Ohio State football notebook: Corey Brown more involved in passing game
Corey Brown led Ohio State with 60 catches last year. But he had only two in the Buckeyes’ season-opening win over Buffalo, which prompted a conversation last week between him and coach Urban Meyer.
“He told me that he was going to try to get me more involved,” Brown said.
And so he did. Brown caught six passes, including five in the first quarter of Ohio State’s 42-7 win over San Diego State yesterday. Brown had a team-high 73 yards and two touchdowns.
Both TDs came on throws from backup quarterback Kenny Guiton, who replaced an injured Braxton Miller in the first offensive series. The second one, in the third quarter, featured Brown making a twisting catch after working himself open on a post-corner route.
“Coach (Tom) Herman (offensive coordinator) and coach Meyer came up with a good game plan, and the offense as a whole, we executed it well,” Brown said. “I was just one of the ones blessed enough to catch the passes.”
Happy to be back
As long as Bradley Roby stays out of legal trouble through Aug.16, he won’t have any mark against him for the July situation in a Bloomington, Ind., bar that led to his initial arrest on a charge of misdemeanor battery. Yet the junior cornerback knew he would pay a price with Meyer for at least being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Roby was suspended from the opener and made his 2013 debut yesterday.
“I understood. I made the program look bad and I had to pay the consequences,” Roby said after the game. “Of course I hated not playing, but it was something I understood had to be done.”
A full family again
The Buckeyes’ other cornerback, Doran Grant, said the return of Roby and safety C.J. Barnett made a significant difference. Barnett missed the opener because of a sprained ankle.
“It helped a lot,” said Grant, who had an interception. “Having him and C.J. back, it’s just a good feeling. You can feel the electricity throughout the defense and the team. It’s having your brothers back.”
Grant was not surprised that he was busier than he was a week ago, when Buffalo went after Armani Reeves, Roby’s replacement.
“It seemed like San Diego State shied away from (Roby), obviously,” Grant said. “That shows the respect he has and what I’m trying to earn.
A budding star?
Defensive tackle Michael Bennett was singled out for praise by Meyer after the junior forced a fumble that he recovered on a sack and later had a stop in the San Diego State backfield that set up a touchdown.
“He’s a difference-maker right now,” Meyer said. “I can’t think of a guy playing better. He’s a perfect example of hard work, because this time last year he was nonexistent. When he went in, he was a liability. Now he goes in and he’s one of the leaders on our defense.”
Bennett, who was slowed by a groin injury much of last season, downplayed his performance.
“I really didn’t have that good of a game,” he said. “I had a couple good plays, but there was a lot of stuff I need to get better at.”
Earning his time
OSU defensive tackle Chris Carter — a massive presence at 6 feet 4, 340 pounds — had never played as much as he did yesterday, except in scrimmages. But he was in on two tackles against San Diego State, and primarily was employed to push the pile and eat up two blockers in the middle of the formation. He also recovered a fumble in the final minute after a sack by Jamal Marcus.
“I think he has improved,” co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers said of Carter, a former offensive lineman. “And we had a little package today that had him in it because of their (emphasis on the) run game.”
A week ago, the Buckeyes admitted easing their foot off the gas pedal against Buffalo, and the Bulls made a game of it for a while as a result.
Avoiding a repeat was a point of emphasis this week, and they accomplished it, though the fourth quarter was a snooze. Left guard Andrew Norwell said the more-pleasant weather helped.
“It was 30 degrees cooler,” he said. “That made a big difference. We kept grinding and going out and attacking them.”
Recipe for disaster
San Diego State coach Rocky Long not only lamented his team’s failure to get a first down as it fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter, but was just as upset about his team consistently giving the Buckeyes good field position.
“Ohio State always started with the ball at or near the 50-yard line every time and scored three out of four of ’em,” he said.