COLUMBUS — In a time of great uncertainty about what the 2020 season will look like at Ohio State and everywhere else in college football, one thing is certain.
Players want to play. At least two of the best players at Ohio State do.
Center Josh Myers and right guard Wyatt Davis both said they’re willing to take the risk of playing under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic during a teleconference on Thursday.
Some of the possibilities that have been suggested are that games could be played without fans in the stadiums, and that players could be quarantined and monitored very carefully for coronavirus symptoms or even asked to sign waivers.
Myers said he would be willing to do any of those things, though he admitted that passing the virus on to a family member would be his greatest fear.
“Absolutely, I would do anything to play this season. I don’t know what I would do without football, to be honest,” he said.
“With that comes sacrifices and personally I am willing to make those sacrifices. I would do whatever I need to do. I would sign any waiver or anything that would say that I’m willing to play. I would quarantine myself or do whatever it takes.
“I’m still hoping and praying it will happen. The thought of not playing this season is terrifying and the absolute worst case scenario,” he said.
Davis said, “I definitely would do anything to have this season. Would it suck not having fans there? Yes. But would that affect me not playing the season? No. I just love the game of football and I miss being in that type of competitive atmosphere. Fans or no fans, I would want to play.”
Ohio State’s spring practice ended in March after the third practice. Athletes are still not able to use university facilities and most of them have returned to their homes.
They communicate with their coaches and athletic strength and conditioning coaches by Zoom and Facetime and other online tools. But each player is on his own to find a place to work out and, hopefully, return to Ohio State ready for some kind of preseason practice if there is a season.
“The last couple months have been hard. Zoom meetings and staying in touch with the the guys as much as possible has kind of kept me sane,” Myers said.
“In terms of working out, I think everybody is just doing the best they can. I have a pretty good amount of weights where I can pretty much do everything I need to do in the weight room. It’s not as good as Ohio State’s weight room, obviously, but I’m still able to get a good bit done.”
Davis said, “Fortunately I could find a place where they’ve got a lot of weights. It’s not the same as working out at Ohio State. It’s been tough here in California finding open fields and not getting kicked off of them.
“At the end of the day, no one is really going to know what you’re doing except you. We have a lot of guys on our team that have been accountable and have gone above and beyond at working out right now. You don’t truly know what everyone is doing but I get the sense that people are really working and people want to be great,” he said.
The head coach of Ohio State’s strength and conditioning program is Mickey Marotti, who took over that position in Urban Meyer’s first season as OSU’s head coach in 2012.
He called coordinating workouts with players scattered across the country “the most challenging thing in my career, no doubt” during a teleconference on Wednesday.
“It’s kind of like you’re in charge of people but you can’t actually be in charge of people. We might (usually) have a message to 30 players training at one time and that’s easy. You send them a message, they know what’s going on for the next day and move on.
“Now, it’s 30 different and separate messages and 30 different and separate phone calls and 30 different and separate texts and emails. It is by far the most difficult endeavor of my coaching career,” he said.