Wednesday Practice Update: Northwestern Week

By Kyle Rowland on October 2, 2013 at 7:52p
Braxtongate is over. The QB has no lingering effects from his MCL injury.

For the second straight week, Ohio State will play in the marquee game of the week. College GameDay will air live from Evanston and the 8 p.m. time slot and ABC treatment means the entire country will be watching.

Urban Meyer knows nothing of the sort, though. The Woody Hayes Athletic Center is on lockdown with no semblance of hype creeping in. But that didn’t stop Meyer from saying the excitement is justified.

Northwestern is a good team, the Buckeyes’ head coach said. It’s two teams playing for a lot. Any time two ranked opponents square off should generate publicity. Road game against ranked opponents might worry fans, but players relish the moment and opportunity.

C.J. Barnett and Braxton Miller both said the chance to silence crowds and take over stadiums is something they look forward to each season.


  • Miller is full speed and ready to go, Meyer said. Miller himself said he feels comfortable. He didn’t feel limited at all last week and is 100 percent.
  • The defense is adapting to life without Christian Bryant. Linebacker Curtis Grant said it seems different without Bryant and that the unit is missing his leadership. But Grant added it’s just a bump in the road and they’ll recover.
  • Ryan Shazier came off the practice field wearing Bryant’s No. 2. Ohio State could not confirm whether he would be wearing the number on Saturday.
  • Meyer said practice has been a grind this week. The team has such a short window to prepare for a quality opponent. At the same time, Northwestern has had two weeks to get ready for Ohio State. Meyer said they’re being very cautious not to have injuries in practice.
  • Vonn Bell is a guy whose progression is going to be sped up, according to Meyer. He said they wouldn’t have done it had Bryant not been injured. Now, they need him to step up. Meyer said there’s no choice.
  • Jordan Hall is part of the gameplan and should see increased playing time, Meyer said. Hall only had one carry last week against Wisconsin.
  • Devan Bogard has been moved to WILL linebacker.
  • Meyer said Venric Mark is an extremely dynamic back that can do so many different things. He’ll be tough to defend. Meyer said you have to dot your i’s and cross your t’s against him.
  • Jamal Marcus practiced on Wednesday and should be back Saturday. Special teams are big component and Marcus has been very good this year.
  • Miller said he’s more confident in his ability as a quarterback and more confident in the wide receivers. That didn’t exist last year. He said he can make a lot of throws that he couldn’t a year ago. The main one he pointed out was the bomb to Philly Brown before halftime last week.
  • Miller said the cohesion with the wide receivers really shot off during the offseason. Last year, he said he checked down to Hyde too much when something wasn’t open. Now, he’s going through all the progressions.
  • Northwestern has struggled against the pass, allowing more than 300 yards per game. Miller said Ohio State has some packages that can exploit holes in the Wildcat secondary.
  • During his three-game absence, Miller said he got down at times and thought about his goal of getting to New York for the Heisman ceremony. He said it’s the big games that matter, so maybe he can still make it.
  • Barnett said he got little joy out of the Wisconsin win because of Bryant’s injury. He said the team visited him in the hospital earlier in the week. Today, Bryant was present at team meetings.
  • The Northwestern offense presents many challenges, according to Barnett. He said getting pressure up front will be important and possibly throw a wrench in a lot of the Wildcats’ gameplanning.
  • Leadership became a big value on road trips, Barnett said. Veterans needs to step up.
  • Ohio State and Northwestern haven’t played for five years. Grant said it’s no problem because the Wildcat offense is similar to Ohio State’s.
  • Grant said Northwestern’s two-QB system is effective, but it makes it easier to defend since you know one is a passer and the other runs.
  • Kain Colter is the running QB, though he’s completing two-thirds of his passes. Grant said he’s able to create a lot by having that passing threat.
  • Grant said his own performance was OK last week, but that he is never satisfied. He said he will never became complacent. You always have to strive to improve and be perfect.

Comments Show All Comments

avail31678's picture

I ABSOLUTELY love these mid-week updates and quotes.  Thanks for them. 
I do like hearing that NW's secondary is shaky.  I am expecting us to attack with the pass like we did against Wisconsin.

geoffrsc's picture

+1 Look for Braxton to have a career passing day.

holtzy's picture

I would also look for Roby to have a great game.  He is the type to respond well to all the criticism.

unholy bucknut's picture

Oh Roby is shutting us up this week for sure I myself would love to see a multiple interception day for Roby.

BuckeyeSouth's picture

Thanks for the update, Kyle.  You might need to fix this:
"Grant said Northwestern’s two QB system is effective, but it makes it easier to defend since you know one is a passer and the other throws."
EDIT:  Once I reread it, I get it.  One is an accomplished passer and the other just throws the ball.  My bad.

Champions.  Undisputed.  

InHartWeTrust's picture

"One is a passer, one throws"

That is deep stuff, but it's a typo I think.

pjtobin's picture

I hope Xbrax blows up the rest of the season so he can at least be a nominee. Having a goal to be the best is great to hear!

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

njclebuckeye5's picture

Bogard to WILL permanent?

Lobs it to the endzone... Touchdown Devin Smith!!

RedStorm45's picture

My thoughts exactly.  Tre Johnson get bumped down?

TheBadOwl's picture

Could just be a depth thing, but either way, Bogard is going to be successful.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

FitzBuck's picture

Wonder what the main reason was

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

Earle's picture

Johnson is not going to get many reps behind Shazier, unless he get's hurt.  Has he played too much already to redshirt?  Guessing he didn't see action against Wisconsin, unless it was on special teams.

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

steveoz49's picture

I wonder if this means Trey and Mike will get Redshirted....

TheBadOwl's picture

Trey's already played quite a bit this year, actually.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

TheBadOwl's picture

I saw Bryant today at the library getting his study on. I thought that was awesome to see. If that had happened to me, I probably wouldn't leave my bed for a week.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

holtzy's picture

I love to hear stuff like this about our players.  Just proves his high character.

Hovenaut's picture

That's awesome to read...appreciate you sharing that TBO. That is high character info right there, would never get that from the media (forgiving the 11W staff of course).

Christian Bryant, student-athlete, moving forward.

dubjayfootball90's picture

The last bullet leads me to believe that Grant is going to really step it up the remainder of the year and continue to grow moving forward and become an unstoppable force.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

southbay's picture

I think I will always like Curtis Grant regardless of how well he does.  A lot of guys would have given up or transferred after the way things didn't work out for him last year.  At the very least I think he has been solid and continuing to improve so far this season.  

saltybuck61's picture

I think so too. I believe that he has done a fine job this season and will continue to get better. Love to see the drive.

nm_buck's picture

Is it just me or is Braxton a totally different person this season in his interviews?  Seems to be way more confident... much more open.  He is a man this season....

"The future is bright at Ohio State."  - Urban Meyer 1/1/15

saltybuck61's picture

I couldn't agree more. Last year he seemed hesitant, nervous, and a bit shaky confidence wise. It seems to me like he has made a complete 180 in terms of speaking out and having confidence. I love what I am seeing out of him.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

After what happened in 2006 I lost interest in the Heisman.  I know it's a cliche, but football is a team sport and individual awards don't mean all that much.  The Heisman can be a bit of a curse relative to winning a NC.  If the bucks beat TTUN, win the B1G, win a BCS bowl game (the NC would be awesome obviously) then the Heisman would be a nice "icing on the cake".  Really, I'd like to see the bucks put away some teams in the B1G by the end of the third quarter and have Kenny G. and Elliot etc. come in and mop up, rest Miller, Hyde and Hall some so they are strong at the end of the season.  That would of course affect Miller's stats, which Heisman candidates need.  Don't care.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

droessl's picture

Is this the first time Braxton has been open about the Heisman being a goal of his? I don't remember seeing that before. 

Buckeye_Ryan's picture

He has said before that it was a goal of his. I remember something in the offseason where Urban mentioned that he never knew Braxton thought about the Heisman until Braxton told him he wanted to win it - or something along those lines.

Born a Buckeye, raised a Buckeye, will die a Buckeye.

droessl's picture

Ahhh yea, that does sound familiar now.  Thanks! 

Buckeye_Ryan's picture

Absolutely! That said, the selfish fan in me would rather see a National Championship with Braxton not holding the coveted Heisman trophy than to see him win it and the team not win the Natty. I'm sure most would agree though.

Born a Buckeye, raised a Buckeye, will die a Buckeye.

gobucks96's picture

Love to see Hall get some of Braxton's carries myself..