Ohio State football notebook: Buckeyes are bracing for ‘barge’ formation
Wisconsin might have some surprises in store for Ohio State’s defense on Saturday, but could anything top the “barge”?
That’s the formation the run-heavy Badgers floated out against Minnesota on Oct. 20. It featured backup tailback James White taking a direct snap.
Generally, that’s called the “wildcat,” but the “barge” is different because it uses seven offensive linemen along with two tight ends and two running backs, with starter Montee Ball flanked wide to one side.
The nine players up front weigh a combined 3,173 pounds. And the Badgers like to tilt the scales at times with unbalanced formations, featuring, say, six to one side of the center and two to the other side.
“If you don’t get lined up (correctly on defense), you get embarrassed,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “If you’re not sound, that’s when you get those big hits. It’s like playing against a wishbone team; if you don’t get lined up, you get embarrassed.”
Hard work is the theme
If there is a Meyer-promoted theme to Ohio State’s practices this week, tight end Nick Vannett said it has been pretty simple.
“This week we’ve just got to do our job … it’s been the same every week,” Vannett said. “He said if you work hard Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday practices, it’s going to carry over to the game and make the game easier. So that’s what we’re working on, just trying to do our job.”
That’s not exactly a Knute Rockne-inspired message, but Vannett said the team has done a good job for most of the season, and he said it has been the same the past couple of days.
“Offensively, we’ve done really well with the scheme, and defensively they’ve had some good practices, too,” Vannett said. “I think we’re all doing what he said he wanted us to do, which is do our job.”
Who is No. 3?
With freshman third-team running back Bri’onte Dunn out because of a sprained knee, Meyer was asked who would be at the position behind starter Carlos Hyde and backup Rod Smith. Senior Jordan Hall (knee sprain) also is not available.
“Adam Homan, possibly,” Meyer said, referring to a senior who otherwise is a fullback. “That’s a tough situation.”
As for the possibility of former fullback Zach Boren, headed into his third game as a starter at middle linebacker, possibly making the move back to offense, Meyer said “That’s out the door for this game.”
Center Corey Linsley, slowed the past two weeks by an apparent foot sprain, returned to practice. The only other notable player in question is defensive lineman Michael Bennett, who has been bothered off and on by a pulled groin muscle. Meyer said Bennett likely will be available for some duty.
Dispatch reporter Todd Jones contributed to this story.