Ohio State coach Urban Meyer believes his team will play with a chip on its shoulder this Saturday night when it hosts Nebraska.
Meyer said he has heard locker room talk that his players want to avenge last year’s painful 34-27 loss to the Huskers in Lincoln. The Buckeyes blew a 21-point lead in that defeat, marking both the largest lead OSU has ever had in a loss as well as Nebraska’s best-ever comeback.
(Check out video of Meyer’s comments above.)
“I have heard them talk about this and how we owe them,” Meyer told reporters Wednesday after practice. “Michigan State, they thought they beat them up a year ago. This one, I have heard. I haven’t even brought it up. I’ve heard them say, ‘We owe this team.’ ”
Meyer was asked for his take on Nebraska, which moved to 4-1 with a win over Wisconsin last Saturday.
“This is a tough outfit,” Meyer said. “This is a physical defense. They fly around. They have a lot different scheme (than Michigan State). They try and push you east and west. Michigan State wants to force you into their big guys and their middle linebacker. You can tell by their body types, they are more of the faster guys.
“Their coverage system is all pattern read. You run a base formation or a base play, it’s covered. They run right to it. You have to do some things you maybe haven’t done. We have some things we will try and throw at them.”
At the same time, Nebraska boasts the Big Ten’s top scoring and yardage offense (44.8 ppg, 521.4 ypg). Meyer was asked what his defense will need to do to contain the Huskers.
“They have good players,” he said. “It’s not scheme. It’s about the players. You can scheme them, but if you have bad players it won’t matter. You miss their quarterback (Taylor Martinez) and it’s a home run. (Rex) Burkhead just keeps coming at you and at you. Their offensive line is a good offensive line. They block second-level guys as well as anybody I have seen.”
Meyer said that safety C.J. Barnett, who has missed the last two games with an ankle injury, may not play again this week.
“I’d put him maybe – is there a maybe category?” Meyer said. “He’s got to get a lot better. He’s been limping around.”
Meyer confirmed that RB Jordan Hall is out with a knee injury (partially torn PCL) he suffered against Michigan State.
Meyer believes quarterback Braxton Miller should bounce back from rough treatment in the MSU game. He was sidelined twice in that game.
“He was very sore (earlier in the week) … he was very good today,” Meyer said. “It’s Week 6 and we just played a very physical team. We had some guys banged up. But he’s fine, he’s ready to go.”
Meyer noted that defensive end Nathan Williams still does not practice in all settings, but he is closer and closer to being full-go after coming back from a knee injury.
“He’s pretty much a go,” Meyer said.
Defensive end Michael Bennett saw his first action of the season at MSU in a reserve role.
“Michael Bennett is not quite full speed, but he had a good week of practice,” Meyer said. “He’s a go.”
Overall, Meyer liked what he saw out of his team on Wednesday.
“Today was good,” he said. “We had to have a good day today after Tuesday’s practice. It’s typical Week 6 issues.”
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