Youngstown State-Ohio State matchup pits brothers vs. brothers Print
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Thursday, 30 August 2007 11:39
NCAAF Headline News

 COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -When Shaun Lane took a breather from Ohio State's voluntary workouts this summer, he'd drive the 150 miles back to his hometown of Hubbard near the silent steel plants of the Mahoning Valley.
It was a pleasant respite from workouts in 90-degree temperatures. At least it was until his brother Ben would show up. Then the good-natured trash talk would begin.
Shaun is a cornerback for No. 11 Ohio State. Ben is a fullback for Youngstown State, which visits the Buckeyes on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.
``When I go home and chill out at my grandmother's house or my house, my brother brings a couple of his friends over and I just told him, 'You just be ready to walk into the 'Shoe. That's going to be your biggest challenge, walking in there and seeing all those people,''' Shaun said, laughing out loud.
The Lanes - sons of former Ohio State standout Garcia Lane - aren't the only brother act to be on opposing sides in the game.
Youngstown State head coach Jon Heacock is the younger sibling of Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Heacock.
The two have already talked on the phone this week - but not about what they'll be doing starting at noon on Saturday.
``We're not crazy,'' Jim said, chuckling. ``It's, 'Jon, how's it going? How are the kids doing?' Then he'll ask how my kids are doing. We're family. He's my brother. We just talk. I don't say, like, 'What are you guys doing up there? How's practice going? Who's hurt? Is that guy going to play?'''
Much of the Heacock clan will be at the game. Sister Penny is coming up from Florida, although her two sons, both high school coaches in the Orlando area, will be busy and can't make the trip. Brother Jeff, the coach at Muskingum College the past 26 years, retired after last season and will be spending his first fall Saturday without a game since he was a little kid.
Jim supplied the tickets. Might that mean Jeff will be rooting for the Buckeyes?
``I don't know, he'd better not,'' Jon said. ``As long as he's rooting for somebody in red, we'll be OK.''
The ties between the two teams run even deeper.
Before becoming head coach at Youngstown State in 2001, Jon Heacock was an assistant for seven years to Jim Tressel. When Tressel jumped to Ohio State to take over, Tressel recommended Heacock as his successor.
Tressel, his wife Ellen, and her parents even donated $1 million to Youngstown State this summer to fund an indoor sports practice facility. Tressel was the head coach at YSU for 15 years, winning four I-AA championships, before taking over at Ohio State in 2001.
How many other major-college coaches write a seven-figure check to support another school's athletic programs?
``Oh, shoot, it means a lot to him,'' said Jim, in his 12th year as an Ohio State assistant. ``He put in a lot of years there, he put in a lot of time and effort, to the community and the school. I think it means a ton to him. It's going to be hard for him. But game day, this is our team, you compete. I hope we play like crazy.''
The Buckeyes will be prohibitive favorites in the first meeting between the schools.
Shaun Lane said he and his brother have not made any friendly wagers.
``No. I'm pretty sure he knows how it's going to go,'' he said, nodding his head. ``But I'll take him out after the game, win or lose.''
 

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