The life of an Ohio Stadium Usher can be interesting to say the least, especially for someone like me who lives two hours away. Due to being a high school football official and working all over the state, I can get home pretty late on Fridays, only to get up at 5:30am to head to the Shoe. This wasn’t the case this past weekend as I had a very close to home game at my alma mater and was in bed and asleep by 11:30!
I had my reservations about the game but not the day as me, my daughter Kristiana and those with me were going to try to get to the Driven tent on Lane Avenue and meet the man that provides me with daily inspiration. Roy Hall is doing some amazing things with the foundation that he has built with former Buckeye walk-on then starter Antonio Smith. Please click the link to their foundation on our homepage and see what you can do to help.
Roy and former Buckeye Maurice Clarett have forged a friendship that is paying huge dividends for the foundation and for their lives. Maurice was in town shooting the ESPN special 30 in 30 and has been hanging out at the tent and signing autographs with Roy. I could not pass up the chance to meet them both on Saturday and it turned into one of my favorite moments in meeting former Buckeyes. Both were gracious in meeting me and it’s clear that their faith is what carries them now. It was a great time for me meeting them face to face and I am sure to never forget it. There are some great things on the horizon that I am involved in helping Driven and I hope you’ll join me!
Spent a good portion of Saturday’s pregame hanging out with my middle child Kristiana, giver her a follow plz. She is a huge Ohio State fan and is currently working her bottom off to get to Columbus and go to school. She and I have always had a great sports relationship as she has always been very athletic. She plays basketball and runs track in club sports at her current school of WVU-Parkersburg and need to stay active as I believe it’s what has kept her healthy over the years. If you don’t know me well then you don’t know that she has Cystic Fibrosis and has been amazingly well. God has taken wonderful care of her. That and my son’s conviction has contributed to my faith greatly over the years.
She was there to get some great pictures from the sideline and enjoy the day. A big shoutout and thank you to Jeremy Birmingham for keeping her company and befriending her!! She and I both had our worries about Cal coming in and giving us fits. They have some talent and would be prepared for the Buckeyes. The thought process was that they were maybe worrying about this game when they struggled and ended up losing to Nevada. She and I both had good reason to worry.
The Buckeyes had a great first quarter on their way to a huge production day on offense, or so we thought. The Buckeyes racked up 207 total yards and two scores in the first, a third score accredited to a first quarter drive that started with :20 seconds left put them on top and in control 20-7. They would only gain and additional 205 yards the rest of the way. The halftime show this week was great and featured a formation honoring the city that is home for the Ohio State University. Columbus celebrates its Bicentennial anniversary this year and TBDBITL had a sweet formation for it!
The second half saw the Cal Bears give its best effort of the season so far and showed why they obviously spent the biggest part of camp working on this game and not Nevada. I am not one to normally call out the fans, but I was slightly disappointed in how we supported the team as things took a turn for the worse. I am a big believer that we have the best fans around and that the Shoe is a difficult place for teams to come in and play. It appears, however; that we all have a tendency to be shell-shocked when bad things happen.
There were times that the students in the Block O were trying to get the stadium to participate in cheers and they didn’t get the response that they should have. At one point they did their trademark “Hey Stadium! – OH!!!” and to my dismay they got no response. I am not sure what the answer is in these cases, I do not deny that I myself was a little surprised by the Cal comeback and tying the game. I was a little bit disappointed in how our defense was playing and was probably guilty of not being very cheerful myself. The main thing is to remember that these kids are still learning what this coaching staff wants to do.
There’s no overnight fix to poor tackling and offensive efficiency. Some old habits will be very difficult to break and I thank a twitter friend Justin Jones for reminding me of that. This team will have plenty of time to take care of business and get better. It was just the third game with the new staff and it will take some time for these things to sink in.
I have been saying all along that Braxton Miller just has a switch. He has proven to be a guy that will put this team on his shoulders. I am now starting to believe that he and Devin Smith are long-lost Corsican brothers! It is amazing to me that they have been able to come together on so many plays in such a relative short time. Bear in mind that both of them came in as frosh last season and neither expected to play. Let’s put that into perspective. At the very least, Smith could have been a scout team receiver and Brax would have been TP’s back up with little to no playing time in what could have been a very special season.
We all know what really happened last year and as both were thrust into their starting roles, they both delivered on multiple occasions. We as fans typically only remember the catch against Whiskey and now the 72 yard game winning wide-open jaunt on Saturday. I myself am going to go back and watch a lot of last years catches and prove to myself we should have seen how special he was and is going to be. I am thankful for the score and am happy to get out of the Shoe with a hard-fought 35-28 win over a very game Cal team that is better than people thought.
Another little tidbit that I will call an amazing statistic is the fact that for the entire season last year Smith had 14 catches for 294 yards with a long of 40 and 4 scores. This season through three games he has 13 catches for 233 yards with a long of 72 and 3 scores. It is possible that we could have two 1,000 yard receivers in Smith and Corey Brown, a far cry from last year for sure and a reason to be excited for what more this offense with Miller and Smith can do!
A couple little housekeeping items of personal interest. I am not sure what contributes to it but the traffic leaving the city Saturday was horrible! We always park in the same place in the Sisson lot across the walking bridge from the Towers. Fans who ride the COTA buses from the West campus go the same way that we do and it took forever to get back to our vehicle. I am sure that 105,000 people staying to the end had a lot to do with it, but the traffic down 315 to 70 was just as bad as evidenced from my pic.
I was hoping to be wearing a new T-shirt that I purchased for Saturday’s opportunity to meet Roy and Maurice. If you haven’t read about it, they are selling T’s that have Got Juice? on them and proceeds from the sales benefit Roy’s Driven Foundation. You can get yours here.
I am also proud to say that I am a member of the #DRIVENOFFENSIVELINE which you can make a donation to of any denomination or do as I did and sign up to donate $20 a month that specifically “protects” families and children. This is their current drive that goes a long way to helping families close to home. If I can give some things up to help out then I am sure all of you can! Please use the hashtag above when tweeting about it!!! Roy will thank you personally and so will I!
Until next week! Go Bucks!