Shaun Wade apparently is in serious contention for one of the Ohio State safety jobs, based on what Urban Meyer and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said on Meyer’s weekly radio show Thursday on 97.1 The Fan.
“Shaun Wade has got a corner’s skill set, but we’re trying to get him ready to play safety,” Meyer said of the redshirt freshman.
Schiano recalled how effective Wade was when tasked at times to shadow Purdue receiver Rondale Moore last week, despite the Buckeyes’ shocking 49-20 loss. Then Schiano added a caveat.
“Quite frankly, the competition for the safety opposite Jordan Fuller hasn’t been settled,” he said.
Isaiah Pryor has been the starter there most of the season, and in the beginning was in competition with Jahsen Wint. Wade, who began the year as the nickel back (extra corner on expected passing downs), has seen more time at safety in recent weeks, both in practice and in the games.
Meyer said on the show the Buckeyes are working during this off week to tighten a defense that again gave up several big plays last week. They also are working to try to find a credible running game.
A focus of the latter is on the play of the offensive line. Though one of the two offensive coordinators, Kevin Wilson, said on the show there are no starting jobs up for grabs, he has been impressed by the progress of backup guards Wyatt Davis and Josh Myers.
“We’re going to need them, to tell the truth,” Wilson said.
Wilson, who tutors the tight ends, also asserted that he would like to see freshman tight end Jeremy Ruckert in the game more down the stretch.
“We should be playing him all along,” he said.Join the conversation at Facebook.com/groups/BuckeyeXtraFans and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
Back to the running game, a point of emphasis this week has been on finding answers to the problems encountered in the red zone, especially as they relate to the running game. Ohio State is 116th in the country in converting on drives inside the 20-yard line, despite being No.2 in total offense (555.5-yard avg.) behind Alabama (563.4), buoyed by being No.2 in passing (383.8) behind Washington State (400.7).
A microcosm of the problem came in last week’s loss.
“We had four red zone opportunities and scored two field goals,” Meyer said, three of the thrusts blunted by incomplete passes on the crucial downs. “That’s a different ballgame if we get in the end zone.”