Mike Weber was in uniform on Saturday for Ohio State’s game against Nevada-Las Vegas, but he spent the game with a towel, not a helmet, on his head.
Ohio State didn’t need the running back against the overmatched Rebels. With Big Ten opponents on the schedule the rest of the year, the Buckeyes didn’t want to risk him aggravating his lingering hamstring injury.
On Monday, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer pronounced Weber ready to go for Saturday’s game at Rutgers. “Weber is cleared, and he’ll play.”
Weber entered training camp as the clear starter at running back after earning Big Ten freshman-of-the-year honors in 2016. But the hamstring injury and the emergence of freshman J.K. Dobbins have caused him to see only limited playing time in the Buckeyes’ first four games.
The recovery news is also encouraging for middle linebacker Chris Worley and defensive tackle Robert Landers. Meyer said both are probable for Saturday's game.
The news was not good for reserve defensive tackle Malik Barrow, who suffered an ACL tear in his right knee in the second half against UNLV. He suffered an ACL tear in his left knee in high school.
“Our prayers are with him and his family,” Meyer said. “He’s such a great kid.”
After a performance in which the offense scored 54 points and gained 664 yards, it was a surprise that the player singled out by coaches as OSU’s offensive player of the game was right tackle Isaiah Prince.
“He had his best week of practice and played very well,” Meyer said.
Prince has had his struggles at times, but coaches continue to see progress.
“Any coach would … say if your offensive line becomes the best in the conference, you’re probably going to win the conference,” Meyer said. “And last year we were not, and we did not. So that means that we should be in the hunt if we continue to grow as an offensive line, and Isaiah is a big part of that.”
Agreeing with Harbaugh
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh on Monday criticized the cramped and sweaty facilities for visitors at Purdue and the treatment his team received there. He said the problem is not isolated to Purdue.
At his news conference, Meyer was asked about whether that has been an issue for the Buckeyes as a road team at Big Ten venues.
“A couple,” Meyer said. “And I’ve shared it with our athletic director (Gene Smith), and the commissioner (Jim Delany) should handle that. All due respect, this is the Big Ten Conference.”
No Hill yet
Defensive tackle Michael Hill’s suspension will continue for at least one more week. When Hill was suspended for unspecified reasons, Meyer said it would be for a few games.
Meyer declined to put a timeline on when Hill will be reinstated.
Maryland at 4
Ohio State’s Oct. 7 homecoming game against Maryland will kick off at 4 p.m. and will be televised by Fox.