Buckeyes seek more from ground game
Tailbacks J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber combined for just 3.2 yards per carry in the last two games. Buckeyes’ focus will involve more push from the offensive line when they host the Gophers on Oct. 13.
Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. has been lighting up the scoreboard with touchdown passes. Next up is Minnesota, and the No. 3 Buckeyes will try to get their running game back on track.
Star tailbacks J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber combined for just 3.2 yards per carry in the last two games. The focus will involve more push from the offensive line when the Buckeyes host the Gophers on Saturday.
Short-yardage situations have triggered some stress on the Ohio State sideline.
Haskins leads the nation with 25 touchdown passes and is on track to break school records this season. He’s also a drop-back guy and less likely to grind it out in short-yardage situations for the Buckeyes (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten).
Meyer liked having the “Q run” in his back pocket when dual-threat quarterback J.T. Barrett was there. The coach acknowledged some talk among coaches about having shifty backup quarterback Tate Martell come in the game on shortyardage situations.
“Third-and-1 is tough right now,” Meyer said.
Minnesota (3-2, 0-2) has deeper problems, having absorbed season-ending injuries to two of its best players — running back Rodney Smith and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. The Gophers start true freshman walkon quarterback Zack Annexstad , who has thrown five interceptions in the past two games. Freshmen and sophomores are carrying the load on offense.
But ever-optimistic coach P.J. Fleck likes his team’s growth, despite the Gophers dropping the first two conference games.
“I hope everyone can see what we’re becoming, because I can,” he said.
Other things to watch in Saturday’s game: touchdowns against Indiana. One more of those awards and he’ll tie Troy Smith for the school record. Smith did it in 2006 on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy.
Ohio State ranks third nationally in passing offense. Over the past three games alone, H-back Parris Campbell has caught 24 passes for 349 yards and four touchdowns.
If Haskins has another big game, look for the Heisman chatter to get even louder.
Meyer talked more this week about the severe headache that dropped him to one knee briefly on the sideline during last week’s game. He gets them because of a cyst in his head but insists it doesn’t affect his ability to coach.
“I’ve been dealing with that cyst for many years, and we had the surgery (to drain it) several years ago,” he said. “And when it does take place, it’s just, you know, they give me some medicine and I feel fine now. Just something I’ve got to monitor.”