DT / OHIO STATE
As Dre’Mont Jones left the Ohio Stadium field a week ago, he did so with his arms in the air, acknowledging the cheers from the crowd. He did so even as he left prematurely.
The sophomore defensive tackle had been ejected from the Michigan State game in the first half for a late hit on quarterback Brian Lewerke, a play in which he also was flagged for targeting. Jones became the fifth Buckeye disqualified in such a manner this season. He also was the second defensive lineman to be ejected in two weeks, joining Nick Bosa, who had been tossed from the loss at Iowa.
Coach Urban Meyer does not want that trend to continue Saturday when the Buckeyes play Illinois in the final home game of the season. Meyer made that known to defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and defensive line coach Larry Johnson this week.
“Bosa’s, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one like that where it’s kind of in the pocket,” Meyer said of the bump with Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley that day. “But Dre’Mont’s was wrong. So I met with Coach Schiano, Coach Johnson. We’re just going to constantly stress doing things the right way.”
Of the five ejections this season, Meyer has taken umbrage only with the targeting call on cornerback Denzel Ward on Oct. 7 against Maryland. It should not have been made, and should not have been backed up by the replay official, Big Ten officials told Meyer a couple of days later.
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Otherwise, he has been an advocate of the effort to keep helmet-to-helmet and helmet-first hits out of a game that has been under increasing scrutiny because safety concerns.
“There is zero resistance at our end,” Meyer said. “We are proponents of the rule. It’s a good rule. It’s for the best interests of the game and our players.”
Jones can play from the start because his ejection happened in the first half and he doesn’t have a history such actions. His penalty came after he hit a defensless quarterback who clearly had released the pass a step and a half before Jones’ arrival.
“So we’re just consistently educating and teaching, and making sure that (kind of hit) is not acceptable,” Meyer said.