With Braxton Miller out for the season after tearing his labrum, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer had one message to his offensive line during Tuesday's practice:
"Everyone has to go a little bit harder," Meyer said during the Big Ten coaches teleconference. "Braxton made a lot of bad plays right with his athleticism."
With that said, the fifth-ranked Buckeyes have a meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. tonight about how they can't control events, but can control their response to those events.
Stepping in for Miller will be redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett, who Meyer said he saw great improvement over the last two weeks.
"All of the positives are coming out right now," he said. "I saw it before the injury, but I'm really seeing it now."
Miller had surgery on his shoulder this morning in Florida. The operation was performed by renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews and Meyer said all reports out of the surgery indicated there were "no surprises."
Buckeyes fans can also expect to see an expanded role for sophomore speedster Dontre Wilson, who Meyer said has gained 20 pounds since last season.
"He was a one-dimensional player last year," Meyer said of Wilson. "We expect a ton out of him and he’s had a very good camp."
Ohio State is also expected to release its depth chart later today.
All 14 Big Ten teams will open play this weekend with Minnesota and Rutgers kicking things off Thursday night. Michigan State opens its 2014 season Friday and the remaining 11 teams all take the field for their respective season-openers Saturday.
On Tuesday, the Big Ten coaches held their first weekly teleconference of the season. Below is a summary of what each coach had to say leading up to Week 1.
Brady Hoke (Michigan):
- "We’ve had a very good camp. There's very good leadership throughout our football team.”
- Hoke said he couldn't remember exactly where he was when Michigan lost its opener to Appalachian State in 2007, but said "Those things can happen and that was an awfully good football team."
- On starting a true freshman left tackle Mason Cole: "The one thing with Mason is that you don't notice him — so he's not making those mistakes."
Gary Andersen (Wisconsin):
- The Badgers open up against LSU on Saturday in Houston. "LSU is a tremendous team. There’s a lot to play for and it’s a tremendous opportunity for our kids."
- Andersen said one pro of playing a nationally televised game is that it helps from a recruiting standpoint, especially playing against an SEC team like LSU.
- The Badgers will have to replace wide receiver Jared Abbrederis this fall: "We’re gonna be receiver by committee and not receiver by Jared Abbrederis this year and our tight ends are gonna have to help us," Andersen said.
- Andersen also noted he has high expectations for Melvin Gordon this season and he's excited for an expanded workload. "Melvin won't carry the ball 35 times a game this year, but he'll be more involved as an every down back," Andersen said.
Bo Pelini (Nebraska):
- Pelini said he doesn't concern himself with where his team is ranked at the beginning of the season and how it affects Nebraska's chances to make the College Foootball Playoff: "I don’t even know what we’re ranked, I could care less. The last thing I’m worried about right now is where we’re at in the end.”
- Pelini also expects big this from running back Ameer Abdullah this season, saying, "He’s gotta fine-tune his game and there’s always things you can get better at, but he works hard every single day. There is more out there for him, he’s still a young guy.”
Mark Dantonio (Michigan State):
- The Spartans are coming off a victory in the Rose Bowl and their biggest challenge is complacency, but Dantonio likes how his team has responded thus far: "I think it's the senior leadership and the culture you develop within your group. We're gonna find out how well we handle the ultimate success of going 13-1 and going to the Rose Bowl last year."
- Dantonio said freshman Malik McDowell has had a very good camp and he expects him to play right away on the defensive line.
Kirk Ferentz (Iowa):
- Ferentz on Hawkeyes' starting quarterback Jake Rudock: "He’s an extremely hard worker, very critical of his own performance. He was doing that in preparation of his first year playing and he’s a better player than what he was a year ago. The biggest difference is he’s more capable of helping lead the football team."
- Ferentz was also asked how difficult it would be for an unranked team to make the College Football Playoff and said, "It's hard no matter where you're ranked. If you play in a tough competitive conference it’s tough to get through those schedules successfully. "
Jerry Kill (Minnesota):
- "Each season is a different team. Last year is a different team than this year," Kill said. "Any time you’re in that first game you don't know what’s gonna happen and a lot of times it comes down to special teams. We do have a little bit more maturity than a year ago because we do have some guys coming back."
- The Gophers open with Eastern Illinois, which has yet to name a starting quarterback: "You have to prepare for both of them and you never know because they may put both of them on the field," Kill said.
Kyle Flood (Rutgers):
- Justin Goodwin has moved from running back to cornerback for the Scarlet Knights because of depth issues and has had a good camp.
- Rutgers opens with Washington State at the home of the Seattle Seahawks, but Flood doesn't view it as a neutral-site game: "They wanted to play the game in Seattle. I wouldn't look at it as a neutral-site game, but it was their decision." Also noted that the matchup between the two schools in 2015 will be played in Piscataway, N.J.
Tim Beckman (Illinois):
- Beckman said this year's team is "as tight-knit group as I've ever been around."
- Wes Lunt will be the starting quarterback this year for Illinois and Beckman said he expects him to be "calm and collected" in his first start for the Illini.
Randy Edsall (Maryland):
- Terrapins open against James Madison, which is coached by former Ohio State assistant Everett Withers.
- Edsall said there's "a bit of mystery" opening against an opponent with a new coaching staff.
- Since joining the Big Ten, Edsall said Maryland has expanded its recruiting a little bit more: "We’re into the Midwest more, down into Texas. We’re gonna go wherever really there’s a player who fits what we’re looking for as a student-athlete."
Darrell Hazell (Purdue):
- The Boilermakers open with Western Michigan, which is coached by P.J. Fleck, who was a graduate assistant at Ohio State with Hazell during the 2006 season: "It'll be fun seeing him on Saturday because I haven't seen him very much."
James Franklin (Penn State):
- The Nittany Lions open with Central Florida in Dublin, Ireland and Franklin said after today's practice the team will leave for Ireland.
- Franklin said some freshmen will play at wide receiver this season: "With lack of depth, we need that. "Whenever you’re the furthest from the ball, you have the best chance to get on the field early."
- Franklin did not want to discuss Penn State players having last names on the backs of their jerseys, but said "it's all over social media." Went on to say he would be willing to discuss it after Saturday's game.
Kevin Wilson (Indiana):
- Wilson said quarterback Nate Sudfeld can be one of the better quarterbacks in the league from statistical standpoint, but doesn't want to put too much pressure on him.
Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern):
- On Northwestern's bevy of injuries, Fitzgerald said: "Any time you lose a player, it's another man's opportunity."
- Fitzgerald was also asked what he most wants to see out of his team on Saturday against California and he said, "We want to win."