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Freshman DE Noah Spence (JWinslow.com)
Drew Thurman (1:29  pm)

Well, it's not often we give you a special edition of News & Notes beyond our mid-week format, so consider yourselves lucky (or cursed depending how you view our blog). Thanks to a buzz around the start of camp and media day, we felt we needed to keep you up to date with what is going on. 

Let's dive in...

The Black Stripes

One of the most talked about things yesterday at the media day was the "black stripes" that the incoming freshman have been rocking. Urban Meyer brought the tradition to Ohio State from his previous jobs (which he started at Bowling Green) as a way to motivate freshmen and have them earn their stripes, literally. Essentially each freshman was given a plain black stripe on their helmet, making them different from the team, which cannot be removed until they've earned their spot on the team. 

Urban explained the method behind his creation and why he has instituted it at Ohio State.

"It all started because of the hazing," Meyer said. "It used to be a problem. They shave your head, shave eyebrows, make you drink."

OSU freshmen must instead prove themselves on the field. They do not earn their stripes until a veteran teammate -- a designated big brother -- removes the one on their helmet in a spontaneous ceremony.

"It's a rite of passage to become an Ohio State Buckeye," Meyer said. "You have to earn it.

The players themselves see this as a serious thing, it's not just some gimmick. In fact, many of them were quite honest with how important it is to see it get removed.  
Thus, far only two freshman have earned the removal of the stripe, Devan Bogard and Noah Spence. While fans aren't surprised to see Spence's name, it was actually Bogard who "earned his stripes" first. In fact, Bogard has been one of the most focused and hard working freshman on the team, something that is a welcome sight after some of the recent Glenville players who have come in with a sense of entitlement. 

As Bob Hunter of The Dispatch discovered, it is actually the death of his brother that is motivating Bogard. His brother had been struggling with cancer for six years and was only 22 years old. Yet, Bogard hasn't allowed his pain to cripple him. 

A distraught Bogard didn’t lose focus after his brother’s death, but seems to have gained it. He didn’t slack off during workouts, but worked even harder. As painful as it was for Bogard, his brother’s death helped to drive him. Ashby was there for his younger brother in life, and now he’s there for him in death.

It has transformed a heart-wrenching tale into an inspiring one.

“(His death) motivated me,” Bogard said. “It lifted me — a lot. He’s my motivation every day. Every time I wake up, I’m about to go to practice and I put on my shoulder pads and helmet, I think about my brother. I’ve got to do it for him.”

Meyer made it clear that he has the "heart of a lion", and is a kid he is pulling for. I have a feeling a lot more fans will be joining him in rooting for No. 30. 

Other Media Day Tidbits

-Watch Meyer's Presser below (via 11W). He talks about the first week of practice, which players have stood out, where the freshmen stand and what he expects moving forward. Take a look...
-There are lots of rumors swirling around about the status of DL Adam Bellamy. Our very own Zach Clark tweeted yesterday that he has sources telling him that Bellamy may not be part of the team for very much longer. Clark's sources appeared to be onto something as Bellamy was not part of the media day or in the the team picture. Tim May would later tweet that insiders are saying he hasn't been around practice for the last several days either. 

-It was confirmed that Jake Stoneburner is now playing exclusively at wide receiver. The former tight end will be used in role much closer to former Gator Aaron Hernandez, allowing for him to better use his skill set in Meyer's offense. That leaves Nick Vannett and Jeff Heuerman at tight end. 

-Freshman linebackers David Perkins and Jamal Marcus are drawing rave reviews, and both could see playing time early. Much in the same mold as Ryan Shazier last season, each will make mistakes but are very fast and love to hit people.

-Running back Carlos Hyde has had a very good fall thus far, and has made some big strides forward in being a complete back. Rod Smith and Bri'onte Dunn are battling right now for the back up position. That leaves Warren Ball at the back end of the depth chart. 

-Another freshman, Najee Murray, is no longer a candidate in the hybrid position to replace Jordan Hall. Apparently he is performing so well at corner they want to keep him there. 

-For tons of great pictures of all the players at media day, make sure to stop by this gallery by Winslow Photography

Spurrier Copying Meyer

Moving away from media day to the SEC and Steve Spurrier. At the end of Saturday's scrimmage Spurrier had the entire team circle around South Carolina's senior walk-on kicker Adam Yates. If he made it there was a scholarship on the line, and he just snuck the 42 yard kick inside the left upright. 

Afterwards, Spurrier admitted he stole this one from Urban Meyer

"I hate to admit this, but I got that from Urban Meyer at Ohio State last year in their indoor facility," Spurrier said. "He let all the students come down there and had the kicker go. That was as close as I could get. I'll have to admit, I learned that one from Urban. Shoot, we'll do that every year. I like that one."

Michigan Clears the Suspended 

The news hit yesterday that Hoke was clearing running back Fitz Toussaint to practice. The thousand yard rusher had missed seven practices after being indefinitely suspended for on July 21st for a druken-driving arrest. While Hoke claims Toussaint "will pay", no word has been given on his status for the Alabama game. In fact, they're preparing as if he will play

No one knows whether starting Michigan tailback Fitz Toussaint will play against Alabama -- not even coach Brady Hoke. But Toussaint will be prepared as though he will play in that game when he rejoins the Wolverines at Monday's practice.

"Brady just said to prepare him, and that’s what we’re doing," running backs coach Fred Jackson said Sunday during the team's media day. "I treat him like nothing happened. I’m preparing him, because the kid made a mistake, he’s paying for it and I think I got to treat him as if everything is just status quo so he’s ready to go."

Toussaint was indefinitely suspended following a drunken-driving arrest July 21, and held out of Michigan's first seven practices. He'll join camp Monday, although Hoke said he has yet to decide whether the junior will play in the season opener Sept. 1.

 


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