Offensive Line Wins Meyer Over

By Kyle Rowland on October 1, 2012 at 7:00p

In Urban Meyer’s postgame press conference following Saturday’s 17-16 win at Michigan State, he lauded his offensive line for opening holes during Ohio State’s final possession, which allowed the Buckeyes to run out the clock. 

The offensive line earned players of the game as a unit.

After watching film of the game, he went one step further – honoring his entire starting offensive line as players of the game. Reid Fragel, Marcus Hall, Corey Linsley, Jack Mewhort and Andrew Norwell all share the award.

“Very proud of their effort and what they did,” Meyer said. “So it’s great to have an offensive line grade out as your player of the game. You usually win that ballgame.”

It was closed out because of the crucial first downs picked up by Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde with the help of the line. When Michigan State punted, Meyer figured his defense would have to hold the Spartans one last time. But the offense proved their head coach wrong.

“When I saw the time on the clock, I thought we were going to have to punt that ball.” Meyer said. “That’s not to disrespect our players, but I know the way the game goes and everybody watching that ballgame knew we were going to run the ball. It helps when you have the quarterback get you one of them.”

Certainly Meyer also knew the way games go when a team blocks a punt. It’s something he harps on, pointing to the 90-percent win rate of teams that do so. On Saturday, Bradley Roby saw a weakness in the Spartan special teams and begged Meyer to send in the “Freak Show.” He did, and Roby came away with the block. It was wide receivers coach Zach Smith who drew up the winning formula on the punt block.

“We finally blocked a frickin' punt around here," said Meyer, joking about it taking five games.

Roby earned special teams player of the game for the swat, which was nearly picked off the punter’s foot.

Another offensive champion was Zach Boren, who graded out 93 percent. But it wasn’t necessarily that 93 percent that Meyer was most impressed with. It was the veteran skills and presence he provided in crunch time.

“His leadership and on the sideline was instrumental in this ballgame,” Meyer said. “I don’t want to call it legendary, but that's why we do what we do. I can't speak for every coach, every player. But…I hear what I hear, and saw what I saw, that's what it's all about. I would like to think we've had something to do with that as far as creating that competitive environment around here.

“I give a lot of credit to Zach Boren. He really showed his manhood in that game and not just the way he played, but the way he did some leadership. He really did a very good job.”

The game wasn’t without controversy, however. The head coaches have spoken highly of one another, but there appears to be friction at the same time. It started during recruiting season when Se’Von Pittman de-committed from Michigan State and signed with the Buckeyes. Dantonio and his staff did not take kindly to it and accused Meyer and shady recruiting practices.

Hall is doubtful for Saturday.

Then, following Saturday’s game, Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi alleged that Ohio State sent edited game tape with pre-snap motions taken out. Athletics directors from Michigan State and Ohio State each said the incident was taken care of when the issue arose earlier in the week.

“The first I heard about that was after the press conference (after the game),” Meyer said. “Guy grabbed me and said, ‘What about the videotape?’ I said, ‘I have no idea.' He asked my guy and said, 'I have no idea either.' So I went back on Sunday and asked again. I asked our video staff.  They said there was an issue on Tuesday, it was corrected immediately, and that's all I was told. There was no intent or deception or hiding anything, nothing like that.”

A video also surfaced after the game of a Michigan State offensive lineman gouging at Johnathan Hankins’ eyes as Hankins was down on the field after a play had ended. Meyer said Ohio State turned the video in to the Big Ten.

“I dealt with that at Florida one time,” he said. “We had to sit a player down for doing that in the SEC. Every conference is different. I don't know (what will happen). I think it gets turned in, and then I believe it's in the conference offices or the team's way of handling it.”

While the status for the Spartan is unknown, Ohio State knows it won’t have a player for this week’s showdown with Nebraska – or the rest of the season. Much-maligned wide receiver Tyrone Williams was dismissed for, what Meyer termed, a violation of team rules.

Jordan Hall, who was injured in the second quarter Saturday and did not return, suffered a partial tear of his PCL.

“I would say (he’s) doubtful (this week) unless something happens,” Meyer said. “It’s going to be week to week. I’m going to know more about him today. He didn’t practice yesterday. I hate to see it because he is a kid that works his tail off.”

It’s the second injury Hall has been slowed by since June, when he missed 10 weeks due to a torn tendon in his foot. It’s also the third setback to the backfield – Hyde missed two games after spraining his MCL. Hyde is again the starting running back, but Rod Smith and Bri’onte Dunn have an opening to help on offense.

“It's time to go and time to roll,” Meyer said of Smith and Dunn. “You can only watch for so long. At some point you have to go play the game. The good thing is they've done pretty good.”


Comments Show All Comments

Abe Froman's picture

Great job by the O line.  MSU was probably the top defensive line in the league that OSU would face and they more than passed the test.  Fragel is a rock!   

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

BuddhaBuck's picture


Don't text while driving.

Abe Froman's picture

Heh heh heh.  Kind of obvious even though I have never watched that show.

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

Maestro's picture

RTackle, but yes he has really stepped up.

vacuuming sucks

Culp's Freaking Hill's picture

True. Everyone could not speak highly enough about MSU's defensive big guys.  Excited to see our guys push them around a bit that last drive.

Twitter: @conquestnorman

buckeyedude's picture

Maybe all of that off season strength and conditioining is starting to pay some dividends?



buckeyepastor's picture

Really doubt seeing our pre-snap motion or shifts was really much of a big deal in our game-planning.  Apart from some adjusting for blitzes and such, not much to see there.  What's more, there were a lot of ways their coaches, if they really felt the need to, could have seen this.  Heck, a tape of the broadcasts of the games would have shown our pre-snap activity.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

Poe McKnoe's picture

Don't even think it made it to that point.  Sounds like MSU got the film, just late.

Athletics directors from Michigan State and Ohio State each said the incident was taken care of when the issue arose earlier in the week.

ellspar's picture

With our offensive line I don't know why they don't try to push it up the middle more. Especially since we were gaining 4+ yards on runs in the 2nd half.

StarBuck113's picture

I have been wondering how Boren was graded in games this year.  He seems to do something positive on every play.

Culp's Freaking Hill's picture

Boren is one of my favorite players on the team.  When he gets in the endzone, he's the happiest person who has ever gotten into the endzone.

Twitter: @conquestnorman

Idot08bojangles's picture

I can only think of these when talking about Fragles:
Sorry about the A2 reference...had to get it out of my head. But they are DELICIOUS!

Scarlet and Grey until the day I die.
idotter: September 27, 2008. OSU vs. Minnesota

causeicouldntgo43's picture

If our coaches wanted to be duplicitous they could have just spliced in Dave over and over again and sent that to need to worry about pre-snap reads....

Enzo's picture

Best the line has played in 2 years. Hope they build on this.

WiliestBuckeye's picture

This is why most teams like to hire offensive line coaches.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

There are coaches for offensive lines? Since when?

SuperBuckFan08's picture

Not once have we been this impressed by our Offensive line during the Bollman era. 
All Hail Coach Warriner. lol

Because I couldn't go for three.   -Woody-

painterlad's picture

I can't remember the exact play, but at one point Hyde ran over and obliterated the defensive end. I expect offensive linemen to hold the line, but I love it when a running back throws a powerful block.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

Jdadams01's picture

That is a great thing about Hyde. The D doesn't know if he'll take a handoff, lead block, or leak out of the backfield for a catch.

Grayskullsession's picture

Whoever thought that having a real human instead of a walrus coaching the O-line would make a difference?

"if irony were made of strawberries, we' d all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now."

WC Buckeye's picture

Not that there is anything wrong with walruses, mind you - they just should stay in the water and eat little fishes.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

bassplayer7770's picture

in the water = @ Boston College
eat little fishes = beat up on Maine, but lose to everybody else