OSU student practice draws 2,500
APR 05, 2014 6:17p ET
The Ohio State football team added some spice to spring practice by opening the doors to students for practice on Saturday -- and an estimated 2,500 showed up.
"This doesn't happen anywhere else and I want you to let (the students) know how much you appreciate them," Urban Meyer told his team before practice.
The student practice has become a spring tradition under Meyer, though this is the first year it's included an intramural flag football game and the finals of the fastest student competition, established last month to give non-football players at Ohio State a chance to run with Buckeyes football players.
The winner of the fastest student competition will race the fastest Buckeye, sophomore WR/RB/KR, Dontre Wilson after next week's spring game.
Meyer picked students out of the crowd to try field goals with the first-team field goal unit. One of the kickers was a special guest, Meyer's daughter Nicki. The players signed autographs and mingled with the assembled students after practice.
In addition to the special festivities, an Ohio State release about the day's events said tight end Marcus Baugh caught a pair of long touchdown passes from J.T. Barrett during the scrimmage portion of the practice and that redshirt cornerback Eli Apple played well enough to have the black stripe removed from his helmet after practice. The removal of a black stripe is Meyer's symbolic way of welcoming freshmen to being "true" Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes now enter the home stretch of spring practice with three practices next week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday plus the annual spring game next Saturday. All practices are closed to the public and media, though Friday's practice can be viewed by those attending the annual Ohio State coaches clinic which features Meyer and, for the first time, Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine.