Back at Ohio State for full-time duties as head coach, Urban Meyer joined the Big Ten coaches teleconference Tuesday afternoon.
Three days into his return, what did he say before the Buckeyes (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten) rev up practice ahead of Saturday against Tulane (1-2)?
Below are the top takeaways from the call, which fielded football questions and personnel inquiries as Meyer comes back to the sideline.
- Asked about Davon Hamilton‘s progress over the past year and a half, Meyer mentioned the junior defensive tackle’s development among Ohio State’s best. Hamilton had a fumble recovery for a touchdown Sept. 15 in the first quarter of the team’s 40-28 win over TCU at AT&T Stadium.
- “I think him and (defensive line coach) Larry Johnson have worked well together,” Meyer said. “He is one of our most improved players. Really a non-factor early in his career, but you could see talent and comes from a very good family. He is one of our most improved players.”
- After Brian Snead didn’t make Ohio State’s trek down to Arlington, Texas, Meyer updated the freshman running back’s status with the team.
- “Yeah, he’ll be back practicing today,” Meyer said. “He was — just for disciplinary reasons, we didn’t take him on the trip.”
- Dwayne Haskins hasn’t used his feet much since he took over as Ohio State’s starting quarterback. In fact, the sophomore has only rushed seven times for 23 yards and one touchdown — the five-yard keeper in the fourth quarter to cement the 40-28 win over TCU. As he returns, however, Meyer doesn’t plan to influence any decisions to run the quarterback more frequently.
- With new names in the mix at Ohio State’s rotation of linebackers since the season started, Meyer assessed the position’s performance through three games.
- “First two games, they played very well,” Meyer said. “You have (sophomore) Pete Werner playing Sam. I think he played very well. The one thing that got us out of sorts, to a degree, was their tempo. And we practiced hard against it. But obviously, when you get into real time, real space, we had a couple misalignment issues. But overall, they’re development — I think we had three of the four, two of the three were new this year and when (sophomore) Baron Browning‘s in there, that’s a new middle linebacker as well. (Junior) Malik Harrison‘s been playing great. The other guys are getting better. (Defensive coordinator) Greg Schiano is very pleased with the progress and they have to continue to get better with experience.”
- While Nick Bosa is out for Saturday against Tulane, Meyer updated when Ohio State would receive more clarity on the junior defensive end’s status for Sept. 29 at Penn State and beyond. Bosa left in the third quarter against TCU with a groin/lower abdomen injury.
- “We’ll know midweek here,” Meyer said. “Further tests are being done now.”
- On the subject of injuries, Meyer mentioned Robert Landers among the only other banged up player that came to mind for Ohio State after the junior defensive tackle suffered an apparent injury against TCU.
- “B.B. Landers, he’s probable for this week,” Meyer said. “I’m trying to think. That’s about it. Yeah, that’s it.”
- For kickoffs and punts, Meyer said Ohio State’s starting returners are up for grabs on a weekly basis. Sophomore H-back Demario McCall, junior wide receiver C.J. Saunders and fifth-year senior wide receiver Johnnie Dixon have seen time on kickoffs. In fact, Dixon was Ohio State’s special teams player of the game against TCU after he ripped off his 38-yard return in the second quarter. On punts, McCall and Saunders traded time back deep. Saunders served those duties for the TCU game.
- “That’s competition every week,” Meyer said. “We’ve decided it’s just until someone takes it, that’s where it is. It’s still an open competition.”