Meyer Presser Recap: Illinois

By Kyle Rowland on October 29, 2012 at 12:51p

Injury – what injury? Braxton Miller showed his detour to the OSU Medical Center in the fourth quarter of the Purdue game was much ado about nothing. One week later, he was back to his usual self, embarrassing Penn State defenders en route to the Buckeyes’ 35-23 victory. 

The Buckeyes are nearing "special team" territory.

The Heisman campaign is back on.

But the Silver Bullets may be the bigger story. Penn State was limited to 32 yards rushing on 28 carries and didn’t score an offensive touchdown until the fourth quarter. Two weeks ago, the sky was falling in Columbus, pizza deliverymen were getting fired and Luke Fickell was on the hot seat. Two weeks later, all is well.

The front seven was able to get penetration against the Penn State offensive line much of the night, sacking quarterback Matt McGloin four times and stuffing the run game. McGloin had only been sacked eight times in seven games before Saturday.

Running backs Zach Zwinak, Bill Belton and Michael Zordich gained a combined 71 yards on 23 carries with zero touchdowns. The longest Penn State run went for nine yards.

Ryan Shazier, Nathan Williams, CJ Barnett and John Simon ganged up to make 20 tackles, including five tackles for loss and four sacks. Shazier added an interception return for a touchdown. Bradley Roby was a machine in the defensive backfield, breaking up four passes, including one that would have been a touchdown.

  • There were only two defensive champions, but they were co-players of the game: Shazier and Roby.
  • Meyer said Saturday was the best team win of the season. He commented on defensive improvements – tackling and leverage – and Zach Boren getting better.
  • Meyer is happy with Boren's level of play at linebacker, but still wants him to grade out a champion.
  • The defense is better fundamentally, according to Meyer. He said the improvement is evident on the field, but they still aren’t great.
  • Roby got his hand on seven balls. Meyer said he doesn't believe a player has done that in his coaching career.
  • Offensive champions: Braxton Miller (player of the game), Andrew Norwell, Jack Mewhort, Reid Fragel, Jake Stoneburner, Evan Spencer, Carlos Hyde.
  • 91 percent of Hyde's yards came after contact.
  • Special Teams champions: Devin Smith (player of the game), Ron Tanner, Adam Griffin and Roby.
  • Smith was on the punt coverage unit because he's the fastest player on the team, according to Meyer. Smith had three tackles.
  • Meyer said Griffin was the recipient of a scarlet shirt, which goes to the player who makes a great effort.
  • For the first time all season, Meyer said Miller is a Heisman candidate.
  • Miller still has room to improve, as Meyer said. But it's hard to be too picky with his performance thus far.
  • Stoneburner told Meyer the past three weeks have been the best of his career. The two had a heart-to-heart a few weeks ago. Meyer said Stoneburner had been told he was great by fans and he wasn't. Meyer told Stoneburner he wasn't living up to his potential. It's changed dramatically the past three weeks.
  • “This is a special team. They refuse to lose. They fight for each other. It's a bunch of guys who show up each week and work hard.” -Meyer
  • At 9-0, Meyer believes Ohio State has the “special” team potential. Buckeyes have answered every call so far. Team is working hard.
  • Ohio State can’t go to the title game, but winning is still important because it builds momentum inside the program, Meyer said.
  • Recruiting is the area where momentum is most seized. Being undefeated is a great way to start phone conversations with recruits tonight, Meyer said.
  • Meyer makes a correct to statement about Illinois having more recent first-round draft picks than Ohio State and the fact that the Illini have won 7 of 11 in Columbus.
  • Meyer calls himself a huge Notre Dame fan. Says he's happy they are playing well, calls it good for college football.
  • Etienne Sabino is questionable this week. But the trainers told Meyer this is the healthiest the team has been all season.
  • Defensive line coach Mike Vrabel is happy with Noah Spence's progression. He said Spence is still not there yet, but it doesn't happen overnight.
  • During his NFL career, Vrabel, like Boren, moved from defense to offense. He said he appreciates Boren's effort and said Boren gets better with every rep on defense.
  • Boren has been an inspiration for the team, according to Vrabel.
  • Vrabel joked that the offensive snaps he took didn't include any blocking and there were only two plays he had to learn.
  • Nathan Williams was active dropping down in coverage and blitzing Saturday. Vrabel said no one on the defense works harder.
  • Michael Bennett had his best game of the season Saturday. It could really add a lot to the defense if that continues, Vrabel said.
  • Wide receivers coach Zach Smith referenced something that Meyer talked about a few weeks ago - Stoneburner was matched up against linebackers before, now it’s defensive backs.
  • Once Stoneburner fully understood the position, the coaches realized they needed to get him the ball more the past three weeks.
  • Smith said he never thought 9-0 was possible when he saw the offense during spring practice.
  • “Don’t call it punt return; we block.” –Smith, who oversees the punt return/block unit.
  • Smith said Stoneburner's move to wide receiver was made to better the team. Ohio State has three talented tight ends, so if Stoneburner was at tight end and the other two – Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett – were on the bench, the best 11 players might not be on the field.

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Doc's picture

7 of 11 in Ohio Stadium, that is sobering.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Baroclinicity's picture

Yeah, I did not realize that.  Don't see that happening this week though.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Ethos's picture

exactly.  I hope they pay attention to that and don't pull another 2007.

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

One Bad Buckeye's picture

I took my kid brother and my wife to their first OSU game that day, it was the first game I'd been to that they lost! It really sucked.  I'll never forget cursing Boekman that game.  

"I'm One Bad Buckeye, and I approve this message."

daytonbuckeye's picture

I still hate that game. That was one of the games that I worried about most because of Leman and what he was able to do the previous year. Williams was pretty good during 06-07, but it seemed that Leman was the heart of that team and got them amped up to give OSU a run for their money. Here's to hoping that Urban understands that Illinois always seems to play OSU tough and gets them prepared to beat them down.

3 85 yards and a cloud of dust.

lljjgg's picture

That game was the first time I really heard the "OSU can't defend the Spread" talk that continues in many ways even today.

1stYrBuckIClub's picture

How's this for bad luck... the 2007 Illinois game was the first game I had been back to since, you guessed it, the 1998 Michigan State game. 

chitown buckeye's picture

Jesus man, you need to stay away from the shoe!! ;)

"I'm having a heart attack!"

Buckeyevstheworld's picture


I use to think my ex was a jinx. Every time she watched a game Ohio State played in(Florida, LSU, USC, Texas, and illinois) they lost.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

buckeye76BHop's picture

This was why I put my comments about Wisky in Camp Randall on 11W poll and it may not be as tough as Illini and tTUN at home (Wisky isn't what they were last year with Russell Wilson and Ball as a one- two punch).  I realize any other year, this wouldn't make sense.  However, our record vs Illini at home isn't great (not to mention I was at the 2007 game which we were about sobering moment...that was a buzz kill from hell).  I could see this game being close...for a while.  This isn't an Illini team of 2007...they may have some talented players, but they haven't been able to put it together in a full game.  Let's hope this weekend isn't like 2007 (I'm going to be in the same seats and I will not be able to believe it if history repeats itself.  I may end up in a bar off High St and hand cuffed by closing time;-)  

"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 

OldColumbusTown's picture

The thing people are forgetting about Illinois - there have been some really good Illini teams over the past 10-15 years.  When they're bad, they are very, very bad.  But, they have had a few really talented teams over that span.  It's the inconsistency that has to be so maddening for the Illini faithful.  Seem to me like every time there has been a good Illini team in Columbus, they have tended to come out on top.  Many of those games were against mediocre Buckeye teams.
2007 had a team with Juice Williams (the good Juice Williams that season), Rashard Mendenhall, Jeff Cumberland, Vontae Davis, J Leman, etc.  They were a talented group.  There have been others as well. 
This Illinois team is nothing compared to that.

Mix's picture

I need a beer after reading that, good thing there's a hurricane coming.


rkylet83's picture

Love everything I'm hearing!

kevinfrenchfry's picture

obviously at this point if OSU loses it will probably will because of something self inflicted.  there is an outside chance they could get outplayed but the likelihood of that seems pretty slim.  illinois is being illinois right now, wiscy is playing with a regressed montee ball and they have lost their much improved qb likely for the season.  I will say scUM is playing awesome football right  The PSU game seemed to be viewed as that last real hurdle to being undefeated (aka the last team where we didnt fully know who the better team was going in, and the fact it was in HV) this team going 12-0 is something we would remember, it definitely wouldnt be for nothing in the eyes of the buckeye faithful and it definitely would be a defining statement aspecially for the older guys

humble0ne's picture

I love the presser recap, Kyle, and I do not mean to nitpick,  but I would have liked to see a mention in your opener about Zach Boren finishing second in tackles at 7 to Shazier's 8.  I don't think it can be overstated how important his willingness to change to defense is for this team.  Boren at least being competent in the middle allows Shazier to play like the madman he is IMHO.

"It is foolish to expect a young man to follow your advice and ignore your example." --Don Meyer Hall of Fame NAIA Basketball Coach

Alhan's picture

The front-seven was able o get penetration against the Penn State offensive line much of the nigh,

I think your "T" key is on its last legs!

“This is a special team. They refuse to lose. They fight for each other. It's a bunch of guys who show up each week and work hard.”

I think this sums up Ohio State this year.  Here's hoping for many more years where guys play together like this!

"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

buckeye76BHop's picture

Recruiting is the area where momentum is most seized. Being undefeated is a great way to start phone conversations with recruits tonight, Meyer said.

This comment is why I feel Feb 1st could be very interesting.  If OSU goes 12-0...I'd say recruits like Timmons and others that are "on the fence" as far as committable offers or offers in general will be taken by players like Quicks and Marq. Norths or even a flip or two (Stevens and others from the south).  Sorry Waykracken but if you want Timmons, you may want to root against OSU and hope for a lose or two (and I still don't think Timmons will get an offer).  OSU will get who they want if they keep winning.  I love this...bring on the talented WRs and LBs who play against other talented players...we need em!

"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 

Earle's picture

91 percent of Hyde's yards came after contact

Bet they know his name, now.
Also, Devin Smith was a beast on kick/punt coverage.

Snarkies gonna snark. 

gwalther's picture

If Devin Smith can fix his dropsies, he can be Terry Glenn/Santonio Holmes good. Hopefully minus the dickishness.

Class of 2008

Ohioste's picture

I bet Simon was in the weight room an hour early(2am?) after this comment:

Nathan Williams was active dropping down in coverage and blitzing Saturday. Vrabel said no one on the defense works harder.

OSUBias's picture

Simon looked injured several different times Saturday. Does anyone know the full list of the nagging injuries he is playing through? Or does he refuse to tell anyone since he's that kind of guy.
Loved the dline rotation we had going on Saturday. Helped us stay fresh all night. And I love getting the young guys some quality PT and experience in a prime time conference game. That's invaluable for our run next year. Simon/Goebel/Hankins (he'd be a fool to stay) are going to be really hard to replace.

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

xFactor11's picture

Simon probably had a broken foot.. yet plays through it because he is John Simon. All kidding aside that does worry me because I would prefer him to be fresh for Wisky and The Game. He's definitely not one that would sit out to rest either. 

GoBucks713's picture

Simon left everything on the field Saturday night. Someone needs to buy him a cammo case of Busch. 

-The Aristocrats!

Doc's picture

Spielman made a comment during the game when Simon was hurt and came out about it must be something really serious, because he doeasn't fee; pain like normal humans.  Or something like that.  Simon is a beast for sure.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

southbymidwest's picture

Near the end of the game, the camera focused on him getting back to the line-he had a small limp going on, the rest of us mere mortals would have been dragging the bad leg like Quasimodo. Wait, maybe I mean Igor from Young Frankenstein. Regardless, Ouch.

Earle's picture

Dude has an abnormal brain, but in a good way!

Snarkies gonna snark. 

jestertcf's picture

Simon is as close to the T1000 that we will see in this lifetime.

~Because we couldn't go for three~

chitown buckeye's picture

Get through this week and then we have a bye week and a chance to get healthy for the two remaining big games. Actually love the timing of this bye week. Gives us a chance to get healthy before two very big games!

"I'm having a heart attack!"

O-H Kee Pa's picture

Since there has been some flip flopping on whether or not we will be wearing Pro Combats for Michigan, Brandon Castel said an OSU spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny. So, in corporate speak, that's a "yes".

btalbert25's picture

We'll be 11-0 heading into the game.  I suggest if you are considering stubhub for tickets to The Game, get them now, they are still reasonably priced.

chitown buckeye's picture

I have to say I love your positive outlook on this team! True story, we were down 7-0  in the second quarter and I kept thinking to myself at the time "btabert25 is right, this team will find a way to win" It really calmed me down and sure enough you were right! Beginning to agree that it is almost destiny to go 12-0.

"I'm having a heart attack!"

LouGroza's picture

As OSUBIAS said, Simon appeared to be hurting later in the game. He was very slow to get up after one play and afterward was slow to get up on other plays as well. Hope he's ok.
Also the dline rotation may have been ordered by Urban being in on defensive meetings. I recall Vrabel wanting to stay with the "starters" as opposed to rotating and keeping guys fresh.

Buckeyejason's picture

We'll be 11-0 heading into the game.

^ thanks for jynxing us.
Roby might break  the season pass breakups record no? Incredible amount he has already. Hyde was the fastest, then Roby, now Devin Smith is the fastest on the team?


Maestro's picture

The team is leading the country by leaps and bounds in the passes defended category.  75 so far.  2nd best is 57.

vacuuming sucks

jestertcf's picture

There are no such thing as jinxs. Talk about the perfect game, call it 11-0 if you think that is what this team will be.
Actually there might be such a thing... Peyton Hills Madden cover anyone?

~Because we couldn't go for three~

Maestro's picture

Enjoy seeing Ron Tanner's name mentioned.  Hopefully he can become a special teams monster.

vacuuming sucks

OldColumbusTown's picture

Agreed, and then hopefully that translates to the defensive side of the ball.  He's got good size and athleticism to be an effective safety.  Hopefully this is the start of his climb up the depth chart ladder.

Maestro's picture

Sabino doesn't need to play this weekend IMHO.  Let him get fully healthy and save him for the last 2 games when he will be needed a lot.

vacuuming sucks

PierogyJim's picture

Typo... shouldn't it be moved from offense to defense?

During his NFL career, Vrabel, like Boren, moved from defense to offense. He said he appreciates Boren's effort and said Boren gets better with every rep on defense.

Sarah's picture

It's fine because Kyle meant that Vrabel and Boren have played on both sides of the ball. 

tennbuckeye19's picture

Both made moves. Vrabel moved from defense to offense, (although only on certain plays in certain situations), Boren from offense to defense. 

jestertcf's picture

LOL YES!! Vrabel catches touchdowns.

~Because we couldn't go for three~

otrain2416's picture

^ No Vrabel played d line in college linebacker in the pros and would occasionally move to offense on a goal line play as a TE or FB and catch TD passes

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

buckeyechad's picture

It's insane how much talent we have on the defensive line. I would take our second and third string guys over most other big10 teams first and second strings. Not to mention the incoming freshman next year (Joey Bosa=JJ Watt).

avail31678's picture

Bosa (as a high schooler) > JJ Watt (early in college)
Don't think I'm the first to say this.  Pretty sure I read it here by a staff member.
Point is, yes, Bosa = beast.

AtlGABuckeye's picture

Chuck Norris wears John Simon pajamas.

"Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

avail31678's picture

When John Simon sacks a QB, he isn't pushing the QB down to the ground...he's pulling the whole earth up into the QB...

Jeremy91's picture

I wish I could upvote this a million times!

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

Poison nuts's picture loves ND huh? -- we'll, nobody's perfect.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

shortbus20's picture

He is is a sin if he doesn't...LOL

  • shortbus20
southbymidwest's picture

He also was an assistant coach at ND and was a major recruiter for them before he became the head coach at Bowling Green.

Buckeye Beast's picture

I hate Illinois

Even Squirrels hate Michigan