Ohio State football: Spring practice schedule all about safety, skill development
During the week, Land of 10 reporters following the Buckeyes address pressing questions on the minds of the Ohio State fan base with our daily feature. To ask Austin Ward a question, follow along on Twitter and suggest a topic right here. Check back Monday through Friday as we dive into the Ohio State Question of the Day. Go here to see all of our previous answers.
@AWardSports spring ball used to be two weeks… understand they get “x” amount of practices in “y” amount of time, but seems like spring practice has gone on for a month now… what are the parameters?
— John Weg (@twelve_volt_man) April 5, 2018
There is always a method to the madness at Ohio State, although that’s probably not the best way to describe how it has decided to set up the spring practice schedule under Urban Meyer the last few years. The Buckeyes are in no rush to be done with those 15 official workouts allowed by the NCAA this time of year, and there are a number of benefits to maximizing the available window.
The most interesting part of the setup is using the school’s official spring break as time off after going through a pair of acclimation practices. Ohio State gets to knock out those sessions and get back in the flow in meeting rooms, and then once the Buckeyes return from vacations that some players also turn into workouts, it’s all business leading up to the annual exhibition.
Teams can’t extend camp as long as they’d like, though, with the NCAA allocating 34 consecutive calendar days (excluding vacations or examination days). And not everybody chooses to use those opportunities the same way.
Ohio State wants as many weeks as possible where it can work hands-on with the players. But it also doesn’t want to push anything physically and increase the risk of injuries. Like every team, it is restricted to 12 practices with contact, and only eight of those can include tackling. But for the Buckeyes, there never will be any two-a-days or several consecutive practices without time off, because spring isn’t so much about the conditioning aspect. The goal for Ohio State is fine-tuning technique, installing the playbook, evaluating position battles — and making sure everybody stays as healthy as possible.
It’s still football, so injuries like the one starting linebacker Tuf Borland suffered are going to happen. But Ohio State closely monitors the wear and tear on the bodies of its players, and while it never wants to take any risks in that regard, that’s especially true in the spring when there are no official games to be played.
Much more thought goes into setting up a camp and nailing down all those details than one might think, and it’s not as simple as just knocking out 15 workouts and moving on. This is a valuable time period for a team with national-title aspirations, and rest assured, Ohio State always is working with that goal in mind. And it’s going to keep taking its time to make sure it’s doing spring right.
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