Photo: Urban Meyer / Courtesy: 97.1 The Fan
| BY: LORI SCHMIDT |
Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes are trying to bring home a Big Ten Championship trophy, something the Scarlet and Gray last accomplished in 2014, when they beat Wisconsin 59-0. This weekend, OSU’s opponent is once again the Badgers, but this time Ohio State comes in with two losses while Wisconsin is unbeaten. On his weekly show, Meyer discussed the upcoming kickoff.
• Maybe the most newsworthy thing that Meyer said during his show is that quarterback JT Barrett, whom The Columbus Dispatch reports had knee surgery Sunday, has been cleared to play, and will play Saturday. Meyer did say they’ve been taking it easy on Barrett in workouts, but Barrett was going to practice Thursday afternoon.
• Backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins has developed a lot lately, according to Meyer, which has allowed Haskins to get more out of practice, both his actual snaps and the so-called mental reps. “The way he’s grown up, the way he’s matured, there’s a lot of confidence in Dwayne right now.”
• Meyer has been impressed with the production of the wide receivers, especially given there are some games where they need to be pass catchers, and other games where the focus has to be on blocking.
• “It’s hard to say the O-line is not the most improved group on our team.”
• Meyer on Wisconsin: “Excellent team. Typical Wisconsin, and I say that with much respect. They’re a giant offensive line, a great running back, and a productive quarterback. On defense, they’re gigantic. I mean, where the [heck] do they get these guys? They primarily base out of a 3-4, but they play both. They don’t blitz a lot, but when they do, they’re very good.”
• The Buckeye defense needs to focus on tackling Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor low. “We call that kill the engine,” Meyer said. “Wrap the legs up and get him down.”
• The early signing period has had a lot of consequences, one of which it has sped up the pace at which schools attempt to conduct coaching searches. Meyer said two of his assistants have been approached about head coaching jobs in recent weeks. “And one assistant coach just turned down an opportunity to go be a coordinator somewhere. I don’t want to have those conversations now, because we expect laser focus.”
Ohio State and Wisconsin play the Big Ten Championship Game this Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Network pregame starts at 6:30 that evening, and our local shows kick off at 2:30 p.m.