Dispatch OSU football beat writer Tim May answered your questions about the Buckeyes, Big Ten and college football in general during our weekly chat.

Dispatch OSU football beat writer Tim May answered your questions about the Buckeyes, Big Ten and college football in general during our weekly chat.

13:00:25 newguy: while penn state has a good results record, does their team have any significant weaknesses that the bucks can exploit?

13:01:19 Tim May: Hello everybody, and welcome to another OSU chat. Getting ready to cover the first PSU game I've ever been to without Joe Paterno in charge.

13:03:43 Tim May: Penn State has been playing well on both sides of the ball, especially since it started Big Ten play three games ago. But the Nittany Lions haven't exactly played murderers' row, in beating Illinois, Northwestern and Iowa, not that there is one in the Big Ten this season. But OSU is the best team PSU will have played to date.

13:03:50 skippy15: On Big 10 network they were talking about penn state. 2 of the 3 were claiming that Penn State will be good under these sanctions because of O'Brien even with the recruiting issues that are sure to happen. I don't see anyway they can field a competative team with the recruiting issues we will see. Your thoughts on the future of penn state?

13:04:36 Tim May: As for weakness, yeah, the Nittany Lions hardly try field goals any more.

13:07:04 Tim May: I think this will be the best Penn State team you will see for the next several -- as maybe five or six -- years. The 65 scholarship limit which kicks in next year and runs for a while will be tough to deal with, especially considered the 15-schollie signing limit per year that will come with it. But I think O'Brien has proven already he can coach very well. The jury was out on him, too, having never been a head coach. He has done well in all kinds of ways the past 10 months.

13:07:16 Rob_(moderator): Via email: What's your assessment of of Stoneburner's season? Perhaps the move wasn't a good one?

13:09:22 Tim May: It's been hit or miss, at least in regards to his involvement in the pass-catching realm. But he has been a tremendous blocker downfield on many of those big runs by Braxton Miller. And he had a huge catch and run in overtime last week to set up the winning touchdown. Not sure he would have done much more if he had just stayed at tight end, which in this offense is more a state of mind than a real position anymore.

13:09:30 djscratch98: What, in your opinion is the problem with our defense? We have always had strong defense at OSU! I was wondering if it was the linbackers or the line? I think our secondary is okay.

13:12:10 Tim May: Injuries, and the lack of middle classmen at linebacker along with slow development by the freshman linebackers, have taken their toll. But as I pointed out in a story earlier this week, the defense actually played pretty good last week, except for a couple of gash plays. And when the offense needed the ball back in regulation, the defense came through. And when it needed to make the stop in OT, it did. Maybe this season you just have to be happy with the D being dominant in spurts, or at least when it matters.

13:12:18 ncflash: Do you see this being a game the defense needs to win versus a shootout style game?

13:14:29 Tim May: The defense always has to make a play or plays, especially on the road. Unlike some of my cohorts, though, I see this being game with more offense than you might expect. I keep looking at the PSU-Northwestern game a couple of weeks ago as the harbinger. And remember, despite Braxton Miller having to go to the hospital last Saturday, he is very good to go now. That makes a big difference.

13:14:35 Buck-I-Nut: The Buckeyes are going into HV as the underdog, does this surprise you at all?

13:17:16 Tim May: What's surprising was that line was made when some of the "experts" were listing Miller as doubtful. He's not doubtful any more. That said, PSU is playing well on both sides of the ball, is playing at home, and really, this is the Nittany Lions bowl game the way I look at it, hosting the No.9 team in the nation, the highest rated by far from the Big Ten, with the Leaders Division lead on the line, the only OSU and PSU -- banned from post-season -- can play for this season. Man, I am out of breath after that answer.

13:17:24 Joey: Have the Bucks signed any top linebackers for next year?

13:19:43 Tim May: They haven't signed anybody as of yet, since all recruits can do at the moment is issue public commitments to a school. Tyquan Lewis is commitment who can play linebacker perhaps, but the Buckeyes have really targeted Mike Mitchell from Plano, Texas. He has yet to announce a choice, and is looking at OSU, Okla., Texas A&M and Florida State.

13:20:00 mehtash: From what I can see, OSU is really missing a vocal leader on both sides of the ball. We haven't had one since Brian Rolle IMO. Is anyone close to stepping into that role? I look at someone like Michael Mauti at PSU and feel that he has made an impact with his vocal leadership.

13:22:19 Tim May: Without a doubt Zach Boren is a vocal leader. Of course, he has switched from fullback to linebacker the past couple of weeks. I think Jack Mewhort and Reid Fragel are fellows who tell it like it is on the offensive line.

13:22:34 skippy15: With Jordan Hall's likely medical reshirt coming what does this mean for Bri'onte Dunn and Warren Ball? This will put Carlos Hyde, Jordan Hall, Rod Smith (who seems to found himself playing time under Meyer), Bri'onte Dunn and then Ball. Hyde and Hall will be seniors. Smith a Junior. Seems like a lot of talent will be stuck back on the depth chart

13:24:27 Tim May: Yeah, well, there's only three running backs available right now, and they started the season thinking there would be at least five. You never have too many. And it does appear that the better players play under Meyer, Tom Herman and the offensive staff. Personally, I am looking forward to see how incoming freshmen Ezekiel Elliott and Jalin Marshall fit into the mix.

13:24:33 Joey: It seems that the Bucks continue to be burned by wide-receiver screens. What can be done to stop the damage?

13:27:03 Tim May: Simple. Fellows needs to fight through the blocks. They weren't that bad against those plays the past couple of weeks, except for a couple. But the couple -- such as the 31-yard TD play by Purdue -- are the ones you remember.

13:27:08 worthingtonbuck: Does OSU have a better shot at winning by pressuring the QB more (something we have rarely seen this year) or playing prevent and stopping the screens. Do you think Penn State sticks to their guns or shows us more screens since we are weak on them?

13:30:38 Tim May: I expect PSU to test the screen defense of the Buckeyes, certainly. Why not. And while we're at it, what defense in the country just simply shuts down screens, especially the wide ones? Not many. We'll see if Alabama can this week against Mississippi State. But teams use it because it gets away from the strength of a defense. That said, hit a couple for nice gains and it works to soften the middle part of the defense, which is now wary. As for pressure, a pro-style offense such as PSU now employs would seem to give the OSU defensive front more of a chance to be a factor this week week. We'll see.

13:30:57 Buckeye in VA: Which do you think is more effective against the OSU linebackers: spread offenses or pro-style, play action passes?

13:32:49 Tim May: My eyes tell me spread offenses. The OSU defense did a very good job against Michigan State back in the B1G opener. But it's had its challenges the past three weeks. That said, PSU might be a pro-style team now, but it can spread the field just like anybody else.

13:32:59 newguy: Does McGloin also present a running threat, ala Miller?

13:35:44 Tim May: He's not Miller by any stretch. But what makes McGloin dangerous -- and just ask Northwestern -- is he picks his spots and does a nice job of setting up a defense before he takes off. A lot like Craig Krenzel did in 2002. McGloin and PSU are best, though, when he sits in the pocket and goes through his passing progression, which he does better than any other QB in the B1G.

13:35:54 ncflash: I don't think I've seen Dunn touch the ball as RB or kick returner in the last few games - any insight to what caused his lack of playing time?

13:36:31 Tim May: Yes. Rod Smith got tired of being known as a player who wasn

13:36:50 Tim May: t living up to his potential. That's pretty much it.

13:37:15 skippy15: If all teams were fully eligible in the big ten who do you think the Rose bowl rep is? Ohio state, Penn state both been better than other teams in my opinion

13:40:10 Tim May: I thought going into the season Ohio State was the more talented team in the league. Injuries have struck at many spots which have weakened the team somewhat, stunted its development, too, especially on defense. Right now, it sure looks like Wisconsin is coming on, with Montee Ball getting back in the groove. No matter what happens at Penn State this week, that OSU game at Wisconsin on Nov.17 is going to be showdown.

13:40:21 Buckeye in VA: Are there enough healthy bodies to help with kickoffs? I have seen a great number of injuries.

13:42:08 Tim May: There's always somebody else you can throw into the kickoff coverage unit, but he might not be as good as the fellow he replaced. Of course, the alternative is to tell Drew Basil to put away the three-wood and reach for the driver to knock the ball into the end zone so there won't be a runback.

13:42:19 skippy15: What do you see as the biggest difference off the field between Braxton Miller and Terelle Pryor? I don't know either personally obviously but there's always been the whispers that Pryor was smug, arrogant and kind of a rude, I'm better than you person. I've heard that Miller is almost the exact oppisite and that he is almost to modest at times. Is there any truth to that?

13:45:25 Tim May: They are opposites in that respect, absolutely. Urban Meyer can't say three sentences about Miller without including the observation that he is a humble, team guy. But Miller DOES know he's good, especially at running the ball; he might be the best at that of QB in the country. Nothing wrong with having some confidence.

13:45:33 Joey: Who do you like in the Michigan vs. Nebraska game and why?

13:46:59 Tim May: I think it could be like Texas-Baylor last week. Watch, the final score will be 3-2. But I do think it will be a scoring fest, and in that scenario, the last team with the ball often wins.

13:47:14 Buck-I-Nut: Haven't really watched PSU play all that much this season, IYO do you think they are more susceptible to the run or long ball?

13:50:34 Tim May: The Nittany Lions have a good defense, and the leader there is linebacker Michael Mauti. But you are asking the wrong guy the question about run or pass, because I believe any defense is more vulnerable to the pass, as long as the offensive can make time for the quarterback. Urban Meyer just said on his call-in show a little while ago on 97.1TheFan that wide receivers such as Devin Smith need to step it up this week. Hey, a WR can't step it up unless he has few passes thrown his way. You get a couple of those going, and the running game will find some lanes, too.

13:50:42 al: Is our defensive coach on the hot seat?

13:53:01 Tim May: Any time a defense gives up 87 points combined in two straight games, all involved, and especially the leaders, are looked to for answers. Last week the D played pretty well with the exception of a couple of plays and just one drive, which ended with the defense gaining an interception. But yeah, this is not the kind of play Meyer expects from his defense down the road, that's for sure.

13:53:07 skippy15: What chances do you give Ohio U. of getting into BCS bowl? One thing I've found great about the bowl ban is being able to root for crazy things to happen without worrying about how it effects Ohio State. Ohio is in the top 25 in AP poll. Frank Solich has been great there for that program

13:54:41 Tim May: Many dominoes still have to fall for the Bobcats even to rise high enough in the BCS ratings to become eligible for a BCS bowl. For sure Ohio U. must win out, though. That is job one.

13:54:49 ncflash: It feels like we will need to hit the short 6-8 yard passes to keep the O moving this week - D. Smith seems like long-ball or nothing this year - do you see a WR ready to step up on a more consistent basis from here on out?

13:57:52 Tim May: Smith caught a shortish pass and turned it into a touchdown at Indiana. Corey "Philly" Brown leads the team in receptions, most of the shortish variety. Evan Spencer showed last week he can make catches in that area, as did Chris Fields. And Stoneburner could be a factor, too. But I like the intermediate possibilities more this week week than the deep or the short.

13:57:58 Rob_(moderator): Thanks, everyone. We'll do it again next week. That's a wrap.