As he prepares to head into Penn State, Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer said (video above), “We are just completely blown away with our personnel right now” adding on his weekly radio show that that for the first time he can remember, he may not head to a game without a full roster of 70 players.
As you can see in Meyer’s comments above, it looks as though Jordon Hall will be out and redshirt the 2012 season and the Buckeyes continue to struggle to find anyone healthy enough to fill spots on the defensive line. At this point in the season, Ryan Shazier is the only starting defensemen who has played every game this season appears to remain healthy. It’s gotten so thin that recent defensive convert Zack Boren will take starting duties at line backer.
“It’s frustrating but it is what it is,” Meyer said. “Guys have to step up now. There is no dead weight, we have some but dead weight has to become not dead.”
The good news in all this is that it appears that Miller is in good shape and is practicing at full strength (whatever that means at this point), and Corey “Philly” Brown is also healthy and ready to play.
Not that it matters (or does it?)
With a pile of scholarships fading into the world of NCAA sanctions, this may be Penn State’s last hurrah for some time and they are making the most of it. After early season losses to Ohio University and Virginia, Penn State looked to be little more than a footnote in the 2012 B1G season. The past few weeks however, they’ve been determined to prove themselves and now sit second to Ohio State in the Leaders division.
In the world of NCAA sanctioned B1G teams, once again we have a game with the potential to put a great big asterisk on the “official” Big 10 Champion. So much for the championship game folks, either one of these two teams win out from here and the B!G championship game doesn’t look so pretty (or the BCS for that much).
First quarter woes
So far this season the Buckeyes have put us all through some seriously painful first quarters. They will need to find the inspiration they discovered in the last few minutes of the Purdue game and carry it through to the end. Unfortunately, they won’t have the luxury of an entire game to pull themselves together. Not only has Penn State outscored their opponents 66-0 in the first quarter, they utilize a hurry-up, “NASCAR” style offense.
Add the fact that Penn State owns one of the most efficient passing games in the Big Ten and the Buckeye defense needs to find themselves and do it quick. Big plays have been the Achilles heel of the Buckeye defense. Give Penn State the chance to land a few and their won’t be any coming back.
Miller, Hyde and Receivers
We all know that Miller can’t do it on his own and lately, he’s gotten a big hand from Carlos Hyde and his receivers. At the same time, the receiving corps is still prone to dropping the easy pass. Although the Buckeyes need a powerful duel threat from Hyde and Miller, the ability to nail the big pass will be crucial. Force the Lions to protect in the secondary and send Hyde and Miller on their merry way.
Turnovers have also been a problem and we need to control the ball and keep the Penn State offense off the field.
The Loony Factor
We’ve seen Penn State and their beloved “white out” in the past but this may be one of the loudest crowds they’ve put together in a long time. Like I said, this may be a last hurrah for the Lions. Expect them to send their team off with everything they can muster.
Once again this puts an emphasis on the first quarter. Silence the crowd and do it fast. Don’t give them anything to rally around and keep the momentum on our side. Let them get the crowd rolling though and it will quickly become a very difficult game to control.
It seems like every week I’m talking about how this week’s game is the biggest of the season and once again here I am. With nothing to play for but bragging rights, an undefeated season is the best thing we’ve got going. To be honest, that’s just the way I like it. No second chances here folks. The Buckeyes are in control of their destiny in a way they haven’t been in years. As Coach Meyer keeps saying, the best thing about being 8-0 is the chance to go 9-0.
By the end of the day Saturday, the Buckeyes can be 9-0. It’s going to be a tough one but at this point in the season, I’m not putting anything past this team.