Ohio State Roster Coming Together in Week 2

By Kyle Rowland on September 2, 2013 at 5:00p
Rod Smith's return could mean changes for Jordan Hall.

A shorthanded Ohio State defense more than held their own against Buffalo in the Buckeyes’ season-opening 40-20 victory over Buffalo. That doesn’t mean head coach Urban Meyer isn’t welcoming back All-American cornerback Bradley Roby and safety C.J. Barnett.

The second-ranked team in the nation doesn’t just have a stable of running backs. They also possess a plethora of defensive backs. Armani Reeves played adequately but was picked on for all four quarters and missed several tackles.

Still, it doesn’t mean Roby will start immediately. Meyer indicated all suspended players must earn a starting spot. The offense will welcome back a bigger faction of personnel as well. Running back Rod Smith served a one-game suspension against Buffalo and center Corey Linsley played less than a quarter due to complications from a prior foot injury.

“We are starting to get our roster back intact,” Meyer said.

Ohio State only had the use of 70 scholarship players, essentially making them an FCS program. Division I’s second tier can have 65 scholarships.

The quickest route to becoming a valued member of the Ohio State football team is to make an impact on special teams, which  was pointed out by Meyer, running backs coach Stan Drayton and cornerbacks/special teams coach Kerry Coombs.

How focused is Roby on his return? As his teammates spent last week preparing for Buffalo, Roby scouted San Diego State and broke down film on the Aztecs.

A full secondary means San Diego State Adam Dingwell could have another rough outing. In a shocking 40-19 loss to FCS member Eastern Illinois, Dingwell attempted 63 passes, was sacked four times and tossed zero touchdowns compared to four interceptions.

The running backs situation involves more intrigue than the comings and goings in the defensive backfield. Smith’s presence brings a bruising back into the picture, something the Buckeyes didn’t possess against the Bulls. It adds another peg in the backfield’s rotation and means Jordan Hall, who’s coming off a career-high 159 rushing yards, could shift to H-back. 

“Last spring I had the intention of making Jordan Hall more of an H, but an H that can come in motion, and that’s when he can cause issues for defenses,” Meyer said. “We’ll see how [Smith] practices, I hope he does earn the right to carry the ball, because that will free up Jordan Hall to maybe help us in some other areas, as well.”

Hall earned offensive player of the game honors and helped spur the Buckeyes’ 23 first-quarter points. After that, though, came a lull. Ohio State was outscored 20-17 the rest of the game.

It left a sour taste in the perfectionist head coach’s mouth.

“Very high expectations. I want to score every time we touch the ball,” Meyer said. “I’m disappointed if we don’t score. That’s, once again, high expectations.
However, we have some talented guys. Our coaching staff has been together and we should have been better. We came out of the gate the way I kind of envisioned, and we finished the game kind of like I imagined we would, too.”

Another lowlight came from the offensive line. Taylor Decker was beat consistently, but perhaps the most surprising routine of the day was Jack Mewhort’s underwhelming play.

Decker’s first career start included matching up against a potential All-American and first-round draft pick in Khalil Mack. Allowing Mack into the backfield was not part of the script, though. On Mack’s interception, Mewhort missed a block.

“Well, we get beat a couple times and it gets exposed,” Meyer said.  “For the most part we played OK. You just can’t get exposed. The player they had, his stock in the draft just went up a little bit after playing against us. He did a very good job. He manhandled some guys and did a good job.  So whenever that happens, what do you do, you go back to your fundamentals and keep working and keep grinding. I have the utmost confidence in our offensive line and their position coach. What he did with them a year ago and what he is doing with them now, that they will play much better, and they have to. “

Coaches often say they are teachers at the core. On the practice fields at Ohio State, the Buckeyes’ second week of the season will consist of plenty of educating.

Said Meyer: “I’m anxious to see a lot of improvement.”


Comments Show All Comments

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Good article Kyle.  Good first game, lots to improve on.  Overall, still a very highly talented team.  It's going to take a few weeks for the D to come together like we think they can.  They are young and working hard so it's a matter of keepin after it and busting their butts.  I can't wait for the next game already!
Go Bucks!!

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Hammer shorts?

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

nfischer's picture

Not only hammer shorts, but hammer shorts in a beautiful yellow hue.

Dean's picture

Just as long as it's not maize.

TNBuckeye1421's picture

Reeves played horrible he was targeted all afternoon, missed a ton of tackles, man was open all day long. I was expecting a lot more from him and I'm sure the staff was as well. He looked lost. Had the buffalo QB not over thrown the jump ball in the end zone it would have been another TD grab over Reeves.

NH-IO's picture

Have to say, in my opinion, Reeves' play was not adequate.  It is inconceivable to me that Roby would not start next week if that decision is based solely on what the two have shown on the field.

Hasbro's picture

I'm surprised to see no discussion of Philly Brown's multiple problems on punt receptions. That was very disturbing.

Defiance J's picture

Great point. I was also disturbed. 

TR's picture

I love Hall as a -player. Can he make people miss tackle to tackle, not so much, IMHO.
Two big runs Sat that you could  have driven an SUV through. That was a result of two great "reads"
by Miller and great POA blocking, IMHO.
Short yardage, red zone etc.    Bring on Hyde,Smith,Dunn Ball etc.  That's what they are there
for I would think?     Just some thoughts!

osubuck57's picture

IF Smith, Hyde, and Ball earn the right to carry the rock, fine. After his performance Saturday, have no problem with Hall being "the guy". He earned it!! if they choose to move him to h-back, fine too. Halls' leadership on and off the field will be invaluable wherever he plays. Same can't be said for other 3.


Mirror Lake Jump's picture

I'm excited to have Roby back. think he has a big year,

pjtobin's picture

I love Urbans honesty. What a great dude. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

sivaDavis's picture

I love Jordan Hall, but he isn't the ideal RB in this offense and Urban knows it. That's not saying he didn't handle his own, step in and do what he had to do. Rod Smith/Carlos Hyde are the big backs that can pound the ball. Perfect mix of power/speed. Have great vision and can completely tear up a defense. That's the RB I believe Urban wants in there. To pull a defense up, and let our speed beat them over the top.
Jordan Hall/Dontre Wilson are the H backs. No real threat IMO to pound the ball inside. Perfect for screens, wheels, sweeps, lining up in the slot, etc. I truly do believe we will see the offense come into its element when Urban names Rod Smith the starter and Hall the starting H.

I love the way Braxton throws the ball, still think he makes little mistakes like not throwing the ball away, leaving a perfect pocket when he doesn't need to and now it even seems like he is trying to prove himself a little too much as a passer and is hesitant to run, like at the end of last season. Hope he can continue to grow as a leader and player.

Reeves did impress me for being thrown in there. Everyone knows he got beat like a red headed step child on numerous occasions but let's not rule out a kid for one bad game. I think he was trying to show off what he could do and kind of got lost in the moment. Game 1 is out of his system and I'm sure Coombs will get on him about what he did wrong. Roby is back and I really do think he is going to show everyone why he is the top DB in the nation. He studies like a pro, has all the skills to be great. I'm excited to see #1 out there on defense.
Few other things, I love Hale and Bennett and I might be wrong for thinking this, but if you bulk Bosa up even more than he is, that dude could be an absolute monster I believe. I think he could be a factor right now, moving from inside to outside, vice versa. Almost like a 3-4 Multiple. The stunts and packages they could have on the DLine is scary. Diesel Washington is big enough to come inside and let Bosa hop outside some plays. Hope CJB will be back at safety and be able to provide that leadership. Did Mike Mitchell play? Even on special teams? Jalin Marshall? Saw EZE, Vonn and Dontre but not those other guys. This is my first post so don't tear me apart too much! Love the site and all you ladies and gentlemen commenting on here. Can't get enough of our Buckeyes!

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

lippertini's picture

Welcome, great first post, and I agree with everything you said!

buckskin's picture

Philly Brown has had some nice moments, but he's also had too many near misses as a punt returner in my book.  I wonder if Dontre or Jalin will get a shot or two this week.
Love hearing Urban say he hopes Smith earns the right for some carries.  Come on Rod, now is your chance, seize it.

lippertini's picture

Yup, simply cannot mishandle them so often.  You eventually will lose games that way.

pjtobin's picture

I can't remember if Dontre returned a ko or a punt. But he was elusive and fast. I think he had like 40-50 yds. He is going to be good. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad.