YOUNGSTOWN - This week at Cardinal Mooney's Camp of Champions, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini and Ohio State co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Ed Warinner joined to help kids develop football skills.
On Oct. 6, they won't be so agreeable.
That's when Pelini will guide his Cornhuskers into Columbus to face Warinner's Buckeyes, who will be led by first-year coach Urban Meyer.
Tribune Chronicle / Vince Taddei
OSU co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner talks to campers at Mooney.
"It's great to have coach Warinner here to give his knowledge to these young players - that's why this camp was developed," said Pelini, one of the camp's founders. "Ohio State is going to be a great challenge for us this year, and we look forward to it. They have a lot of change there this year, but every year there's a different challenge, and you have to be prepared to play."
Warinner gave a speech to the young players about character, which was also a hot topic in Columbus this year after the scandal that resulted in sanctions and the departure of Jim Tressel.
"Character is important to players of all ages - coaches and teammates need to know there's honest players on their team that they can trust," Warinner said. "Bo Pelini runs that type of program, so it's one of the reasons we know our teams will have a very competitive game in the fall."
Last season, the Cornhuskers went 9-4, and lost to South Carolina 30-13 in the Citrus Bowl.
"We're excited about the season this year," Pelini said. "There's always high expectations at Nebraska, and we wouldn't have it any other way."
The 2011 season was one to forget for the Buckeyes. Rocked by the memorabilia/tattoos scandal, Ohio State slogged through a 6-7 year behind coach Luke Fickell.
One of the losses came to the Cornhuskers, who rallied from a 27-6 deficit to win 34-27.
"Our players and coaches are working very hard right now," Warinner said. "This is a new era for Ohio State football, and we look to do exceptional things, but we have to stay focused because we play such a demanding schedule."
Two more of Camp of Champions founders, Youngstown State University linebackers coach Ron Stoops and his brother Mark, Florida State defensive coordinator, were also on hand to help the young players.
Last season, the Penguins finished 6-5, but lost the final game at home to Missouri State with the playoffs in sight with a win.
"We took steps last year from the previous season, but it wasn't enough," Ron said. "It was a tough way to end the season, but we're ready to take big steps this year, and give the school the team it deserves."
At Florida State, Mark watched his team start 2-3, but win seven out of its last eight games, including an 18-14 win over Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl.
It's a very exciting time to be in Tallahassee," Mark said. "We had a lot of momentum at the end of the season, and we hope that helps, but it's a new year, with new players, and new challenges."