Spencer, OSU set to face Badgers on national stage
Evan Spencer isn’t like most major college football players.
The Ohio State wide receiver not only gets coached up in the meeting room and on the practice field.
The son of St. Clairsville High graduate and former OSU and Chicago Bears’ assistant coach Tim Spencer, Evan hardly finds a spare moment, other than when he’s in class, where he’s not learning football.
“He’s always got a few things after games that he likes to touch on,” Evan smiled.
Tim, who was arguably the best running back to ever come out of the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference, coached the running backs for John Cooper and Jim Tressel before accepting a job in the same position with the Chicago Bears under Lovie Smith.
Even though Spencer wasn’t a wide receiver, he’s still able to critique his son.
“He watches the backs, too, but he definitely watches me,” Evan said.
Tim wasn’t retained as a Bears’ assistant when Smith was fired and Marc Trestman was hired. Tim interviewed a few places, including with the University of Tennessee and the Dallas Cowboys during the off-season, but didn’t land either position.
While it’s unfortunate he’s not coaching, it’s allowed Tim opportunities to get to all of Evan and the Buckeyes’ games thus far.
“It’s been cool to have him there,” Evan said. “It’s actually awesome having him there watching. It kind of feels like it’s back in high school.”
Buckeyes’ head coach Urban Meyer has been highly complimentary of the work Spencer has done throughout camp and thus far this season.
Spencer has caught just 8 passes for 78 yards and 2 touchdowns, but his down-field blocking and route running has been complemented often.
Before camp opened in August, Evan and his dad really looked into what he needed to work on to become a better wide receiver this season.
“My dad and I had conversations on what I needed to improve on,” Evan said earlier this week when he was made available to the media. “I singled one thing out each practice and really worked hard on that to get better. I not only had a good camp, but the receivers, collectively, all had a good camp.”
When you think about the OSU receivers, it’s a group that Meyer called non-functional when he first arrived and worked to implement his spread offense.
Now, as the 4-0 Buckeyes prepare to host Wisconsin under the Ohio Stadium lights Saturday night, the OSU passing game is stable, regardless of who’s been at quarterback.
For more on the Buckeyes and their game with Wisconsin, check out Buckeye Blitz, which is contained inside today’s edition.
HETZEL SHINES IN WORLD DUATHLON
Wheeling Central graduate Kristen Hetzel continued her climb up the world-wide ladder of multi-sport athletes last month when she finished ninth in her age group at the Duathlon World Championships in Ottawa, Canada.
Hetzel was pre-selected to the United States squad based on her rankings in the sport that consists of a 10K run, 40K bike ride and 5K run.
“I was so happy with how the race went, my result and the entire experience with the other United States athletes, the other countries and with having my family there to share such a special experience with me,” Hetzel said. “
Hetzel, 33, has moved to San Diego to focus on her training.
“As a result of my switch from professional cycling to duathlon and/or triathlon, I moved because Southern California is a mecca for professional multi-sport athletes. There are so many training groups and races, as well as having the ocean to swim in for training.”
This was Hetzel’s second straight World Championship event, which greatly helped her on preparations, logistics and planning.
“I knew what to expect and how to plan better,” Hetzel said. “Since the race was in Canada, my family was able to drive up from Wheeling to be there and support me, which was wonderful.”
Hetzel has been preparing for for her final event of the season, which will be held in Tucson on Oct. 26. The Duathlon National Championship will serve as the qualifying event for the 2014 Duathlon World Championships, which are slated for Spain.
“I can’t emphasize enough how wonderful it is to be able to represent my country, my home state of West Virginia, my family and my sponsors at a world championship event,” Hetzel said. “I am proud American.”
BAYNES ON THE ROAD BACK
Wheeling Park graduate and Southern California high jumper Errin Baynes underwent another surgery to correct a lingering hip problem Friday in L.A. According to Baynes, this is the surgery he should have had several months ago.
Baynes told me he will definitely miss the indoor season and could possibly miss the outdoor season in the spring of 2014 as well.
“I am basically starting over completely because I don’t have a foundation, so we’re just going to have to see how strong my body is when outdoor comes around,” Baynes said.
The former West Virginia state champion did receive a vote of confidence from the Trojans’ staff that it’s “sticking with” Baynes.
“They all support me and believe that I will go on to do great things in track and field, but I have to get healthy. They’re not in a rush to get me back because they want me to get healthy.”