Outside of the coverage linked in the above stories, here are a few things we learned at the Monday media availability.
Ohio State is confident it can solve the Kendall Fuller dilemma.
The Hokies have an All-American cornerback ready to deploy against a depleted receiving corps, and the bet is that they use Fuller to shadow Ohio State receiver Michael Thomas. Their hope would be to neutralize Ohio State’s most reliable pass catcher, but Warinner believes the Buckeyes would have other areas in which they could exploit matchup advantages against Virginia Tech.
“I think you just always look for matchups,” Warinner said. “You look for how do you match up in all areas -- at wide receiver. How do you match-up up front? And find your match-ups and try to evaluate what you can do in those match-up situations. But, yeah, we just have to be smart and prudent about what we do. Again, look at how much do we want to attack him? How much do we not want to attack him? And how do we want to progress with our players?”
And there’s also one overlooked aspect of that equation – Thomas could solve the problem simply by winning the battle against Fuller. “Last I checked, he's a pretty good player too,” Warinner said.
The path to the field still goes through special teams.
If you want to know how the battles at crowded positions like wide receiver are playing out, just take note of who’s on the field for kickoffs and punts. Meyer has long valued special teams as a proving ground for his young players, and he noted that redshirt freshmen Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin have helped their respective causes by contributing in that facet of the game.
There are other things the staff monitors as well, but it never hurts to find your way onto kickoff duty.
“We really watch closely their body weights, their hydration, how you handle yourself as a pro and how Parris Campbell handles himself,” Meyer said when asked what he wanted to see out of the wide receivers. “Right now I have Parris and Terry starting at special teams, and obviously you know how we feel at those positions.”
Noah Brown’s injury was a big blow on a personal level.
The impact of losing a potential starter at wide receiver will certainly be felt against Virginia Tech, but the reaction of the players and coaches the night it happened also showed that it hit them on a personal level. Warinner demonstrated that again today when he described the feelings of losing to injury a player he recruited out of high school.
“For our team, it was tough because everybody watched his growth over the last year,” Warinner said. “Very talented individual, somebody that was going to weigh heavily into what we were going to do this year.
“Personally, it hurt because I recruited him. I kind of knew his family and been to his home, been to his school many times. Very close to his high school coach. So when a guy that you bring here and you have to tell his mom that he went down, that's hard. But they're great people, great family, and we'll look forward to having Noah back with us when he heals up. That will be next year, obviously.”
The severity of his injury is not to be understated, either. Meyer mentioned that Brown was still in the hospital on Aug. 31, five days after the injury, and might not be released for another day or two. However, the team still expects a full recovery after a successful surgery.
Don’t expect to see Joshua Perry in an extended role at defensive end.
Co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash is known for throwing out some unique looks on third down to confuse opposing teams, and so it didn’t defy belief when Meyer casually mentioned at the start of fall camp that Perry might help fill the one-game void left by Joey Bosa.
On Monday, though, Perry said that it’s not something that will be extensively used by the Buckeyes, who will largely go with redshirt freshman Sam Hubbard and sophomore Jalyn Holmes.
“We have little bit of a package in place but I don’t know how much we’ll use it,” Perry said. “I’ve been practicing 99 percent of the time at linebacker. We want to be able to have our best guys on the field, so it is definitely a possibility.”
If Perry does line up for any snaps at defensive end, sophomore Dante Booker will come in to replace him at linebacker.