Ohio State Notebook

By Adam Caparell - April 21, 2007


COLUMBUS, Ohio - Mike Conley was more than just a basketball player Saturday. He was moonlighting as a football coach.

Conley was just one honorary coach from the basketball team who were given the unique opportunity to legitimately coach both the Scarlet and the Gray squads. He even opened up the post game press conference answering question and one of the first ones asked of the guard was his thoughts on the three quarterbacks - Todd Boeckman, Rob Schoenhoft and Antonio Henton performed.

"All of them looked good," Conley said. "I can't pick just one. They have a hard choice."

"It was a lot of fun interacting with the basketball games," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said.

Tressel invited the likes of Conley, Daequan Cook and others on the basketball team to be the honorary coaches of the spring game in hopes of convincing them to stay in school. Tressel had also reached out to Greg Oden, but the center, who declared for the NBA Draft Friday, wasn't available to participate since he was at a wedding.

The gesture by Tressel didn't work with Oden; he's signed with an agent. But since Conley and Cook have declared yet have not signed with an agent their experience Saturday could very well be factored into their decision to potentially come back for their sophomore seasons.

Tressel was texting basketball coach Thad Matta - who was in Houston - throughout the day and Matta was excited that his players were having so much fun.

But there was more than a little trepidation from the Buckeyes about the idea of having basketball players running the show.

"As soon as I found out they were calling the plays I was like, 'Do you even know the plays?'" RB Maurice Wells said. "They did a good job and asked us what plays we like. We just stuck with those."

Packing Them In: On a beautiful spring day, Ohio Stadium was packed with an announced crowd of 75,301, enormous considering admission was charged for the event.

"That speaks to what our fans are all about," Tressel said.

A Little Recognition: At halftime, Ohio State recognized the football, men's and women's basketball teams' Big Ten championships other sports achievements. Individual honorees were also recognized including Troy Smith and Greg Oden.

Goodbye Grass: Saturday marked the last days of grass at Ohio Stadium. Crews will rip up the natural surface after the game and replaced it with a synthetic field, something that's becoming more and more common across the country.

But the grass will live on. Ohio State was nice enough to donate it to the city of Columbus who will use the gift to cover three athletic fields.

Honoring VaTech: Like many teams around the nation Saturday, Ohio State sported a Virginia Tech sticker on their helmets in show of respect and honor for the victims and families of the tragedy in Blacksburg earlier in the week. A moment of silence was also observed before the game.

Tressel made sure to ask permission from Virginia Tech to use the logos and Tech coach Frank Beamer - who Tressel goes way back - was only too happy to oblige.

"I thought it was pretty special knowing what Virginia Tech went through," Conley said. "It kind of shocked us all so as soon of the football team did what they did it was pretty special and a great way to honor them."

"We wore them to show how life is precious every day," Wells said. "Coach Tressel told us this, that every day is precious and to take each day as if it were your last."

Posted by Adam Caparell at 01:01 PM on April 21, 2007
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