Ohio State could still be without a starting safety Saturday night when Nebraska comes to town, but the Buckeyes’ standout quarterback is in good health.
Urban Meyer said Wednesday night C.J. Barnett, a junior safety who has missed the past two games with an ankle injury, might not be able to play for the 12th-ranked Buckeyes against No. 20 Nebraska.
“Is there a maybe category?” Meyer said. “He’s feeling a lot better, but he’s still limping around.”
Senior Orhian Johnson has started the past two games at safety and made nine tackles while junior Corey Brown has filled in at nickel back logged eight stops.
On top of Barnett’s absence, the Buckeyes have a cornerback battling injury. Bradley Roby missed the week four win over UAB with a sore shoulder but returned last week to make nine tackles against Michigan State. He admitted it is still sore but promised not to miss a game against a ranked opponent under the lights at Ohio Stadium.
Also expected to play despite being less than 100 percent is Michael Bennett, a sophomore who missed the first four games with a strained groin.
On the other side of the ball, the Buckeyes will be without senior running back Jordan Hall, who suffered a PCL tear against the Spartans, but quarterback Braxton Miller said he had no swelling in the left knee the sophomore jammed in East Lansing.
“He was very sore on Tuesday but was very good today,” Meyer said, noting that was similar to many players. “It’s week six and we just played a very physical team. We had some guys banged up, but he’s 100 percent and ready to go.”
Meyer thought his team practiced better in its second full-go workout of the week than the first.
“Today was good. We had to have a good day after Tuesday’s practice,” Meyer said. “Typical week six issues.”
Something that is not typical is giving up a 21-point lead, but the Buckeyes did just that last year at Nebraska when the Cornhuskers erased a 27-6 deficit in the second half to stun Ohio State 34-27. It was the largest comeback in Nebraska history and the largest lead the Buckeyes have ever yielded, and folks in Columbus have not forgotten it yet.
“I hear them saying we owe this team,” Meyer said.
The Buckeyes have not played a night game yet this season, but the head coach and director of strength and conditioning Mickey Marotti will formulate a plan for dealing with the schedule prior to the 8 p.m. kickoff.
“We’ve got to make sure they’re rested,” Meyer said. “We’re still finalizing our plans, but the good thing is we have a lot of experience with night games. A lot of thought goes into that.”