As Ohio State approaches the half point of the season injuries have continued to build for the Buckeyes and they dominated head coach Urban Meyer's press conference on Wednesday.
Meyer confirmed that Cam Burrows, who had been serving as the primary backup to safety Tyvis Powell and played the nickel back spot since the suspension of Damon Webb, had surgery to repair a broken foot and will be out the rest of the season. The head coach was hopeful that the junior will be eligible for a medical red shirt.
Unfortunately for Ohio State Burrows is not the only Buckeye shelved for the season. Meyer said that freshman linebacker Nick Conner hurt his knee in Tuesday's practice and will require surgery. The exact injury to the knee was not known, but Conner will not play this season and will be eligible to red shirt.
In more positive news, wide receiver Parris Campbell is back to full strength after a mild knee injury during the Northern Illinois game. The red shirt freshman was listed behind Michael Thomas on the depth chart the university released Tuesday. Freshman Torrance Gibson is also back to 100 percent, though Meyer didn't say that the converted quarterback would necessarily play. Freshman running back Mike Weber is still not 100 percent, Meyer said, as he continues to receiver from a torn meniscus suffered in the fall.
Injuries aside, here is what Meyer had to say Wednesday:
- When asked about the wear that the players are feeling at this point in the season, Meyer said that the staff spends a great deal of time monitoring that. "Everything is charted, the amount of contact, the amount of reps," the coach said. He cited that safety Vonn Bell has 126 more reps now than he had at this point last year. That type of information is reviewed daily and practice is sometimes altered to give certain guys more rest.
- Meyer's emphasis in his Monday press conference was penalties, turnovers and red zone efficiency and those have been the focus in practice this week, he said. "Effort is not the question," Meyer said. He added that he was a "raving lunatic" about ball security this week.
- Jalin Marshall fumbled twice against Indiana and Meyer said that's because "he strains to get extra yards." The head coach did say those ball security issues have to get ironed out, something that only comes with hard work and focus, but did cite the late punt return Marshall had when teh Hoosiers went for the strip and couldn't get it.
- Meyer said Monday that he hadn't ruled out using J.T. Barrett as a red zone quarterback and he reiterated that Wednesday. Whatever they do to correct issues in that part of the field "that has got to be a strength," Meyer said.
- With the Buckeye offense underperforming relative to expectations the brunt of the blame from the fan base has fallen on quarterback Cardale Jones. Meyer said that he addressed both Cardale and the team about the criticism the quarterback is getting on social media, but added that as long as there aren't cracks in the team's confidence it shouldn't be an issue. Criticism is a hazard of the job as Ohio State's starting quarterback.
- While most of the talk centered on the Buckeyes internal issues, there is a game this week as Ohio State hosts Maryland. When asked about the Terrapins Meyer said they have exceptional athlete's and "the best punt returner in America, a guy we have to get on the ground." Like every week, the Buckeyes expect to get Maryland's best shot.