The 2013 season gets underway for the Ohio State football team on Saturday, and after a practice at a steamy Woody Hayes Athletic Center, Urban Meyer met with the media one final time before kickoff.
Meyer addressed several subjects, including the Tuesday evening announcement that eight players – seniors Jack Mewhort, C.J. Barnett, Christian Bryant, Kenny Guiton, Corey Linsley, Corey "Philly" Brown and juniors Braxton Miller and Ryan Shazier – would serve as game captains this fall. Meyer admitted that it was unusual but felt it was the right decision after a tight vote between many players.
“I said, ‘You know? What a great experience being named captain.’ I understand you can’t really have eight at the end of the year, so I’ll game captain it,” Meyer said. “Then at the end of the year we’ll see who does the best job.”
Meyer did not close the door on having all eight keep their captaincy titles, either.
“If they all do a great job, we’ll be the first (team) with eight captains probably in history,” he said.
The head coach also confirmed the foot injury and subsequent surgery suffered by sophomore defensive lineman Tommy Schutt. According to Meyer, the 6-1, 299-pound Schutt had a screw surgically inserted into a broken bone in his foot. He is expected back around midseason.
As for the rest of the Buckeyes, Meyer said there were no other injury concerns.
With Schutt out, depth at defensive line becomes an issue. Sophomores Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington are expected to start on the ends, with juniors Michael Bennett and Joel Hale on the inside. Schutt was going to see playing time on Saturday, and now additional snaps will be taken by players like sophomore Chase Farris and freshmen Michael Hill and Joey Bosa.
Farris battled Taylor Decker for the starting right tackle position through the spring but is now spending the majority of his time on the defensive line. Meyer said Farris has earned the right to play against Buffalo.
“He’s quicker, stronger,” Meyer said of Farris. “He’s a product of our weight room and our program. He’ll play. He’s going to play on Saturday at defensive line. I was panicking a little bit, but not now.”
As for the offense, Meyer declined to give a number of passes he wants to see Miller throw against the Bulls. He did, however, mention that he feels better about the players around Miller heading into the start of the season than he did a year earlier.
“There were times over the headset I said, ‘Braxton’s the only guy,’ early in the season because I just had no confidence in the guys around him,” Meyer said. “I’m much more comfortable now.”
Sticking with quarterbacks, Meyer called the election of Guiton as a captain awesome but unsurprising.
“The most votes (went to) Mewhort,” Meyer said. “The second most was C.J. Barnett. Kenny was not far behind. He was like third or fourth. That tells you – he’s an incredible kid. His parents need to be proud of that guy.”
Finally, Meyer said he hopes for a clean game on Saturday.
“(No) turnovers, take care of the football,” he said. “Fundamentally be much better than we were a year ago. We were horrible tacklers. We were not very good in a lot of areas, and I’m embarrassed to say that. That’s my responsibility. So I’m hoping much better.”