Wednesday Practice Updates: Illinois

By Kyle Rowland on October 31, 2012 at 7:42p

A week ago, Braxton Miller’s health seemed to threaten Ohio State’s undefeated season. But the quarterback showed no ill effects from a neck injury the previous week against Purdue and played spectacularly at Penn State.

Buckeye Nation loves them some Braxton.

In doing so, Urban Meyer finally purchased stock in Miller’s Heisman campaign. Now with the Illinois Fighting Illini coming to town, Miller and the offense are salivating. In its first season under former Ohio State assistant Tim Beckman, Illinois has slogged its way to a 2-6 record and no Big Ten wins.

The Illinois defense has been gouged for large chunks of yardage on the ground and through the air and has also given up points by the bushel. But it’s not just the defense that has been a problem for the Illini. The offense also has had its share of rough times.

Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who had such a promising 19 games to start his career, still hasn’t recovered from last year’s second-half swoon. He’s completed 61 percent of his passes, but only thrown for four touchdowns compared to five interceptions. Health has been part of Scheelhaase’s setbacks, as is the lack of a big-play receiver and productive running back.

It’s been months since Ohio State had a layup, which is appropriate with basketball season upon us. The Buckeyes enter Saturday as a 27-point favorites, but Meyer has reminded his team about Illinois’ success in Columbus.

“Illinois has had more draft picks than Ohio State the last few years, certainly more first-rounders,” Meyer said. “They’ve won seven of 11 in Ohio Stadium. So there is no issue getting these guys ready. Lot of respect for Illinois.”

  • Scheelhaase is the main concern offensively, Meyer said, because he’s a playmaker. The Illinois offensive struggles have not been due to a shortage of talent, according to Meyer.
  • Cornerback Bradley Roby said Scheelhaase is able to create a lot with his feet and does a good job with what he has to work with on offense.
  • Miller had some goofy slides at Penn State. Meyer said offensive coordinator Tom Herman is in charge of helping Braxton, though Miller said there really isn’t too much focus on it in practice.
  • Even though Ohio State is undefeated entering November, Meyer said there isn’t any more pressure on the team. He said the team just goes into each Saturday with the goal of winning.
  • If Ohio State wins Saturday and Penn State loses, the Buckeyes wrap up at least a share of the Leaders Division championship, but Meyer said it hasn’t been mentioned this week.
  • Meyer said the main question is “how good are we?” He said sometimes they can be really good, others times not so much.
  • Roby said there is inside pressure, just in the sense that OSU set out to be undefeated and still has that goal to accomplish. But he said no outside forces have added any pressure.
  • A big call in last Saturday’s game at Penn State was the holding call against Penn State on a punt. Meyer said Bryce Haynes’ ability to get down the field so quick created that penalty.
  • Miller said the biggest thing he needs to improve in his passing game is his footwork.
  • After taking a beating all season, he said he is welcoming the bye week. But that wasn’t the consensus on the team.
  • Roby said the bye week is coming too late in the season. He said the Buckeyes need to be on the national radar every week and that won’t be the case next week.
  • With the Heisman race heating up, Miller said it’s an honor to be mentioned for the award.
  • Roby originally committed to Vanderbilt to be a wide receiver. Every time he sees Vandy highlights on ESPN he said he thinks about what would have happened had he gone there.
  • Illinois’ wide receivers haven’t been stellar so far, but Roby said they are young and talented and should not be taken lightly.
  • Ohio State has had a lot of close games with less talented teams this season. Roby said it’s a mental issue. He said the topic has been addressed this week and that the team needs to always play at a high level.
  • Roby said the defensive improvements the past week have been partly due to a simplified approach. Roby believes the defense is on the right path. He said no defense plays perfect.
  • Zach Boren has been a leader on defense since he moved over, according to Roby. There are no worries about him executing his job.
  • Defensive lineman Noah Spence said he has been studying the playbook more lately.
  • College football has been a tough transition as he expected. He said his welcome to college football moment came on the first day of practice when contact drills took place.
  • Spence, like Roby, believes the schemes Ohio State has run on defense the past few games fits the personnel better. He believes it has added extra pressure on the quarterbacks.

Comments Show All Comments

cbusbuckeye's picture

Love the updates Kyle, so clutch!

One Bad Buckeye's picture

Roby originally committed to Vanderbilt to be a wide receiver. Every time he sees Vandy highlights on ESPN he said he thinks about what would have happened had he gone there

Not sure what to read into this...

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

cbusbuckeye's picture

He has said before that he wants to be a two way player, he is just saying he wonders how he would have done as a wideout. 

Larryp713's picture

I also think that as competitive as Roby is, he wonders if he would've been able to help Vandy win a couple of conference games. They have stayed with some good teams. I think it would be a nice bone to have Roby run a couple of sets on offense, but it is probably too late for Illinois, which would have been a great time. Can you imagine if they can work on a couple things over the bye week and break it out at Camp Randall or against TSUN?



snoodogg22's picture

I was thinking the same thing One Bad

Tough times never last, tough people do

razrback16's picture

Clearly Roby would enjoy playing both DB & WR. I believe he asked for the opportunity early in the season and in so many words, Meyer said no, that he wanted him to concentrate on DB for now.

rider1's picture

Should UFM let him play some WR ala Chris gamble? Will that keep him here another year? Is that putting self before team?

cinserious's picture

The 'Great Motivator' might tell Roby if he comes back for his (redshirt) Junior year, he will give him the opportunity to play on both sides of the ball.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Golden Buckeye's picture

I know Roby is lying. They don't play Vandy highlights on ESPN haha

btalbert25's picture

I think Roby comes back anyway, I'm not so sure he's a first round pick if he leaves now.  After next season he could be a really high draft pick. 

cinserious's picture

If Nate Scheelhasse is the main (read:ONLY) offensive threat the Illini present, then expect that fool to get knocked on his ass over and over and over again. I know that whenever a team's shortcomings are in the spotlight it seems like all-of-a-sudden they become strengths against OSU's fickle(sic) defense, but with the way our D has actually started to improve over the last couple games, I expect the D-line to get much pressure and record multiple sacks by Williams,Simon, and Hankins plus  sacks by CB and LB blitzes! It will be a sack-fest and I also see Roby, etc. getting multiple INT'S. The Illini running game will be stopped for many TFL'S as well. Something tells me this will be the perfect defensive storm we've been waiting for all year and maybe the offense goes off from the get-go as well and we see extra PT from Spence/Washington for even more sacks! I predict this game gets gruesome and Urban puts Illinois in it's rightful place for good.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Grayskullsession's picture

They show Vanderbilt highlights on ESPN? Im assuming the ones of them getting stomped. Not much not envy there.

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

buckeyeEddie27's picture

Practice updates, presser recaps and quote book are so great.  Just the meat and potatoes of what's goin on.  love it.

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

Alhan's picture

Thursday Skully deep thoughts:
1)  The game is so close I can smell it! (Or maybe that's just Hoke...)
2)  I expect my game-time stress levels to be at an all time low for this week.  Hankins was my vote in the poll for the fumble recovery, but only be cause I couldn't vote for all 5 of the nominees!
3)  Please, oh please, replace the awful Illibuck trophy with something TMNT!  This might work...
4)  I'm really looking forward to watching Craft and the rest of the Buckeye BB team play this year.  Here's hoping for a great ride just like the football season!  (without the sanctions)

"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

IBleedSandG's picture

That TMNT statue is dope, but it might be a little too large.


Alhan's picture

Nothing is too large for a game of this magnitude!
Edit - Wow, really screwed up where I put this post.  Imagine, if you would, it being in the actual Skull Session comments...

"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

IBleedSandG's picture

I think Roby would make a heck of a slot WR. We know he's got the speed and he's obviously a tough kid.
I think the bye week is coming at a great time, the Bucks can't look ahead to a big-time matchup next week. It would be nice to see them come out and score on the first couple possessions.
Does Spence have a sack this year? I dont think he does, I say he gets at least one this week.


bassplayer7770's picture

Spence has 1 sack so far this season.

lljjgg's picture

And an awful lot of QB pressures, at least so it seems to me! He's in the backfield almost every play.

Boxley's picture

I am already thinking ahead, if Braxton stays all four years, his final game will be at home in the shoe, vs Meatchicken. Can you imagine the send off and the emotion on top of an already excruciatingly emotional game day?
He could be a national champion QB, a Heisman winner, so much to look forward to.

"...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

Boxley's picture

I would tell Roby, that if he comes back next year, he will get a good chance to play WR, but he needs to lock down his DB job better between now and then, to be allowed that extra PT position.
I am not saying he is not doing very well now at his position, but that is what I would tell him if I was his coach.

"...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

osubuckeye4life's picture

I love these updates since they give us more insight into the team.
If Roby keeps up his play, he could be a dual threat next year.