In addition to Urban Meyer, offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Kevin Wilson and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano also appeared Thursday on 97.1 The Fan’s weekly radio for Ohio State’s head coach.
On top of Meyer’s updates, Wilson and Schiano provided perspective further for the Buckeyes’ offense and defense as OSU (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) moves on from last Saturday’s 49-20 loss at Purdue (4-3, 3-1) and starts to prepare for Nov. 3 against Nebraska (1-6, 1-4).
- Wilson welcomes competition from Ohio State’s developing backups on the interior offensive line, but noted how jobs up front are not up for grabs right now.
- “Wyatt Davis, who has not played much yet, or Josh Myers, who hasn’t played that (much) yet — those guys are coming along very, very nicely,” Wilson said of the redshirt freshmen. “It’s almost like you’ve got a comfort level of game experience. In some of these big games, you’re a developing veteran. But some of those young guys are knocking on the door and competition is a great ally of a coach and a great ally of a unit. As we go through this week in practice, those guys are getting a lot of great work — not that there’s jobs up for grabs. I just think it’s nice. I think the more players you play, the more competition you have. I think the more greater the environment, vibe of your team and the offensive line. Sometimes you say you’ve got your five guys. Sometimes it’s not bad to throw (others in). I don’t think you’d like to change centers a lot, but it’s nice to because that’s back in the day when you were snapping it (under center). Nowadays that you’re throwing it, it’s a little bit different. I think it’d be nice to continue to enhance our line and play some of these guys down the stretch. I think we’re going to need them, to tell you the truth.”
- At tight end, Wilson broke down the position-by-committee approach across the development of its three current contributors in the offensive game plan.
- “Sometimes (sophomore) Luke (Farrell), as a tall guy, can get a little tall in things we’re doing,” Wilson said. “But they’re fighting, they’re straining, they’re getting stronger. Both he and (junior) Rashod (Berry) are 250. (Freshman Jeremy) Ruckert’s at 245, same as (sophomore Jake) Hausmann. So they’ve got decent size. They don’t lack courage. They’ve got toughness. They’re getting tougher. The more they play, the better they get. They’re going to be at the point of attack. Hopefully, we can keep going to even get them both on the field at the same time, too.”
- On the note of more time with Farrell and Berry involved at the same time, Wilson went a step further and considered how Ruckert might receive more snaps.
- “Early in the season, the first couple games, we were getting them eight or 10 (plays a game) and that’s not counting short-yardage and goal-line (situations),” Wilson said. “Just flows of the game. The last few games, I think we’ve gotten away from it. I think with the open date, with the injury we’ve had there with (junior wide receiver) Austin Mack, maybe that group gets more involved in the weeks to come and down the stretch. Also, I think that helps us run the ball and get some cutoff blocks and separation you need to get some running lanes.”
- Schiano discussed Wednesday how Ohio State missed 20 tackles against Purdue, which remains an ongoing point of emphasis throughout the week.
- “That’s something that we need to emphasize around here,” Schiano said. “We do it all season long. The Wednesday before the bowl game last year, we’re doing live tackling drills. I don’t know. It’s certainly not a lack of not wanting to do it or guys doing it. It’s just kind of a perfect storm. We missed some tackles.”
- Meyer mentioned the shift in redshirt freshman Shaun Wade‘s focus from cornerback , where Schiano said sophomore Isaiah Pryor‘s spot remains unresolved.
- “We’ve had several different combinations out there,” Schiano said. “That’s going to happen. I’m not opposed to that. You’d like to do that by choice, though, and not by necessity. That’s kind of where we’ve been for several different reasons. Quite frankly, the competition at the safety spot opposite of (junior) Jordan Fuller hasn’t been settled yet. That’s not a good thing in week nine. It’s going back and forth, but just keep going. Sometimes it happens and sometimes you’re going to have to wait a little bit, but I think you’ll have to let it play itself out. Again, they’re all guys that have a lot of time left. So I think that when it starts to fall into order, it’ll stay that way.”
- One bright spot has been junior linebacker Malik Harrison, whom Schiano described as improved in versatility between coverage and pass-rush situations.
- “I think he definitely has (taken a step forward),” Schiano said. “He has done so much for us as far as playing first- and second- down base linebacker. Then in the third-down package, he plays linebacker, he plays kind of a hybrid rusher.”