Ohio State returns to action Saturday at Ohio Stadium with week 10’s noon kickoff on FOX against Nebraska. Ahead of the Big Ten matchup between the No. 11 Buckeyes (7-1, 4-1) and the Cornhuskers (2-6, 1-4), Urban Meyer and Scott Frost spoke Tuesday on the Big Ten coaches teleconference. Below are notes and quotes from both head coaches with updates on both sides, four days before the teams meet in Columbus.
- Among deficient areas, Ohio State’s offense re-evaluated its run game over the off week. Asked about fixes, Meyer said he and his coaching staff were able to identify the issues on the ground.
- “We have,” Meyer said. “Now it’s a matter of getting it executed and getting our guys healthy, which I believe they are, and we’re going to face a very similar front that we saw (two weeks ago), which is a very run-stopping front, the bear defense, against Nebraska. But it’s pad level, it’s coming off the ball, it’s blocking the right guys and it’s getting the right schemes on against that defense.”
- As Ohio State gets healthy on both sides of the ball, Meyer mentioned junior defensive tackle Robert Landers and sophomore left tackle Thayer Munford among players back to strength after battling recent injuries. Junior cornerback Damon Arnette, sophomore cornerback Jeffrey Okudah and junior wide receiver C.J. Saunders are “all going to play” against Nebraska — Arnette did not travel Oct. 20 at Purdue due to injury while Okudah and Saunders left with injuries.
- “B.B.’s not been the same,” Meyer said of Landers. “He had injuries all along this fall and he’s one of our better players as well, but he’s full speed now. He’s bringing that same energy that he does when he’s healthy. Thayer Munford, we managed him, got him a lot of rest. He practiced (Monday) and he’ll be ready to go.”
- Meyer addressed his plans to remain at Ohio State in 2019 during Monday’s game-week press conference. When asked for further comment on why, he explained.
- “I just love the game and I love players, and I love this university,” Meyer said. “And I want to do it as long as I can.”
- Nebraska enters Ohio Stadium off back-to-back wins between Oct. 20’s 53-28 rout of Minnesota and last Saturday’s 45-9 breeze by Bethune-Cookman while Ohio State returns to action after Oct. 20’s 49-20 loss at Purdue and last Saturday’s open date. Despite the Cornhuskers’ momentum and the Buckeyes’ struggles, Frost approaches week 10 the same.
- “We don’t approach any game differently,” Frost said. “We want to be at our best from a preparation standpoint, practice standpoint every week. We can’t control those other circumstances. All we can control is how we practice. I know what we’re getting into going up there. Probably the worst week of the year to play these guys, but our guys are excited to go up there and play. They had a good week of practice. We can’t control any of those other things. All we can control is our preparation.”
- Room for improvement remains for Ohio State’s run game, which mustered 76 yards on 25 carries (3.0 average) against the Boilermakers in week eight. At the same time, the Buckeyes boast sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who has Nebraska’s attention as Frost prepares the Cornhuskers accordingly against a potent passing attack.
- “We have to cover the guys that he’s throwing to — got to get a pass rush on him,” Frost said of Haskins. “Those aren’t groundbreaking statements or startling statements. That’s a case against anybody. Obviously, he’s as talented of a passer as there is in the country and has a bunch of weapons around him. We’re worried about that. My guess would be they’re going to be a little more committed to the run coming off of two weeks and extra time to work. We’ve got to be ready for everything they can throw at us.”
- Ohio State’s defense allowed 539 total yards in its past performance at Purdue, but Frost still sees speed and talent across the board as Nebraska’s offense looks to continue its recent spark on offense after the unit exploded for 563.5 total yards and 49.0 points across the past two times out on the field with winning results to show for those efforts.
- “We’ve got to play well,” Frost said. “They’re as talented of a team as I’ve seen on tape and as we’ve played, have talent at every position and it really comes down to our scheme and game plan are good and we’ve got to be able to block them and get open and execute well. That’s tough to do against a team as talented as theirs.”