I have just begun my fifteenth season of being an usher for the home football games at THE Ohio State University. I have seen a lot of football over the years and it all began with the number one team in the land in ’98 losing to MSU. Coach Coopers last chance at glory in Scarlet and Gray probably was the beginning of the end for his time in Columbus. I have seen some great games and some wonderful wins during my tenure there and am looking forward to giving you my perspective from the cheap seats.
As an usher, we have to be in our locations no later than 9:30, but for the most part I have always been there three hours before hand. My best friend and writer for tBBC, Gary Russell, has been doing it now for 5 seasons and is only two portals away. We have a chance to see some things that most fans do not see – and honestly maybe few reporters. The skull session takes place at St. Johns at 9:45 now(10:00 before) and then the players enjoy that walk. Fans get a kick out of it because they are a part of a neat tradition.
What they haven’t seen over the years are the teams walking through the stadium after coming down the ramp. They usually come into the stadium to music and in years past it’s been various songs. The best part about Saturdays walk was how they did it. In Coach Tressel’s years they always avoided the field itself and walked up the visitors side of the field off the turf. When the players were initially getting to the bottom of the ramp and moving past the flag pole, they were heading that way. Not Coach Meyer, he continued straight forward and across the middle of the field from goal post to goal post and the players followed.
I love this because the ushers are the only people in the stadium cheering for the players and their coach. There may be concessionaires and security and those types, but it’s mostly just us who got to enjoy it. You could see Coach Meyer taking it in, realizing this was his first real walk up the middle of the field. It sent a message to those of us witnessing it. This is their field and they are going to be the first ones on it on game day and no one else.
The greatest part about the end of the walk was the heartfelt moments that he had with every single player prior to heading up the ramp to get ready. Fans have been going over and over how they’ll miss the hive and weren’t sure the Quick Cals would be fun. I can tell you that he has found a way to have a new tradition for him and his guys that he didn’t necessarily want or need the whole world to see.
He took the time to shake hands with and hug every player. Stopped them and said some encouraging words and gave them a huge bro hug and sent them on their way. This gave me chills. To see him showing a moment to some of us that lets the players know just how important that day was to him. It was a sight to behold and I am glad I witnessed it.
I am not entirely sure where the Quick Cals will end up in the tradition area, but it had a few hiccups for the rest of us. The new stadium system was blaring AC/DC while they were doing it and it was difficult to hear up in D-Deck. However; from what I read and heard after the game, it appears the students love it and a lot of them were sorry they weren’t in the stadium early enough to get it. Remember students, you are the heart of the fans to the Buckeyes and we need you in the seats about a half hour before kickoff to be sure!
What started out as in inauspicious first quarter, ended with some very encouraging sights. Gary and I had been texting each other about the talent in Coach Meyer’s system. About needing Jordan Hall to be able to pull some things off with what he wants to do. To be honest, my exact words to him were “we don’t have the talent for Coach Meyer to run his offense”. I wasn’t knocking any player specifically, just the offense as a whole.
The funny thing about my statement and the timing of it is that on the previous three possessions you could tell the stadium was on the verge of giving Coach Meyer his first boo. As fate would have it, just as I was walking to talk to Gary some more about our texts they hit a long run and as I stepped around the corner and said something unimportant to Gary, it happened. THE catch of the year. One of the best throws and catches I have witnessed in Ohio Stadium.
Braxton Miller threw the ball in the only place Devin Smith could catch it. It even appeared as though he was overthrowing Smith on purpose because of the good coverage by the Miami defender. When Smith went up the defender lost track of him because he was up there flying, grabbing the ball with one hand, pulling it in and landing and rolling. I believe Smith sent a message loud and clear with the catch. The rest of the team better step up their game!
The rest as they say was history. The Buckeyes put up a quarter in scoring and yardage that topped several total yardage of games last season and almost several others. The first Saturday as an usher was in the books and there was plenty to be excited about. The next game against UCF has everyone wondering what’s next and I for one believe that while we may be disappointed for a quarter here and there? We will not be disappointed in the effort that these players put forth.
Until Next Saturday! Have a great week! Go Bucks!