A Plea to Buckeye Nation
By Ben Zelinski
(Editor’s Note: Ben Zelinski is an Ohio State fan and does not represent the thoughts or opinions of the staff here at The-Ozone.net. He does, however, represent you, the reader. And as a part of Buckeye Nation, Ben has a plea for everyone who will make his or her way into Ohio Stadium today, and in the weeks to come).
Like every good Ohio State fan, I spent the last week of August doing little more than anticipating the kickoff of our new and improved Buckeyes. Social plans and business responsibilities fell by the wayside, as I devoured anything and everything Ohio State.
It was during my ninth viewing of last year’s upset of Wisconsin that I noticed something was missing…
Here we were, about to upset a Wisconsin team that should have run all over us, paying them back for the previous year (and many others). And yet, during their lead-taking drives, the crowd was almost silent. Don’t believe me? Go back and watch it for yourself.
I know we’ve collected some bruises and a little trepidation over the years. The stunned silence that followed USC’s game-winning drive only stung harder because of the jubilant thunder they overcame on 3rd-and-forever. We had done everything we as fans could possibly do, and it wasn’t enough.
And The Horseshoe hasn’t been that loud since.
I was in the South Stands for the Central Florida game, and only three sections away the students were rocking the bleachers. But they were the only ones.
Sure, the whole stadium passed O-H-I-O around a few times, and every touchdown and interception got a huge cheer. But when Central Florida was in our red zone, trying the make the game more interesting than it ever should have been, the crowd sat uneasily silent, merely hoping that our defense would hold instead of raining thunder down on the Central Florida offense.
I almost felt like I was disturbing Section 31B with my pleas of “Let’s Go D!!!”
All we fans can do is cheer and make noise. So we damn well better do that.
Coach Meyer has said, “You want to get a stadium going? Go hit a quarterback. Put your hand on a punt.” He puts the inspiration of the crowd in his players’ hands, and rightly so.
But it’s a two-way street. You want a blocked punt? Be so loud that the offensive line hears the wrong assignment. Need a sack? Juice that d-line up. Sure the players inspire the crowd, but really, the crowd’s ONLY job is to inspire the players.
Doubt the crowd’s impact? Chew on this: the Dallas Cowboys are only 3-point favorites over the Seattle Seahawks heading into this weekend’s slate of NFL games. Last week they took apart the defending Super Bowl champs, and the next week Vegas assumes they will barely beat the Seahawks? The freakin’ SEAHAWKS!
Why? Because CenturyLink Field is notorious for being one of the hardest places to visit in the League. Vegas even lists their “12th man” as one of the primary factors in their minuscule line this week.
Opposing teams should HATE playing at Ohio Stadium. Visiting coaches should have to waste precious practice time prepping their kids for the noise we make. The closer their team is to scoring and the more uneasy we feel, the louder we should be.
Of course when we’re on offense we should quiet down to make the signal calling easy. And I’m not saying we should be rude or disrespectful; making the Great State of Ohio proud is as much our job as it is the team’s.
Coach Meyer wants “4-6 seconds of relentless effort” out of his players, and I know we all want the same. The least we can do in return is give them 60 minutes of relentless noise.
In fact, that’s ALL we can do.