For the third year in a row, the losing team of Ohio State's spring game was forced to landscape the nearby Buckeye Grove, which houses a tree for every Buckeye who has ever earned All-America honors. Although new trees were not planted today, the size will soon increase by two in honor of the All-America nods received by left tackle Jack Mewhort and linebacker Ryan Shazier.
Not even coaches were immune from landscaping duty on a beautiful spring day.
Scarlet team players finishing up work in the Buckeye Grove pic.twitter.com/QH7wXgUnZ5— Ryan Ginn (@RyanGinnBSB) April 18, 2014
"I suffer from seasonal allergies, so I was really motivated during the course of that game not to have to do this, but the fact that it didn't turn out that way, I just have to suck it up like all the rest of us and pay our dues," Scarlet head coach Stan Drayton said.
The Scarlet team scored first when Rashad Frazier pounced on a fumble in the end zone less than three minutes into the first quarter but never found its way back into the end zone.
Ohio State tight ends coach Tim Hinton, who was on the Scarlet staff, said that the thought of manual labor first crossed his mind when freshman running back Curtis Samuel was stuffed at the goal line on three consecutive carries in the third quarter. A score there would have given them a 14-10 advantage over the Gray squad.
"I gotta be honest, I really thought about it during the game. It really entered my mind, especially after we had that (stop) on the 1-yard line that kept us from going ahead," he said. "At that time I'm thinking, ‘If I have to go mulch, I'm not going to be a happy camper.' No doubt about it, I thought about it."
Tim Hinton overseeing the Buckeye Grove work pic.twitter.com/tohBuO9jR4— Ryan Ginn (@RyanGinnBSB) April 18, 2014
Drayton jokingly called out one of his offensive staff members when he was asked if he second-guessed any of the play calls in the wake of the defeat.
"Tom Herman was our playcaller during the course of the game, and I probably second-guessed probably 50 percent of what he called," Drayton deadpanned. "He was under the umbrella of the one and only Urban Meyer, so I couldn't question him like I wanted to."
At the end of the day, the coaches hope the players take away more than just a couple hours of hard work. In addition to saying he was taking a positive mindset about being grateful for the exercise, Hinton pointed out that spending time in Buckeye Grove helped the players put their accomplishments in perspective.
"If you can't walk through here and see all the things that are going on and see those names that are here… I mean, wow!" he said. "It just tells you we're a very small part of a long history and tradition at Ohio State and very fortunate to be part of such an outstanding institution and football program. They better appreciate where they are and who they get to do it with, that's for sure."
The coaches also hope that the players took the time to stare at the plaques that stand in front of the tree of each All-American, including legends like Chic Harley, Archie Griffin and Orlando Pace.
Chic Harley's plaque in the Buckeye Grove pic.twitter.com/AGObOgnpwA— Ryan Ginn (@RyanGinnBSB) April 18, 2014
"I hope so," Drayton said. "This is what they're playing for every Saturday and this is what they work for every day, to hopefully be an All-American one day and to hold that in high regard. I hope they're taking some time to engage in what's really going on big picture and see some of those plaques."
True freshman QB Stephen Collier working in the Buckeye Grove. pic.twitter.com/TUbRwRxHba— Ryan Ginn (@RyanGinnBSB) April 18, 2014
The finished product (background) vs the unfinished parts (foreground) pic.twitter.com/n4Bd6hsNaU— Ryan Ginn (@RyanGinnBSB) April 18, 2014
The Buckeye Grove entrance pic.twitter.com/uMqZKYKUmT— Ryan Ginn (@RyanGinnBSB) April 18, 2014