No position group came under more scrutiny after Ohio State's 55-24 loss to Iowa than the Buckeyes’ linebackers.
They had trouble covering Hawkeyes tight ends, who caught four touchdown passes, and generally looked as if they missed several assignments.
“This past week was not good at all,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said in the Big Ten coaches teleconference Tuesday. “Up to this point, they’ve been playing very solid, and sometimes very good. The week before (against Penn State), they played very, very well. This week, we did not.”
Senior linebacker Chris Worley, one of Ohio State’s co-captains, said he took the performance of his position group personally.
“I think I heard (defensive lineman) Tyquan (Lewis) and (center) Billy (Price) say (after the game) that they took it personal because as a leader if you’re not playing well, that’s a reflection on you. I definitely took it as a reflection on me.”
With Worley, senior Dante Booker and junior Jerome Baker, the Buckeyes have experience at linebacker. But it has not been a consistently dominating unit.
“We have good linebackers,” defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said. “We have to get them to do their job. If they’re not, you have to examine why. That’s why you coach.
“It hurts, but it’s our job. Look in the mirror and find out. Unfortunately, we lost one because of it.”
back vs. Spartans
After missing the Iowa game with a head injury, receiver/kickoff returner Parris Campbell is expected back for Saturday’s game against Michigan State.
“He’s been cleared,” Meyer said Tuesday.
Campbell is averaging 36.6 yards per kickoff return, which would rank third nationally if he had enough returns to qualify. He is second on the team in receptions (29) and receiving yards (410) with two touchdowns.
Asked how big a factor not having him against Iowa was, Meyer replied, “It’s big. Obviously, he’s one of the top kick returners in America. He’s such a tough guy and good kid. Anytime he’s not out there, it hurts, like with any player.”
to 13th in CFP
Ohio State fell significantly as expected in the College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night. The Buckeyes, sixth in the initial rankings last week after defeating Penn State, fell to 13th.
Michigan State is 12th after its victory over the Nittany Lions. Undefeated Wisconsin is the highest-ranked Big Ten team at No. 8.