Connect with us

Scarlet Sunrise: Ohio State celebrates Christmas with practice session

Ryan Day-Ohio State-Ohio State football-Buckeyes
Ohio State coach Ryan Day addressed the team during its Christmas Day practice. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Scarlet Sunrise

Scarlet Sunrise: Ohio State celebrates Christmas with practice session

Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise. Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Ohio State enjoys Christmas practice, Fiesta Bowl prep

The Buckeyes were back to work Wednesday for a Christmas edition of Fiesta Bowl practice. As they took the field, the offensive line joked around with coach Ryan Day, and the Buckeyes seemed loose and relaxed as they enter the final stages of game prep.

Justin Fields continues to wear his bulky knee brace, but he maintains that he will wear the soft brace in the game against Clemson, a sign that he will be near 100 percent for the semifinal.

Lettermen Row was on site for the viewing period of Ohio State’s Christmas Day practice. Austin Ward, Jeremy Birmingham and Spencer Holbrook have the breakdown with the Playoff Drive presented by Byers Auto. Check it out.

Could special teams change Fiesta Bowl?

The breakdowns of the Ohio State offense and defense — and how they matchup against Clemson — have been exhausted.

But the unit that hasn’t been discussed much in preparation for the Fiesta Bowl is special teams, and the kicking units in particular. Drue Chrisman and Blake Haubeil have been inconsistent at times this year, but the way senior writer Austin Ward sees it, the Buckeyes will need both of them if they want to win the Fiesta Bowl.

So, there might be more intrigue with Haubeil, particularly since he still only attempted 12 field goals this season and his leg has the potential to directly impact the scoreboard. The Ohio State kicker has two misses from inside 40 yards this year. But he has converted his last seven attempts and set off a wild celebration when he drilled a 55-yard bomb just before halftime at Northwestern that seemed to be designed solely to put him in a tough spot to see how he would respond. Hitting that kick might have been just the confidence-booster he needed, and he followed that up with a 49-yarder in sloppy conditions to help fuel the blowout win over Wisconsin in October.

Those guys can both be weapons for Ohio State. And while they don’t instantly come to mind as potential difference-makers in the College Football Playoff, odds are the Buckeyes are going to need both Drue Chrisman and Blake Haubeil at their best in the most competitive matchup of the year.

Buckeyes still trying to earn ‘DBU’ status

Jeff Okudah is aware of what has been said around the country about who the real ‘DBU’ is.

He thinks the Buckeyes have something to say about that, even if the argument typically revolves around LSU and Florida. With a big game against the talented passing attack of Clemson, Okudah, Shaun Wade, Jordan Fuller and Damon Arnette might be able to officially elevate Ohio State to the undisputed ‘DBU.’

“It’s something that we can just put in the bank, write it down in our, things that we accomplished in [Best In America],” Okudah said. “And just kind of strengthening the legacy of BIA and things that guys before us have done, and guys after us will do.”

That all goes away if the Buckeyes struggle against Clemson’s wide receivers. But that is unlikely to happen, especially with the ‘DBU’ title on the line.

Lettermen Row app now available

Want an easier way to get free premium content from Lettermen Row?

The Lettermen Row app is here! Get all of the Ohio State news, analysis, videos and everything else you’ve come to expect from us in one free, convenient spot. It’s now available in both the App Store and Google Play — check it out!

The Lettermen Row app can be found for free here:

If you enjoy the Scarlet Sunrise posts, please consider having our newsletter delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. Click here to sign up!

Spencer Holbrook

Spencer Holbrook covers Ohio State football and basketball for Lettermen Row. A graduate of Ohio University's Scripps School of Journalism, he's in his second year covering the Buckeyes. He was previously the sports editor at Ohio's student newspaper, The Post, where he covered Ohio University football and men's basketball.