EAST LIVERPOOL - The clock is ticking.
The Ohio football team held its last full day of practice Wednesday at the East Liverpool practice field in preparation for the 33rd Annual Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Springfield High School in New Middletown.
After a couple of cooler days, the heat and the high temperatures returned to the area Wednesday. The heat is scheduled to last throughout the end of the week."
Southern Local’s Zack Puckett runs the ball during practice Wednesday. (Photo by Aaron Petchal)
"A little bit," Ohio head coach Andrew Connor said. "It was really nice the last couple of days. The kids were able to practice in it today, and I am glad they got oriented to it before it takes place Friday."
The Ohio coaching staff made a few changes to Wednesday's practice.
"It was a good day," Connor said. "We went over a plethora of situations that you might run into during a football game. We ran the kicker onto the field for a field goal. We worked on situational defense. We worked on situational offense. We went over a lot of scenarios that may arise on Friday night."
The Buckeyes are mostly healthy heading into their game with the Keystoners.
"You would think with all of the time off you would run into a magnitude of injuries, but we have been lucky," Connor said. "We have one kid right now who has not been able to practice the last couple of days. Hopefully, he can get better in the next couple of days. We don't want him to miss out on the opportunity to play in the game.
"We have the normal bumps and bruises you would expect. We have taken charge of that with a little ice and a little therapy. We hope to have close to if not all 36 players available Friday night."
The annual all-star game is now less than 48 from kickoff.
"I think they are getting there. I think they are excited," Connor said. "Hopefully after four really physical football days dating back to last Thursday - we hit today but it wasn't full on- the kids are itching to get back after in on Friday night."
The players are not the only ones who are excited about the game. The coaches are also really looking forward to Friday night.
"We're very excited," Connor said. "The fun part is always Friday night. During the season, during this time of the week, you realize you have put your gameplan in offensively and defensively. During the football season, tomorrow is a quick review. You go over special teams, and you are anticipating Friday night. It is the same thing for football coaches. You are coaching your team, and you have the same feeling now that you normally have with a football week during the season."
Today is the final day before the showdown.
"Basically, we are going to do a walk-through," Connor said. "We are going to time things up offensively. We are going to go over all of our checks. We want to be ready for whatever Pennsylvania throws at us. We want to make sure are special teams and are backups are ready to go.
"I think the biggest flaw in an all-star game is not having the right personnel or too many people on the field. We are looking to nip that in the bud before Friday.
"we are going to go over some things. We are going to talk a little. We want to make sure everyone is focused in the next 24 hours so we can be successful in the game."
The Buckeyes are not expected to take part in a full practice.
"We will probably not go the whole tow hours," Connor said. "We are going to cut back a little bit. We are going to make a bigger deal of things with it being the end of camp. There is a steak fry which has become customary on Thursday.
"We won't be doing as much as we have been. It will be more of a mental day. We want to make sure we are crisp and we are sound.
"A thing we always talk about at Indian Creek is we want to make sure we limit our unforced errors on Friday night. Those are the little things that can come back and get you."