The NCAA eliminated two-a-day practices for college football teams this summer. That doesn’t mean the Ohio State Buckeyes, who start practice at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, won’t suffer in the heat as usual.
“You can’t ever take away those dog days,” said Ohio State linebacker Chris Worley on Monday at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. “Camp is camp. You can’t overlook or underestimate it. We have to attack camp. After that, we’ll focus on the games.”
The NCAA announced the end of two-a-day practices in April. Teams will still practice the same amount of time. The practices will be more spread out in July and August. The NCAA allowed teams to start a week earlier than normal.
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The Buckeyes will hold 19 practices in preseason camp. After getting things started Thursday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, they will go again Friday and then Monday and Tuesday. Their first day in pads is Aug. 3. Preseason camp will also include practices Aug. 4-5, 7-12 and 14-19.
Teams can practice as many as 29 times before their season opener. Ohio State will hold more practices between Aug. 20 and Aug. 30. They open the season Aug. 31 against Indiana in Bloomington.
The NCAA’s decision regarding two-a-days pleased most Big Ten coaches.
“It just makes all the sense in the world,” Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh said Tuesday. “There’s really nobody having three-a-days anymore or two-a-days anymore. Residents in hospitals don’t do sleep deprivation anymore. Pilots have to sleep 10 hours, I think, before each flight. It’s just everybody is doing it that way. Even the military doesn’t have sleep deprivation and three-a-days, etc. So I’m all for it.”
Athletes will also get one mandatory day off each week during the preseason.
“I think everybody deserves that,” Harbaugh said. “Especially people that are playing a sport like football or training in high intensity type of sport. I think the body does need a day of rest and recovery.”
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Northwestern didn’t have many two-a-day practices in recent years, coach Pat Fitzgerald said, meaning he won’t have to adjust much this summer. The early start did require him to make some changes.
“We’ve got a unique academic calendar,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re on the quarter system at Northwestern. I sat down with our leadership council and said, ‘Guys, I can bring you in right away after summer school or we can take our traditional week to recharge and re-energize and show up for camp on August 5th. Maybe come in a day early or two days early.’ That’s what we decided to do.
“So we’ll be one of the last teams probably to start training camp, but it’s the right thing to do. We have a great plan as far as practices. We’re tweaking some things down the road as far as how we’re going to go about that plan to make up those practices. But I thought it was really important to let our guys recharge and re-energize before we get going in camp.”