The Buckeyes moved to 5-0 with a 34-27 win over Indiana Saturday and as Urban Meyer is fond of saying, that gives the team an option to go 6-0. But Ohio State left Bloomington a little worse for wear.
Meyer confirmed that wide receiver Corey Smith is out for the season after suffering a leg injury against the Hoosiers, one the coach called similar to the broken leg receiver Noah Brown suffered before the start of the season.
“One of my favorite players,” Meyer said of Smith. “My heart bleeds for that guy.”
The coach added that Smith may be able to secure another year of eligibility with an injury red shirt.
In other injury news, Meyer said that Curtis Samuel did not practice throughout the week leading up to the Indiana game due to back spasms and that was why the receiver played minimally against the Hoosiers.
Raekwon McMillan left the game against Indiana with a migraine issue, Meyer said, but the middle linebacker is fine now.
Injuries aside, here is what Meyer had to say after the narrow escape from Bloomington.
- Meyer did say that the receivers played much better as a group than they had. “They were challenged about perimeter blocking and it was the best we’ve had,” Meyer said. As a result, four receivers graded as champions in Smith, Dontre Wilson, Michael Thomas and Braxton Miller.
- Miller graded as a champion – a result of his effort and blocking, Meyer said – despite just two touches that combined to gain just five yards. The receiver lost nine yards on Ohio State’s first play from scrimmage, a play Meyer blamed himself for as a corner blitz eliminated Miller’s chance to get to the edge on a jet sweep. Miller played about 30 plays against the Hoosiers, Meyer said, but he only got two touches because “the defense directs where the ball goes.”
- At the conclusion of the press conference Meyer was asked if the staff had thought about using J.T. Barrett as a red zone quarterback as the coach has had success with that strategy in previous coaching stops. The coach said the staff had spoken about the opportunity there but “at this time we haven’t made any decisions about that,” Meyer said.
- Meyer said that previous areas of strength, turnovers and red zone success, have not been good this season. The Buckeyes have scored touchdowns on just 37.5 percent of their red zone trips this season, 121st in the nation. Ohio State is 99th nationally in penalty yardage. Because of that the Buckeyes aren’t maximizing their potential, Meyer said.
- The Buckeyes have also struggled in converting third downs, an issue of timing and execution, Meyer said.
- Defensively, Joey Bosa, Tommy Schutt, Vonn Bell, Gareon Conley, Joshua Perry , McMillan and Darron Lee all graded as champions while Tyquan Lewis and Adolphus Washington were players of the game on that side of the ball. Joe Burger was the special team’s player of the game.
- Meyer was asked if when he watches film of the Buckeyes he sees a team that is close to being great. “This time I did,” the coach said of the Indiana film. “This is one of the hardest we played in the last two years.” The effort is where the coach wants it to be and the mistakes are fixable.