Wednesday Practice Updates: Cal

By Kyle Rowland on September 12, 2012 at 6:31p

Wednesdays are usually mundane and uneventful. But today’s post-practice interview session was anticipated because of the uncertainty surrounding Ohio State.

Who will start at running back? Will Jordan Hall play? What is the status of Nathan Williams and Michael Bennett? 

There's reason to smile for Meyer: Jordan Hall's return.

Answers to those questions were given.

Meyer said the starting running back will be announced Saturday.

Hall and Williams will play.

Bennett isn’t likely to play.

  • Meyer reiterated what he said on Monday, saying Bri’onte Dunn, Rod Smith and Zach Boren are battling for carries. Hall is also in the mix, and Corey “Philly” Brown could get looks in the flat.
  • Thursday will be the biggest day of the week for Hall, Meyer said. He had a good Wednesday, which was his first day of practice.
  • Hall felt good after practice. It sounds like cutting and things of that nature aren't an issue.
  • Meyer said he's not concerned about ball security with Hall. He also said Hall is fine with conditioning and knowing the offense.
  • Smith will be a member of the "freak show" punt-block team this week. That is a huge step, according to Meyer. He said there are small victories as your career progresses and Smith being on the punt-block team is one of them.
  • Storm Klein is eligible to play this week and will see action.
  • Meyer said he's gotten to know Klein better the past few weeks. He said Klein's shown a great deal of humility.
  • Kyle Dodson is fine. He passed out on the field during practice Tuesday. Meyer called it a scary moment. He said Dodson had been ill earlier in the day and did not tell the trainers.
  • Feast or Famine. That’s how Meyer described the Cal defense. They've led the Pac-12 in tackles for loss the last few seasons but are also prone to giving up big plays.
  • A few days into the week, Meyer said he still isn't happy with the pressure from the defensive line.
  • Asked what a good number of carries for Braxton Miller is, Meyer responded, "Fifteen."
  • Meyer said Bradley Roby will have to play "grown-man football" this week against Cal's Kennan Allen.
  • Blake Thomas and Tyvus Powell had their black stripes removed.
  • Miller said Dunn has looked good in practice. He said Dunn has been nervous and that there is a lot going on around him.
  • After 27 carries against Central Florida, Miller said his entire body was sore on Sunday. He came in that day and got treatment and sat in a cold tub.
  • Hall looked good in practice, according to Miller.
  • Getting Brown and Devin Smith the ball will be a priority this week, Miller said.
  • Smith said the offense has been working on a lot of pass plays this week in practice.
  • Brown has been the target of a number of throws.
  • Hall’s presence on the field makes a big difference, according to Hall. He added that Dunn and Smith get better every day.
  • With the weird defensive sets Cal runs, Smith said they will test the OSU offense’s “manhood.”
  • Boren said he’s encouraged by what Hall showed in practice.
  • Two games into the season, Boren said he doesn’t really know his role in the offense. But he said it’s exciting to go into a game and not know exactly what’s in store.
  • Communication is the biggest thing for the offense to excel at this week against the Cal defense (or any defense), Boren said. The broken plays last week were a big problem. He said the offense just wasn’t on the same page working together.
  • Boren said Brown’s role has grown bigger.
  • Johnathan Hankins said Meyer tells them simply to beat their man when they come back to the sideline after not applying pressure.
  • Hankins said Meyer asked why they can do it in practice but not the games.
  • Bennett’s absence has been a problem, according to Hankins. He said they need him out there soon.
  • On that topic, Hankins said, “Hopefully, we get him back this week.”
  • Roby said going against one of the best receivers in the country motivates him.

Comments Show All Comments

buckeye76BHop's picture

Hankins said Meyer asked why the can do it in practice but not the games.

That's because they're going against OSU's #2 Defense most practices.  It's much easier to beat backups (even OSU's) than the starters for "most" teams.  I can see Cal's O-line struggling more because Reverend Maynard isn't a good 2 or 3 step drop kind of QB.  They're going to try it because it's helped limit OSU's pretty good Dline in 1st two games.  They MUST blitz more though...any defensive minded fan or coach will tell you that if they've watched the first two games.  You live and die by it...Even though the DB's have done a good job at getting turnovers, just imagine how many more they'd have if we blitzed LB's more and stunted the Dline a bit (like perhaps at all...I haven't seen one stunt besides a delayed blitz by Spence).  The coaches must change this approach...or OSU will not win against can take it to the bank.  I believe they can beat almost every other team on this years schedule by playing this vanilla/almost Tressel ball type defense (bend don't break and get turnovers).  However, Maxwell will be better by week 5 and Bell...well...he reminds me of a guy wearing #28 for 3 years at OSU.  Sorry but it's true...they'll beat us if OSU doesn't get their shit together.  Sorry for the long rant but Meyer's comment on Dline doesn't make me feel warm and fuzzy...I'm hoping he's using this as another motivator as he did with the WRs in the off season.  

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

johnblairgobucks's picture

So who is playing in Bennett's spot?  Are we to assume this back up is not getting the job done and is causing the whole D-line unit to falter? 
Maybe the coaches need to realize that D-line output is lacking, and they, as coaches, need to tweak their game plan, and bring some linebackers to the "blitz party".

Buckeyejason's picture

JT Moore was starting in place of Bennett..but I believe they are trying different things like putting Simon over there while Spence and Miller play Leo. 
Maybe they don't want to blitz because they know the secondary's coverage isn't that good?


Squirrel Master's picture

I think right now there is a big dropoff from Bennett to the backups. Bennett is a very productive player and I think Simon has been missing having that other guy across from him. Spence and Miller are good but they still need more experience and development. It doesn't matter how talented your backups are, there is a reason why the starters are the starters.
as for blitzing, I think it does need to be sprinkled in a bit. I don't think they need to scrap the whole defensive game plan but a couple of blitzes here and there really changes it up a lot for the offense to be aware of. Another good idea would be press coverage when you blitz. Some of the best defenses I remember seeing in the last couple of decades played press coverage and overloaded the line at least on one side. Cover over the top with the safeties and 3 step drops won't work, as well at least! Is there concern the safeties aren't good enough to let the corners play up in the grill of the receivers?
I am by far not a defensive master mind but I have watched DAVE for the last couple of years to know the definition of stupid is "Keep doing the same thing over and over again with the same failed results!" Change is good! Break out the blender and lets get some rum runners going here! Send in Shazier (IDK maybe because he has 4.3 speed) and lets get some pressure!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

dbuckeye77's picture

Blitz, or consistantly rush 4 down lineman.  Our safeties are not sound enough to just sit back in coverage.  On passing downs i would put washington, spence, simon, williams on the line.

johnblairgobucks's picture

 Also, I'm not sure Boren being a ball carrier is anything opposing defenses need to gameplan for.  2 or 3 carriers to maybe "pop one" or keep linebackers honest is plenty, for Boren.
Otherwise I'm interested to see Dunn get 15 or more totes, also like to see Smith get 10 or so carriers.

NYC Buckeye's picture

I feel like rod smith getting 10 carries will lead to at least two lost fumbles...

DefendYoungstown's picture

Maybe 3...

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

dbuckeye77's picture

Has smith fumbled this year? He hasn't had many carries but just because he fumbled last year i am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.  It seems like he has checked out but maybe this week he will seize the moment.  I am not sold on hyde as HB he has many oppurtunities but hasn't showed me the stuff of an elite back. Unless Hall has drastically improved i doubt his dominance in a traditional running back role.  Dunn seems to always get positive yards and with more caries i see his confidence exploding.  He reminds me now of miller last year talented but overwhelmed with atmosphere. The carries he gets the more his confidence will improve and i think he might be the best option.

Squirrel Master's picture

I really am pulling for Rod Smith but I am starting to get the idea that he might be better off somewhere else. I just don't see him fitting this offense and Dunn is excelling past him already. Throw in next year with Elliott, Jacobs and Marshall and already Philly is starting to take carries. It just might be better off for both for him to play somewhere else. I really want the guy to succeed. Outside of the fumble issues, he really is a spectacular talent!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

otrain2416's picture

curious if bennetts groin injury is worse than they make it out to be if hes out back to back to back weeks 

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

Jeremy91's picture

Man am I sick of hearing about how our d-line isn't getting it done. Maybe if you rushed more than three defensive linemen they'd have a chance to get to the qb... Start blitzing and their qb will spend the majority of the day either on his back or running for his life. Problem f**king solved.

"Do not pray for an easy life. Rather, pray for the the strength to endure a difficult one" - Bruce Lee

johnblairgobucks's picture

^ agree +1000000000000
seems so simple to solve, watching the games playout.

buckeyedude's picture

AMEN Brotha! I noticed several times the OSU D was lined up in a 3 man front. YOu cant get a whole lot of pressure when you're being double teamed. And then you have several DBs and LBs standing around getting burned, as the opposing QB throws over those clueless defensive players.
I don't think it's a lack of talent or that "players aren't motivated." It's a lack defensive play calling. That rests on the co-defensive coordinators.



Crimson's picture

I'm probably being generous, but I'll give Fickell the benefit of the doubt until we see conference play, or the defense loses us a game.  I'm hoping that they're just working on packages the new coaches have brought in, and will change things up more when Mich St comes.

Maestro's picture

Bummer about Bennett, but I would rather have him healthy for conference play than have him rush back.

vacuuming sucks

dmurder's picture

ever pull a muscle?
Imagine pulling one close to your "well you get the point". When you walk, take a step, let alone try in jog. That thing pulls and man it hurts like a mother.

"We have always had the best damn band in the land, now we have the best damn team in the land"- Jim Tressel 1-03-03

Ahh Saturday's picture

On UCF's converted 3rd and 21 as well as the subsequent touchdown OSU dropped Spence off into coverage.  3rd and 21 and your speed rusher is defending the flat?  I didn't get that call at all.  On the TD pass Spence didn't get out to the flat for the coverage, but got caught up covering the slot.  I understand that they want him to be LEO, but right now his strength is getting at the QB.  We aren't confusing our opponents by dropping him off into coverage; we are confusing him.  This is one thing I certainly expect that we will see less of on Saturday.

Squirrel Master's picture

even worst, how about a 2 second delayed blitz by Shazier! what the hell does a delayed blitz by a linebacker do? NOTHING! It gives ample time for the Oline to double the Dline until it is handled and then a man can release to pick up the delayed blitz! Send 5 in right away and let the Olines try to defend the Dline one on one. I bet you one of Simon, Hankins, Washington, Shazier or Spence will get through. They are too good not to!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

If you allow my humble opinion...I must say that this team is just scary with potential. This young but rapidly maturing team sees the future. I say let's just relax, kick back, and enjoy what we really are seeing...a dynasty in its infancy.

But these particular toddling tikes of T-O-S-U...(tun intended)...will soon be kicking that big bully Esseesee right in his southern sensibilities. Yes, right in his Bishop TooToo. Now, I do understand all the "conference love" down here. It makes it easy to feel big when your girlfriend gets kicked in the teeth while you have to watch. You can always raise your arms and say "woo hoo SEC" as you drag your pathetic bleeding babe back to the hovel. I say this because I live in Arkansas now and like to pretend to my fellow Arkansans that "I'm sorry that LSU beat you" just to hear em have to correct me!

Ok, so I'm a little sadistic.

But this year the gridironlads of OSU will learn what it takes to live on the edge of greatness.


Stark raw anger...a growling fierceness and bad the guy across from you. It will be inevitable that one of you is going to leave a loser (or a "lahooooozer" as Jim Carey would say). And if the enemy is able to bring you to your knees psychologically, even if he hasn't yet done it physically, then you're simply a college kid doomed on a college football field.

And it's ok. You'll find your passion in sales or molecular biochemistry.

But the truly great ones in the sport...the ones who end up excelling on Sunday...are those that even young in their careers...will claw their way to victory in that one-on-one struggle across from that even if that guy IS beating them physically...for a time, they find a way to win...when it counts most.

Ask our last national champions.

I, for one, don't really care if it's ugly. Our 2002 team had all kinds of faults. Urban is instilling a toughness that endures getting "punched in the gut." This is a special team and I think we all realize that.

Our armchair attitudes mean nothing in the end, but we sure enjoy discussing our of course, each of us has his own cure for the current onfield woes facing the team.

But the key here is "current".

This team will absolutely improve at a dramatic rate, and aint nobody, and I'm lookin at you, bully gonna be chanting " S-E-C...S-E-C..." on a not too distant day in January of 2014...when The Ohio State Buckeyes, not the B1G, defeat whatever SEC foe ESPN trots out.

So go on...Soak in this season, with all the palatable renderings of a banana split with delightful flavors you've never heard hearty my friends, eat hearty!

The buffet cometh when we gorge.


I like cookies.

CanadianBuckeye's picture

This was delightful.  I found myself reading it in the voice of V from V for Vendetta.

Boxley's picture

Nicely done, Sir SSB. 

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

wow. Didn't realize the verbiosity. Apologies. Sheesh.

I like cookies.

FROMTHE18's picture

Hope Roby can step up and play big boy CB against Allen. Allen is a hell of a player. Would love to see some blitz packages this week, but I think I'll just find myself wanting.

sir rickithda3rd's picture

unlike everyone else i dont want to see blitzing very much... the giants rarely do it bcuz their dline is so good they dont have to. with all the talent on the line they should be able to get pressure rushing 4. all the comments about simon being "tebowish" i havent seen him come at the big moments in games

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

Squirrel Master's picture

Even the vaunted Giants defense blitzes every now and then. but I have never seen the Giants just rush 3! I don't think anyone is saying this needs to be a all out blitz defense all the time. Just every now and then!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

Buckeyejason's picture

I think the Tebow reference was geared towards more of John off the field and doing the right things. Work ethic, leadership, great character, being the pride of your football program etc.


buck-I.8's picture

What have been the "big moments" against Miami and UCF?

jthiel09's picture

When an offense purposefully throws quick passes to keep your defensive line from getting pressure on the QB ... guess what happens ... no sacks for the defensive line.


Buckeyejason's picture

Also with all the schools going to the spread and incorporating alot of quick passes in their offenses you will be seeing  a lot less sacks overall across college football in the future.