After a narrow win against Nebraska, the Buckeyes are back in action this week with a top-20 matchup against Michigan State.
Urban Meyer and Kevin Wilson took to 97.1 The Fan to reflect on Ohio State's success in the running game, Brendon White's emergence, and improvement in the trenches while previewing Michigan State and its dominant run defense.
Here are some of the highlights.
On the running game
- "They ran real hard."
- "The offensive line set the tone"
- "The second half, we just started wearing them down."
On the running backs
- Urban Meyer mentions Ohio State has two 2,000 yard rusher for the first time in school history.
- "We need them this week."
- Urban Meyer said Mike Weber needs to look for his ball security.
- "They're both very good backs," Meyer said. "Those two are playing pretty good."
On running back blocking
- Carlos Hyde set the tone and then Ezekiel Elliott raised it to a new level.
- "He was one of the best players without the ball I've ever seen."
- Meyer said J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber both do a good job.
On the defense
- Meyer said he was frustrated with Nebraska's final touchdown
- Meyer notes they did much better stopping the big play. The longest play given up was a run of 24 yards early in the game.
- "It's been like a rotating door on the backend of our defense."
On Brendon White
- "It's been great to watch him grow as a player."
- "In practice, he has played much better."
- Meyer said the great players show their greatness in practice, and he's done that.
- "You have to just focus on getting better," Meyer said. "He's just focused on getting better each week in practice."
On the cornerbacks
- "It seems like we've been banged up as long as I can remember."
- Meyer notes they should have everybody back this week.
- "Sevyn Banks is another name to keep an eye on," Meyer said. He said he's really come along in practice and he'll start on kickoff team this week.
On Austin Mack's injury
- "One injury that was devastating was Austin Mack."
- Meyer said they still need people to step up in the X receiver position.
- "Chris Olave is one of our most improved guys," Meyer said. "He's one of those names Buckeye fans will love for several years."
On the red zone performance
- Meyer notes they went 3 of 4 in the red zone, only missing on Dwayne Haskins' interception
- "It's gonna be real rugged this week."
- Meyer said the tight ends play a similar role to a fullback in the offense.
On Michigan State
- Meyer is particularly impressed with Michigan State's defense
- "No. 1 in America in rush defense," Meyer said "Just incredible numbers."
- On offense, Meyer said, "They do a lot."
- "We don't see that much of a difference in the two guys," Meyer said of Michigan State's two quarterbacks.
Looking back at Zach Boren's move to linebacker in 2012
- Meyer said they hadn't talked about it until the Tuesday before it happened.
- "I'll do whatever I can to help this team," is what Boren told Meyer.
- "Within five minutes he was the starting middle linebacker," Meyer said.
- "That's not usually how you want that to happen, but..." Meyer said.
On Tate Martell
- "I love Tate. He's a competitor, and he's frustrated."
- "Frustrated in that he wants to play, not frustrated in that he's been defiant."
- "There might be some Tate showing up soon. He's been working really hard."
On Michigan State's defense:
- It's withstood the test of time," Kevin Wilson said of Michigan State's defense.
- "They're number one in the nation in run defense. It's their culture."
- "In seven games this year, they would have averaged giving up 37 yards a game."
- "At the end of the day, it's tough sledding running the ball, and it's going to be a tremendous challenge."
- Even if you're not running effectively, it keeps them off guard and puts pressure on the defensive linemen.
On the play in the trenches
- "I thought it was Luke Farrell's best game," Wilson said. He
- "I felt us moving forward instead of just getting on a guy and getting in the way."
- "I thought this was our best week," from the offensive line and tight ends
- Kevin Wilson said Rashod Berry did not have a good game, but that paved the way for Jeremy Ruckert
- "The tight end position is probably the second most complicated position on the offense," noting that the quarterback is the most complicated.
- "Everyone talks about the line, but when the tight end plays well that sets the tone.
On patience in the running game
- "Sometimes you just have to wait for the run."
- Even if the runs aren't working immediately, you have to keep pounding it.
- Wilson said eventually the runs start to be successful.
- "We all just talked a little bit about getting a little more patient"
On the jumbo package in the red zone
- "If you're not running the quarterback, you have to add blockers."
- "You don't want to play in a phone booth," but you have to get some bigger bodies on the field.
- Wilson mentioned Joshua Alabi as someone else who could come in on that package.
Ohio State at Michigan State kicks off at noon on Saturday.