It appears that Ohio State sophomore defensive end Michael Bennett will make the trip to East Lansing and could play against Michigan State in the teams’ Big Ten opener on Saturday.
Urban Meyer meets with the media Wednesday night
OSU coach Urban Meyer and various players reported after practice Wednesday night that Bennett – projected as a starter before the season but absent from the first four games with a groin injury – has returned to practice and is in the plans for Saturday. (Check out video of Meyer’s post-practice press conference above -- use headphones for best results. Also, stay tuned for Dave Biddle’s notebook with comments from various players as well.)
After playing and winning four games, the Buckeyes will take a travel squad of 70 to Michigan State.
“You get the skeleton crew, just the guys who are going to play,” Meyer said. “I have always enjoyed road games.”
Asked if the travel squad decisions have been made, Meyer said, “It’s pretty obvious right now.”
He spoke on the health of several players, including:
RB Carlos Hyde -- “He’s ready to go. He will probably be braced up, but he is cleared to play.”
DE Michael Bennett -- “Michael Bennett is not full speed yet, but he will be cleared to play. He will make the trip.”
DBs C.J. Barnett and Bradley Roby -- “Roby and Barnett are still probable. Roby will play.”
Michael Bennett is ready to make his 2012 debut after a groin injury
Meyer talked about the luxury of having Hyde and Jordan Hall both full-go for the first time this week.
“It means a lot,” he said. “Those two are good players and their attitudes are fantastic. Stan Drayton has done a good job with that group.”
At his Monday press conference, Meyer said he was conceiving an offensive package with Hall and Hyde in the game.
Asked if he has put that plan into action, Meyer started to say something and stopped.
“Yeah, I think there is … I’m not going to tell you that,” he said with a laugh.
Meyer said the Wednesday practice was a good one --- even if a late-afternoon shower drove the team inside the WHAC.
“The energy, I was hoping I would see that,” he said. “This is a conference rival and a lot of these guys grew up together. They had some demeanor to them.”
Meyer was asked about his familiarity with MSU coach (and former OSU assistant) Mark Dantonio.
“Our backgrounds are pretty similar,” Meyer said. “He reached out to me when he was at UC. I went to school there and I came up and spoke at his clinic one time. He is a quality guy.”
Meyer said he has been to Spartan Stadium as an assistant at Notre Dame.
“I think (the fans) are right on you,” he said. “They are right there … and it’s not the Buckeye fans or the Irish fans there. I grew up here and I know there have been some great games played there when Coach Hayes was the coach here. I got to know George Perles pretty good.”
Meyer said that QB Braxton Miller is getting closer with his understanding of the offense. It was estimated he audibled on 20 plays against UAB.
“It’s just the normal progression,” Meyer said. “At some point, you’d like to say, ‘Braxton, go run the show out there. Here are your four plays. Pick the right play against the right defense.’ I was able to do that with other quarterbacks. I imagine at some point he will be able to do that.”
Meyer was asked if the freshmen on the trip will have to grow up fast.
“They’re going to need to,” he said. “They’re going to be in there. This isn’t Week 1. They don’t have that experience. I hope the older guys help them out. I think that all changes once the game starts.”
Meyer said they have added some “older players” to the punt team after last week’s block by UAB.
“On kickoff we still have some young players because they’re doing a pretty good job,” Meyer said.
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