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Following the first Big Ten and road win of his Ohio State career, Buckeyes' head coach Urban Meyer met with the media on Monday for his weekly press conference. Speaking for 30 minutes, Meyer touched on a number of topics, including what he learned about his team during its 17-16 win over Michigan State and what he expects to see during the first night game of his young OSU career this Saturday.
Parting with Sparty
It may have been just a one-point victory, but don't tell that to Meyer, who was still visibly excited less than 48 hours removed from the Buckeyes' win over the Spartans on Saturday. Given the atmosphere and the quality of competition that OSU was facing, Meyer said that his first conference win as a coach in the Big Ten was even more exciting than his first win as the Buckeyes' coach.
"We played against a bunch of very good players, and we improved in all areas as a team, which was a concern after last week," Meyer said. "I felt this team took a major stride in coming together as an outfit. And that sometimes I've seen that happen on the road. We eliminate a lot of the bystanders, and it was just our core group of players that went up there and found a way to win."
With another conference contender standing in his team's way in Nebraska this week, Meyer is confident that the Huskers will have the Buckeyes' full attention heading into another Big Ten battle.
"Lou Holtz said that, 'You coach your team really hard when you win. When you lose, it's fragile.' For them to come in and throw things against the wall and raising you know what when you lose a game," Meyer said. "That's not how we coach. We coach really hard when we win."
Tale of the tape
Although the Spartans are now in the Buckeyes' rearview mirror, there were still some lingering issues from Saturday's game that Meyer was asked to address on Monday. The OSU coach addressed accusations from Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi that the Buckeyes sent incomplete game film to the Spartans at the start of last week.
"The first I heard about that was after the press conference," Meyer said. "I asked our video staff. They said there was an issue on Tuesday, it was corrected immediately, and that's all I was told. There was no intent or deception or hiding anything, nothing like that."
Ohio State's game film- complete or not- isn't the only tape that Meyer was asked about. The Buckeyes' coach confirmed on Monday that he has seen video footage of MSU offensive lineman Jack Allen attempting to gouge the eyes of OSU defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, and that the Buckeyes' coaching staff has sent the tape to the Big Ten for further review.
"I dealt with that at Florida one time. We had to sit a player down for doing that in the SEC," Meyer said. "Every conference is different. I don't know. I think it gets turned in, and then I believe it's in the conference offices or the team's way of handling it."
After defeating one Big Ten power in MSU, the Buckeyes' schedule won't get any easier this week when they'll welcome the Huskers to town. Nebraska is currently sporting a 4-1 record on the season and is coming fresh off of a 30-27 come-from-behind victory over Wisconsin on Saturday.
"My head's kind of spinning right now because I just walked out of a meeting room that we're going to have to do some things that we haven't done," Meyer said. "I'm not sure how we'll adapt to that."
One advantage that the Buckeyes will have working in their favor this week is that this year's game against the Huskers will take place in Columbus, in what will likely be the only 8 p.m. kickoff in Ohio Stadium this season.
"I'm glad it's home," Meyer said. "I would anticipate a night game, and one of the greatest stadiums of college football, it will be an inferno."
Getting in line
Another advantage that the Buckeyes should have this Saturday is that their offensive line appears to finally be clicking. After only allowing one sack to the Spartans last Saturday, Meyer gave his starting offensive line his weekly offensive player of the game award, which is impressive considering the unit is returning one starter to the same position from a season ago.
"Very proud of their effort and what they did. So it's great to have an offensive line grade out as your player of the game," Meyer said. "You usually win that ballgame."
In particular, Meyer singled out the play of right tackle Reid Fragel, who appears to be finally coming into his own at the position after converting from being a tight end in the offseason.
"He wasn't an offensive linemen at first. Who are we kidding? He was a tight end, trying to figure it out," Meyer said. "His last two games he's now an Ohio State offensive line. When you say that around here, that's powerful stuff."
Despite leaving last Saturday's game twice after getting a little banged up, Meyer said that quarterback Braxton Miller will be fine to play against Nebraska. He was less optimistic, however, about the status of running back Jordan Hall, who he declared as "doubtful" with a partial tear in his PCL.
"I'm going to see more about him today. He didn't practice yesterday," Meyer said. "I hate to see it, because he is a kid that works his tail off."
After missing the Buckeyes' last two games with an ankle injury, safety C.J. Barnett should make his return to the OSU lineup this Saturday, according to Meyer.
"I got a thumbs up yesterday. So I'll know more. I'll let you know more," Meyer said. "Probable at this point.
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