Last year, work was completed on some new digs at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. A new dining area — with chefs — was installed, a barber shop, some relaxation areas, and several other bells and whistles. And, of course, the weight room was still there. Everything under one roof with the hopes that players would spend as much time at the WHAC as possible.
With the WHAC shut down, players are now on their own in terms of everything. The football program is now shipping food to some players as head coach Ryan Day and his staff try to navigate a situation that none of them ever thought they’d have to deal with.
“Each week kind of unveils something new that might be coming down the road and so we’re just going to keep doing the best we can and we just tell staff that the number one thing is taking care of the health of them and their family,” Day said. “And then secondly, just communicating the best we can with our players and try to help them navigate through these times.”
The Ohio State weight room is now very quiet and very empty, but the work hasn’t stopped. It’s just shifted to the players’ homes. The problem with that, however, is that not every home has workout equipment in it.
“In terms of working out and everything, it’s very individual based,” Day said. “When you look at the different guys we have, we have guys who are in downtown New York City in Brooklyn. We have guys who are in Hawaii to California to Seattle. I mean all over the country, and so really what we’ve been doing is just kind of on an individual basis by the position coaches.
“They’ve been doing an excellent job of communicating with them and Coach Marotti has been able to send a few things out. A lot of times those guys are just really at their house, doing bodyweight things and trying to keep themselves in shape and stay healthy because we worked really hard to get ourselves in shape and ready for spring practice, and so we want to try to maintain that the best we can given the circumstances.”
So a lot of push-ups and sit-ups have been prescribed, but the staff is also taking inventory on what each player has access to and then tailoring the workout plans to what they have around them.
Ten reps of paint can curls. Twenty-five garage rafter pull-ups. Ten down-and-backs to the yellow house on your street.
Marotti and company have had to get creative.
“Yeah that’s absolutely right. Everybody’s a little bit different,” Day said. “There’s not a lot of people who have full gyms at their house, so that’s kind of out. But there are some people maybe that have access to some dumbbells or something like that in their basement. But then there’s other people who don’t.”
And while this situation is unprecedented in modern football, it’s not totally unprecedented in other realms.
Remember when Apollo 13 went haywire and NASA had to figure out how to build a device to remove the carbon dioxide in the capsule using only items readily found on the ship?
This has been kind of like that for Marotti.
“And so that’s where Mick and our strength and conditioning staff is doing an excellent job communicating with them, sending them some videos to help them with just how they’re gonna operate in their own home,” Day said. “And how they can keep their strength and their weight up. Even if it’s just running down the street, or whatever it is running wise. Trying to give them those things based on what they have, because everybody’s in a unique situation.”