Ohio State football: On radio show, Urban Meyer praises Michigan State, appreciates blocked punt

Bill Rabinowitz
Teammates mob Ohio State linebacker Keandre Jones (16) after he blocked a Nebraska punt for a safety on Saturday in Ohio Stadium. [Joshua A. Bickel]

Coach Urban Meyer reviewed the good and bad of the victory over Nebraska last week and looked ahead to the challenge this week against Michigan State on his radio show on 97.1 The Fan on Thursday.

Meyer heaped praise on Michigan State’s defense, particularly its ability to shut down opponents’ run games. The Spartans are No. 1 nationally in that category.

Offensive co-coordinator Kevin Wilson, who was the guest on the second half of the show, said that the Buckeyes can’t be one-dimensional against Michigan State.

"At the end of the day, it's tough sledding running the ball,” Wilson said. “It’s going to be a tremendous challenge. But we have to do it because we have to keep our balance. Even if you’re not running it effectively, if you’re running it enough, it keeps them off guard and wears on those D-linemen and helps you in pass-blocking when you have to throw.”

Here are other highlights from the radio show:

* Meyer on Keandre Jones' punt block vs. Nebraska: "That was a tremendous momentum-changer. You wish you could have recovered it for a touchdown but we got a safety and got the ball back.” Meyer said the punt block was schemed by Greg Schiano and that Jones was “the perfect guy to do it.”

* Meyer on Dobbins/Weber being fresh because of their rotation: "Boy, we're going to need them this week."

* Meyer said Weber "was loose with the ball" on his two fumbles and that OSU has worked really hard on ball security this week.

* Meyer on Nebraska's TD drive late to make it close: "That was alarming. For most of the game, we did a good job eliminating (big plays). It's been a rotating door on the back end of our defense." Said he wants stability in the secondary.

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* Meyer on safety Brendon White's breakthrough vs. Nebraska: "It's been great to watch him grow as a player. In practice, he's played much better."

* Meyer said Nebraska must have noticed a tendency on OSU's kickoff return that caused them to attempt a (very botched) onside kick. Meyer said OSU evaluated their kick return so it's not vulnerable to it.

* Meyer said he doesn't see much difference between MSU quarterbacks Brian Lewerke and Rocky Lombardi. Lewerke has been hurt. “We’re not going to change. Lewerke can run the ball, too. We don’t see that much of a difference between the two players. They’re both very talented.”

* Meyer on the use of Ohio State’s multiple tight ends last week in goal-line situations: "In that situation, they are fullbacks. That's exactly what they are."

* Meyer again praises receiver Chris Olave. “Chris Olave is one of our most improved guys. He’s a name that Buckeyes will remember for several years. He’s really coming on.”

* Meyer on injuries in secondary: "It seems like we've been banged up as long as you can remember. Sevyn Banks is another name to keep an eye on. He's really come on in practice. A very talented guy." He said Banks is likely to play this week on the kickoff teams.

* Meyer on having fewer run-pass option plays vs. Nebraska. "Those are just day-to-day, week-to-week conversations about how to handle that particular defense."

* Meyer on backup QB Tate Martell: "I love Tate. He's a competitor. He wants to play. Said he's frustrated in that he wants to play, not frustrated in being defiant. There might be some Tate showing up soon. He's been practicing very hard."

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* Meyer asked about Joshua Perry, who visited practice this week: "Hopefully, president Josh Perry one day. I told him I’ll vote for him."

* Kevin Wilson on the OSU tight ends (his position group): “I thought it was Luke Farrell's best game (vs. Nebraska). I thought last week was the best our tight ends group came off the ball with velocity and strength at the point of attack.” One disappointment, Wilson said, was that Rashod Berry missed a block (on the Haskins strip sack). Wilson said Berry didn’t practice much the week of the game because of an injury.

* Wilson said freshman Jeremy Ruckert played 15 plays vs. Nebraska. “He did well. We’ve been working hard to get Jeremy involved more.

* Wilson said tight end is probably the second-most complicated position on offense behind QB because of all the responsibilities the position has. We ask them to pass block, run block and flex out as receiver.

* Wilson described receivers Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell as "exceptional blockers." Said McLaurin was the top option on Dixon's TD catch and when he didn't get the ball, he blocked hard for Dixon.


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