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Buckeyes Jermale Hines Gives Ohio St. a Coach on the Field

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thesportsbank

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jermale hines

Chicago may be nicknamed "the windy city," but there's another place in Illinois, about three hours south, reknown for powerful wind. (The "Windy City" moniker actually has nothing to do with wind. It actually originated with New York City politicians condescending to Chicago city officials who talked a big game about the 1893 World's Fair).

Zuppke Field, at University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium, is a place where gale force winds can affect the outcome of a game as much as player performances and coaching decisions. You might recall 2002 Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions, when Lions Coach Marty Mohrniweg made the ill-fated, bone-headed decision to give up the ball in overtime, in order to have that infamous wind at his back.

Ohio State senior free safety Jermale Hines noticed. "It was big because the offense is so limited. When facing the wind, they tend not to throw the ball too deep, a lot of short passes and things like that. And with the wind, they tend to try to go deep," the 6-1, 216 pound DB from Cleveland said.

Head Coach Jim Tressel is well aware too.

"I don't think any place can compare to here. I've coached here in early September, in October and November- the only difference is the wind is colder each month as it goes later. And that wind is strong every single one of those months," he said.

And wind, or rain, snow etc. are all factors a coach must game-plan around. As are injuries. And Ohio State suffered a key injury Saturday when starting DB Tyler Moeller went down. Freshman Christian Bryant stepped right in, and his transition was eased by the aid of Hines. The senior leader instructed Bryant on the fly, showing/telling him where he needed to be.

"He's (Hines) an active player, plus he was coaching Christian Bryant out there the whole time. It gave him every confidence that Christian needed," Tressel said of Hines.

I asked Hines about his showing Bryant the ropes. "He's a young guy, this is really his first action so I just wanted to slow the game down for him. Help him out on the calls and the checks," he responded.

And this is why NFL scouts are so high on Hines as a professional safety prospect. His football IQ and leadership is a perfect complement to his ideal size, great speed and versatile athleticism.

He always plays well against Illinois, earning the team's Attack Force award for the '09 game and recording his first interception of the season Saturday.

"Just basically playing football out there. I saw the quarterback, he stared him down the whole time and I just jumped in front of it," Hines said of the pick.

He also had to fight through the strong wind to corral that ball.

Paul M. Banks is President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune's blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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