Ohio State notebook: Noah Spence backs Penn State no more

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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Noah Spence was a Penn State fan growing up. He even committed to the Nittany Lions during his senior year in high school.

But that was before the Jerry Sandusky scandal and its fallout, including the firing of longtime coach Joe Paterno. It caused Spence, a blue-chip defensive end from Harrisburg, Pa., to change his mind. He committed to Ohio State and coach Urban Meyer in the winter of 2012.

If there was any residue from the switch, it was flushed when Ohio State won at Penn State last year.

“I got out of it,” Spence said last night heading toward a game on Saturday night at Ohio Stadium. “I’m all Ohio State now.”

He has heard from many friends, fans and even family members in the past week. When asked if they were wishing him good luck, he smiled and said, “Not most of ’em.”

More tight ends?

Penn State’s two leading tight ends have combined for 28 catches this season: 6-foot-6 Jesse James (15) and a more athletic Kyle Carter (13). And no doubt coach Bill O’Brien took note of the problems Iowa presented Ohio State’s defense last week with tight end-heavy formations.

Meyer has a sense of what might be coming.

“We struggled with the tight ends in last week’s game, and I know that they (Nittany Lions) like to utilize them,” Meyer said. “So if it’s not concern No. 1, it’s No. 1A or 1B” for the defense.

Spence said the defense has been preparing with that in mind.

“We think it’s going to be a lot of what we saw last week because they could see it affected us a little bit,” Spence said.

There were times in the first half against Iowa when the Hawkeyes used zone blocking running plays that had waves of big men moving Ohio State’s defensive line and linebackers.

“Basically, we’ve got to be more of an attacking defense, not sitting and waiting for the play to come to us, but attack more,” Spence said. “That’s what we started to do (in the second half), and I think that worked out good for us.”

Pink for a cause

Pink will be a noticeable color addition to Ohio State’s attire as it becomes the latest program to promote the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign. The players will have pink wristbands, socks, gloves and towels. The coaching staff and support crew will have shirts with pink accents, including the Ohio State logo.

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports

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