While you were sitting in your living room on Christmas morning, trying to look surprised as you opened up this year’s versions of socks and neckties, the Ohio State football team was a long way from home.
The Cotton Bowl kicks off on December 29, so the Buckeyes arrived in Dallas on December 23. That means they celebrated Christmas in a different way.
“I don’t like to have them away from their families at Christmas,” said OSU head coach Urban Meyer. “It will be the first time I can remember in a long, long time that we’ve done this. So we’re going to try to do the best we can. And we have incredible guys.”
Ohio State put little Christmas trees in the hotel rooms of all of the players and coaches. Strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti got a weight room for Christmas. The team sent a second truck down from Ohio to carry all of the equipment needed to allow the full team to work out. The program also ensured that children who made the trip knew that Santa had been notified that he would have to make a detour to Texas.
“We’re going to do some cool things for our players,” said Meyer. “One of the great things we’re going to do on Christmas is practice and have a really good practice that day.”
Christmas Day was the third practice for Ohio State since landing in Dallas. They held a light workout at Trinity High School on the 23rd, then full practices on the 24th and 25th.
That travel schedule meant many Buckeyes celebrated Christmas with their families a few days earlier than normal.
“For us to be able to go home a couple days ago to be able to spend time with family because that’s all Christmastime is about,” said senior DT Tracey Sprinkle. “We had a couple days to be able to do that. I know, my family, we had it a little early so I wouldn’t miss the whole Christmas.”
“We are going to practice on Christmas day. We’re going to do whatever it takes. We’re just trying to go out there and get that win. We can celebrate that later,” said Sprinkle.
When they do celebrate, Meyer knows what he wants for Christmas: a win.
“We’ll find out on the 29th of December what I asked for,” Meyer said. “I hope we get it.”