The Stress And Strain Of Being A College Athlete

What's brewing with
the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes …

BUCKEYES BUZZ: It seems like a simple life to those
who don't live it. Being a college athlete means going to class, playing a
sport, having a great health plan, eating free food and living in free housing.
What's so hard about that?

But it's a difficult
job, melding a private life, family and friends with being in the spotlight.
Sometimes, it's taxing mentally.

LB Ryan Shazier said
that he has struggled handling the pressure of being the only starter back
among the front seven players on defense.

“I got pretty
stressed because it wasn't just about leading, it was about me trying to be
something right now when I'm just another person on the team,” he said.
“Right now, I'm focusing on the team and helping these guys get better and
help the linebacker group get a lot better.”

His coaches noticed.

“I have seen
that. I have seen a guy that was pressing,” coach Urban Meyer said.
“He'd ask me, 'Should I talk to the team? Should I say something?' He's
such a great kid from a great family, and he feels the void of what was there
last year.”

His position coach
also was aware of the pressures Shazier felt.

“Well, he's very
important. There are not a whole lot of names out there,” he said of the
defense, which has only three returning starters for Saturday's game against
Buffalo (noon, ESPN2). “Sometimes that's the problem. You put so much
pressure on yourself.”

After talking things
over with the coaches and teammates, Shazier has come around.

“The last week
he's been Ryan Shazier again,” Meyer said. “It's not worrying, just
play, and leading by example. He was certainly pressing about that and we had a
couple of conversations about it.”

It comes down to
letting go, letting your body react and not thinking about who's out there with
you – or who isn't.

“I feel like
I've been calming down and relieving myself from all the stress,” Shazier
said. “I feel like I've been playing a lot better these last few weeks of
camp. I've been talking to the coaches a lot. Them telling me what I need to do
to relieve some of the stress helps me out a lot.”

BE COOL: Temperatures
around 90 degrees and high humidity are expected for Saturday's game at Ohio Stadium.

Two years ago, a
September heat wave caused dozens to keel over at a Buckeyes home game. In an effort to avoid a repeat,
Ohio State is taking some
precautions.

Medical personnel
advise fans to wear a hat, stay out of direct sunlight whenever possible, drink
plenty of cold water, to find a seat if you feel weak or light-headed and seek
out help if your symptoms worsen. There are medical stations at Sections 13, 16,
23 and 26.

Ohio State
officials were criticized after the problems two years ago because the only
water available was for $4 per bottle. To alleviate that problem again, fans
can go to “water monsters” at 11 locations throughout the stadium for
free cups of water.

NEW TITLE: Ohio State RBs coach Stan
Drayton now has an added job title: assistant head coach for offense.

Drayton's name came
up with at least one other head coaching job during the offseason, and the new
label was added.

“He had a chance
to leave us,” coach Urban Meyer said. “I never was big into titles,
but it seems to be a big thing. He's earned it. He talks to the team a lot. I
think that helps him down the road to become a head coach.”

NOT SO QUOTABLE:
Meyer was asked earlier this week if he was a different person from his first
season at Ohio State.

Here's what the
official transcript says:

“I don't think,
pretty much the same guy we've done all right. I don't know. I don't know I
just can't wait to play football. All due respect, answer questions about
football.”

BIG MAN, BIG DAY:
Orlando Pace, voted into the College Football Hall of Fame, will be honored
during Ohio State's Oct. 26 game
against Penn State.

The big offensive
lineman, who will be officially inducted on Dec. 10 in New York City, will be
presented with a Hall of Fame plaque which will be put on permanent display at
the university.

Pace played tackle
for the Buckeyes
from 1994-96, winning the Lombardi Trophy in 1995 and '96 and the Outland Award
in '96. He was drafted in the first round by the St. Louis Rams in 1997 and had
a stellar NFL career.

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