With three consecutive blowout victories for the Ohio State football team, the sting of the Oklahoma loss seems more distant because the Buckeyes continue to correct the deficiencies from that game.

“We're starting to see areas that needed to improve improving,” coach Urban Meyer said Monday in his weekly press conference.

Army, UNLV and Rutgers are hardly on Ohio State’s talent level, so Meyer tempered his optimism. Asked about the Buckeyes’ passing game, which has put up big numbers the last three games, he replied, "We're optimistic and pleased, but we're also realistic.”

This week’s game against Maryland should pose more of a test. The Terrapins (3-1) have lost their top two quarterbacks, but they built on their season-opening win over Texas with a victory at Minnesota last week.

“This will be a nice challenge,” Meyer said.

On the injury front, Meyer said defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones won’t play Saturday after injuring his leg in the locker room during the week. He suffered a cut that required stitches. Meyer said he expects Jones back for the Nebraska game Oct. 14.

Meyer said middle linebacker Chris Worley (foot sprain), who was held out of the Rutgers game, is probable for Maryland. Third-string running back Antonio Williams is questionable.

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Meyer said safety Erick Smith will not play this week. Smith is not injured and Meyer has not specified his transgression.

“He has to handle his business,” Meyer said.

Meyer added that place-kicker Sean Nuernberger, who is 7 for 7 on field goals, will take over kickoff duties from freshman Blake Haubeil. Ohio State’s kickoff coverage was excellent against Rutgers, but Meyer said he remains displeased with the kickoffs.

Meyer opened his news conference by expressing his horror at the Las Vegas tragedy. Two Buckeyes — freshmen Tate Martell and Haskell Garrett — are from Las Vegas.

The kickoff for the Nebraska game will be at 7:30 p.m. FS1 will televise the game.

brabinowitz@dispatch.com

@brdispatch

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