Kicking game gets special attention
Ohio State’s special teams were so abysmal last week that when coach Urban Meyer was asked Thursday on his radio show about a delay-of-game on a kickoff, he started gushing about the Buckeyes’ defensive line.
But that tonguein-cheek attempt at deflection aside, it’s safe to say that the kicking game has been given intense focus this week as the Buckeyes prepare for Nebraska.
“The definition of insanity is when you keep doing the (same) darn thing and you can’t get it done,” Meyer said on his radio show. “We’re going to have to make some adjustments. If it’s personnel or they’re not trying, you blow the whole thing up.
“But they’re good guys. We just have to make some coaching adjustments.”
Meyer didn’t divulge any specifics about what might change. Both freshman Blake Haubeil and junior Sean Nuernberger have struggled with accuracy on kickoffs. The Buckeyes use an atypical strategy of stacking their coverage to the left side of the field.
But if the kick is toward the middle of the field, Ohio State is vulnerable. Maryland’s Ty Johnson returned one for a touchdown last week.
On Tuesday, Meyer was asked whether he considered having his kicker boom the ball deep for touchbacks that would give opponents the ball at the 25.
“Sure,” he said. “(But) we have trouble kicking it through the end zone, too. If it was that simple, I’d do that. It’s more complicated than that. You don’t fit a square peg in a round hole. You do what you can do. We’re trying to figure out what we can do.”
Harsh words for officials
Meyer is a proponent of the targeting rule as a way of curtailing head injuries. But he was upset at the targeting call on Denzel Ward — later ruled to be in error by the Big Ten — that resulted in his ejection last week.
As for sympathy for the replay official, forget it.
“Everybody’s concerned about the officials,” Meyer said. “Who cares about the officials? Denzel Ward had to walk off the field in front of 100,000 people and millions on television. I had to talk to his mom about it. She called me.
Worley to return
Meyer said that middle linebacker Chris Worley, who has missed the last three games with a foot sprain, will be back this week. Worley did warmup drills last week but did not play.
“He’s a leader and a coach on the field and a motivational guy,” Meyer said. “It’s great to have him back.”
“People are worried about the replay official? I don’t care about the replay official. The guy gets paid to go to work every day. Do a better job.”
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is focusing on problems with kickoffs and kickoff coverage this week.