EAST LIVERPOOL - The level of anticipation is growing bigger.
The Ohio football team opened its second week of practice Monday at the East Liverpool practice field in anticipation of the 33rd-annual Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic Football Game at 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Springfield High School in New Middletown.
"The kids practiced very, very well today," Ohio and Indian Creek head coach Andrew Connor said. "It was a nice cool night. We got some extra conditioning in.
"It was a good practice mentally. I thought it was a lot crisper than it had been last week. The good had a good strong presence at practice. The kids scrimmaged well.
"At the end, we played a little game. We put the ball on the 10, and we saw if the offense could score or if the defense could stop them. It was a good way to end practice. We ended practice on a high note."
The Buckeyes had two days off since they last practiced Friday evening. Connor said the time off did not bother the players.
"I thought the same thing. I was a little worried about it because it kind of broke up their routine, but the kids practiced really well today," Connor said. "Some of the kids who were dinged up at practice on Friday were able to practice toady. I thought we had a really good practice."
After being together for a week, the players have gotten to know each other well, and the players have developed a good team chemistry. With Week 2 under way, the players are really starting to look forward to the game Friday night.
"I think so," Connor said. "Again, I think that is the nice thing about. First of all, the offense and the defense are bonding as a unit, and No. 2, overall the team chemistry has gotten very good. You can see now that the kids are joking around more, and the buying into representing Ohio on Friday night."
With the second week of practice under way, the players are getting more and more comfortable in their roles on the team.
"We have few kids that are tweeners," Connor said. "They are going to play a little offense and a little defense, but for the most part the kids have worked out where they are going to be on the field.
"They are pretty excited. They know what their responsibilities are. They know if they are a guy who is going to start, or if they are a guy who is going to be rotating in or if they are going to be playing special teams.
"I think they all know that my staff has done a good job of getting them all ready to play. They will all play Friday. We want them to feel like they are a part of this on Friday."
The Buckeyes have just a few days of practice left before the game.
"We have two hard days of practice left," Connor said. "We are going to be in full pads Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday is going to be more of a walk-through for Friday's game."