COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Friday following the Ohio State spring game always is an unpleasant time for players on the losing team.
During the Urban Meyer era at Ohio State, there have been some incentives to come out ahead in the spring scrimmage. Not only does the losing team have to walk home after the game, but players on the losing team also have to spend a day landscaping the Buckeye Grove.
That meant players such as quarterback Tate Martell, defensive tackle Dre’mont Jones and defensive end Chase Young were treated to a morning of hauling mulch back and forth in wheelbarrows and spreading it around the trees dedicated to Ohio State All-Americans.
In some cases, though, winners aren’t spared from landscaping duty. With a scarcity of players at their positions, Ohio State’s specialists technically were on the Scarlet and Gray rosters in the 2018 Ohio State spring game. Players listed on one team who switched sides during the game for certain situations — such as quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow, who each attempted passes for both teams — were exempt from the labor because their primary team won. But that generosity apparently didn’t apply to the specialists. Kickers Sean Nuernberger and Blake Haubeil, long snapper Liam McCullough and punter Drue Chrisman were among the most active participants of the cleanup despite also starring for the victorious Gray team.
Adding insult to injury, Nuernberger and Haubeil scored for the winning team and couldn’t get off the work detail. Nuernberger opened the scoring with a 40-yard field goal for the Gray team (and also hit 3 field goals that didn’t count). Haubeil replaced Nuernberger in the fourth quarter and added an extra point for the Gray team after Demario McCall’s 50-yard touchdown reception from Burrow.
On the bright side, Nuernberger might go down as the most accomplished mulcher in the history of Buckeye Grove. Because he was an early enrollee and always plays for both teams, this was his fifth time taking part in the tradition. While his landscaping talents have improved in that time, his ability to argue his way out of the mulch job apparently needs work.