Well, that was quite a weekend for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
On Saturday, the Buckeyes defeated the Michigan Wolverines for the sixth straight year, even though their four-year starting quarterback J.T. Barrett was mysteriously injured by a cameraman on the sideline before the game, and was replaced in the third quarter by Dwayne Haskins.
Then on Sunday, reports started circulating that OSU defensive coordinator Greg Schiano had been tapped to become the next head coach at the University of Tennessee. After an outcry from fans, alums, and boosters, the school and the coach apparently parted ways. The concern was reportedly over the fact that Schiano was a member of the Penn State defensive staff under Jerry Sandusky. Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel, who covered the Sandusky child sexual abuse case as closely as anyone, said that the accusations against Schiano were “old, random, nonspecific, (disputed) hearsay.”
It was under these clouds of confusion, conspiracy, and intrigue that Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer took to the podium for his weekly Monday press conference to discuss the victory over TTUN, this Saturday’s Big Ten Championship, and the J.T. Barrett injury.
- Offensive Player of the Game: Isaiah Prince, Marcus Baugh
- Offensive Champions: J.T. Barrett, Dwayne Haskins, K.J. Hill, Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, Jamarco Jones, Michael Jordan, Billy Price
- Defensive Player of the Game: Sam Hubbard, Denzel Ward
- Defensive Champions: Nick Bosa, Jalyn Holmes, Tyquan Lewis, Dre’Mont Jones, Jerome Baker, Chris Worley, Tuf Borland, Kendall Sheffield, Damon Webb, Jordan Fuller
- Special Teams Player of the Game: Erick Smith
- Special Teams Champions: Jeffrey Okugah, Justin Hilliard, Zach Turnure
- Meyer said that seeing Dwayne Haskins perform so well against an “elite defense” in a hostile environment gives the coaches comfort.
- He also noted that the other players are happy for Haskins’ success. When it was announced that Haskins was graded a Champion, Meyer said that he saw confidence in the eyes of his teammates.
- Meyer said that if Barrett doesn’t look healthy at any point, he would be confident in going to Haskins if need be.
- He added that on defense, Sam Hubbard “only knows one speed,” and that he is one of Meyer’s “favorite players ever.”
- He said that he has huge respect for Michigan’s defensive lineman Maurice Hurst, and that he is ready for him to go to the NFL.
- Meyer said that he is not involved in any investigations about what happened to Barrett on the sideline, but that it will be handled by the administrations, and that he trusts them.
Wisconsin, Big Ten Championship Preview
- The head coach said that this is a “somewhat mature team,” so he is optimistic that they can get refocused for a big game this Saturday after the emotional victory over Michigan.
- Meyer said that he has great respect for Wisconsin’s program from the AD position on down.
- He added that his team is energized because of where they are at in the season.
- Meyer said that playing in what might be the best division in college football, it can toughen you up, but it also can be draining as well.
- He said that Wisconsin is “giant up front,” and that he can’t ever remember playing Wisconsin when they didn’t have elite linebackers.
J.T. Barrett’s Knee Injury
- Meyer said that J.T. Barrett has been upgraded to “Probable,” and that treatment has been going well.
- However, he did say that he has not yet practiced this week at all.
- The head coach said that Barrett has had his knee worked on all year, but it hasn’t been something that he’s had to worry about before Saturday’s game.
- Meyer said that this week of practice will determine if Barrett is healthy enough to play, and that his ability to run will be a factor in determining if he starts or not.
- He added that Barrett won’t get the full compliment of practice reps, and that Haskins will split time with the first team.
Greg Schiano Situation
- Meyer said that he wasn’t angry about the Schiano situation, but that Greg Schiano is an elite person, elite coach, elite husband, and that he stands by his coach.
- He said that he was disappointed for Schiano as a friend, and that perhaps it wasn’t a perfect fit, and that they are happy to have him in Columbus.
- When asked about Chip Kelly returning to college football, Meyer said that he is happy that his friend is back in the coaching ranks, but that he hasn’t spoken to him.
- He said that it is a good thing that other people want to interview OSU’s assistant coaches, but that the interview process is draining.
- If any of the assistant coaches are pursued for positions at other schools, that won’t happen until after the B1G Championship this weekend, but they will address that afterward.
- Meyer said that while he doesn’t want to start a precedent, since Hubbard is a three-year starter and has graduated from Ohio State, he was able to participate in Senior Tackle before the Illinois game. However, he added that he didn’t want to speak for Hubbard as to whether he will be going to the NFL, but Meyer jokingly added that he would welcome him back with open arms.
- Meyer said that from his perspective, moving forward, no “non-Buckeyes” will be allowed on the sideline at Ohio Stadium. Whether that applies to pregame or during the game, or who qualifies as a Buckeye, was not specified.
The East Division champion Ohio State Buckeyes will take on the West Division champion Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Championship on Saturday at 8:17 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on FOX from Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.