone — the first sign of many in the afternoon that offseason changes might be paying dividends for the Scarlet and Gray offense. Co-offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, who joined the team in the offseason, said the improvements seen in Saturday’s game were a direct result of spring practice.“We kind of did a lot of things we’ve been practicing,” he said. “We didn’t necessarily try to hide things. We didn’t try to throw everything out there. I thought we’d had a solid spring, lot of areas need improving, I just wanted — because we’re playing enough young guys — that when we came into the arena, they didn’t make all the good things I’ve seen in practice bigger than it looks.”Wilson, formerly the head coach at Indiana, was described by Barrett as a “competitor” who is “always in attack mode” and has helped the Buckeye offense find its past rhythm.“I think the thing about the Ohio State offense is we’re always on the attack and at times, I think we got away from that,” Barrett said. “But now, (Wilson’s) main focus is to make sure that we’re always on attack and that we’re beating the guy across from us.”While in the spring game the “guy across” was a familiar face, both Team Scarlet and Team Gray had success beating their defensive counterparts. Scarlet posted 460 offensive yards while Gray totaled 385. The majority of yardage for both teams came from the passing game, which was a sore spot at times for the 2016 team. Redshirt junior wide receiver Johnnie Dixon, who was a highlight for Team Scarlet with 108 yards and two touchdowns, described the passing game as “wonderful” and noted that the receiving group is full of playmakers. “(The offense) feels a lot better,” Dixon said. “We’re doing different things, and we’re attacking situations different. Everything we’re doing is working.”Barrett said this is the best spring he’s had for accuracy, but was quick to add there is still work to be done to become “competitively excellent.” Those areas, he said, include pass protection, downfield passing and finishing plays.“We’ve got to come out pushing and striving to make sure that when it comes to game time, everybody is on the same page and we get those three things accomplished,” Barrett said. “I think we’re on the right path for that, but to say we’re competitively excellent on the game plan? Not yet, but we have time to that we’re not playing the ball.”
Marseille’s Dimitri Payet is certain that he will be ready to play for the side in their Europa League final against Atletico Madrid, despite having suffered recent injury troublesThe French midfielder was left out of the side in their 3-3 draw against Guingamp last Friday due to having sustained a muscle problem.While Payet had acknowledged that he will have to caustious in regards to his recovery, the 31-year-old is now confident that the worse is over and that he will be able to start as Marseille bid to end their 25-year wait for glory in Europe.“I’m much better. I think I will be fit,” said Payet, according to SportsKeeda.La Liga Betting: Match-day 4 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Despite it being very early into La Liga season, both Barcelona and Real Madrid have had unprecedented starts to their campaigns. With this in…The Olympians will be going up against a side that will be participating in their fourth European final in the past eight years, but Payet insists that Marseille have a plan to beat the Spanish giants in Lyon.“They have the experience but we’ve studied our opponents and we’ll know how to take them on,” he said.“We might not be able to play beautiful football throughout but the main thing is to score one more goal than them.”
The Lazio sporting director believes the new Juventus footballer is one of the best things that could have happened to the Italia Serie AEverybody keeps talking about Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in the Italian Serie A.And now is the turn of Lazio sporting director Igli Tare, who believes the ex-Real Madrid arrival is extremely important for the league.“The arrival of Ronaldo in Italy is extremely important,” Tare told sport1 as reported by Football Italia.“I see his arrival as very positive.”Vidic: “Ronaldo is the most professional footballer I’ve seen” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Nemanja Vidic opened up on how a 21-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo’s professionalism left him stunned at Manchester United.“It’s triggered something incredible in Italy, all the best Italian clubs have taken risks this summer to do transfers to compete both domestically and internationally,” he said.“Ronaldo is important for the image of the league. We’re talking about a player with very high quality, this transfer is definitely a boost for Italian football.”“The Portuguese is still at an age where he can best express his football and wants to succeed in one of the best leagues in the world,” he said.“That’s his objective and I take my hat off to him, but the Italian league is the most difficult in the world.”