The Ohio State football team will look to improve to 2-0 on the young season Saturday afternoon against San Diego State, and Urban Meyer met with the media Wednesday night for one last update prior to the battle with the Aztecs.
The Buckeyes played without a pair of veteran defensive starters in junior cornerback Bradley Roby (suspension) and senior safety C.J. Barnett (ankle) in the season-opening win against Buffalo but both should return to the field this weekend. Meyer said Barnett is good to go, while no other notable injuries are affecting the team.
As for Roby, Meyer said he has not decided whether Roby or sophomore Armani Reeves will start vs. SDSU. Roby has made a good impression in practice, however.
“He did pretty good today in practice,” said Meyer before hedging his comment by saying he still needed to see film from practice to confirm that. “He’s had two good days I believe. I know he had a good day yesterday.”
On offense, senior center Corey Linsley missed most of the game as he recovers from a nagging foot injury. Sophomore Jacoby Boren replaced Linsley against the Bulls, and could see time this weekend again.
“(Linsley) only played 16 plays last week,” Meyer said. “He’s had a good week of practice.”
Like Roby, junior Rod Smith missed the opener because of suspension. Meyer gave an update on the Fort Wayne, Ind., native, saying Smith is faring well on special teams – usually a precursor to getting on the field on offense or defense.
“I think he’s starting on punt, which once again (is) the more important than starting at running back,” Meyer said. “So I believe he’s starting on punt and maybe punt block, too. That’s a good sign that he’ll get in the game.”
Smith may or may not see playing time on offense, but Meyer did clarify who he thinks will be the first tailback to touch the ball this weekend. Unsurprisingly, that was Jordan Hall, who rushed for a career-high 159 yards against Buffalo.
Hall, who could be slotted into the H-back position eventually, will serve as the top tailback for the second week in a row with Smith and sophomores Bri’onte Dunn and Warren Ball also fighting for carries. Meyer added that freshman speedster Dontre Wilson, who carried three times for 11 yards with a fumble last week is “more of a receiver right now.”
Sticking with offense, Meyer said he hopes the offensive line does a good job of protecting junior quarterback Braxton Miller against San Diego State. A big reason for the pass protection problems was Buffalo’s standout linebacker Khalil Mack, but Meyer wants to see a more dynamic Meyer this week.
“I hope we protect him better. I hope are more efficient,” Meyer said. “We started off the game very efficient in the pass game. (I want Miller to be) just more of the dynamic player that he is.
“I don’t think we called a run. I think there has to be a couple of those in his repertoire to make him use his full skill set.