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Urban Meyer addresses concerns over Ohio State’s defense, running game

OSU coaches will need to have their team ready for an explosive Purdue offense on Saturday night.

Matt Tamanini Matt Tamanini is the co-managing editor of Land-Grant Holy Land having joined the site in 2016.

This past Saturday’s game didn’t go exactly according to plan for the Ohio State Buckeyes. While quarterback Dwayne Haskins did manage to put up 400 yards passing for the second consecutive week, the running game was nearly nonexistent against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and even though the defense only gave up 14 points, they did surrender 396 yards of total offense to a team that had been in the bottom 20 percent nationally in that category coming in.

As he does every Monday, OSU head coach Urban Meyer met with the media to discuss the victory over Minnesota, and to look forward to this coming Saturday’s primetime matchup with the Purdue Boilermakers.

You can watch Meyer’s press conference here, or check below for all of the notes:

Urban Meyer Previews Purdue

LIVE from the Woody Hayes Athletic Center: Urban Meyer previews Purdue. ⏰ 7:30 p.m. ABC 97.1 The Fan Full preview ➡️ #GoBucks

Posted by Ohio State Buckeyes on Monday, October 15, 2018

Champions of the Game

Offense: Dwayne Haskins, Terry McLaurin, Parris Campbell, Luke Farrell, Malcolm Pridgeon, Michael Jordan
Player of the Game: K.J. Hill

Defense: Dre’Mont Jones, Pete Werner, Kendall Sheffield, Jeffrey Okudah
Player of the Game: Jordan Fuller

Special Teams Player of the Game: Blake Haubeil

Minnesota Recap

  • Meyer said that Isaiah Pryor played “ok” on Saturday, but that Shaun Wade came in and “did some good things too.” He added that the position is not finalized moving forward.

Purdue Preview

  • Speaking of Purdue, “This will be a big challenge this week. I haven’t talked to the defensive staff yet, but I’ve seen the stats, they’re really good.”
  • Talking about explosive Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore, Meyer said “He’s certainly a guy who can play anywhere in the country.”
  • Meyer said that he knows Purdue coach Jeff Brohm is an excellent, aggressive coach.
  • The head coach declined to talk about the number of road night games this season.

Injury Update

  • Urban Meyer said that Nick Bosa was meeting with surgeon tomorrow, and that the coach is hoping to get the defensive end back at some point this season.
  • He said that Thayer Munford is sore right now, but is probable for the game on Saturday.
  • Sean Nuernberger strained his groin/quad during warmups.
  • Meyer said that Damon Arnette is questionable for the game, but Jonathon Cooper and Malik Harrison will be back. Robert Landers is probable.

Evaluating his Team

  • Meyer said that Dwayne Haskins is making the right decisions on RPOs more often than not.
  • He also added that they are constantly making adjustments, but with injuries, it is tough to make wholesale changes to their scheme.
  • Meyer said that Justin Hilliard is one of his favorite players, and that he is still getting better following years of injuries. The coach said that the linebacker is “pretty good, not great but pretty good.”
  • He said that the competition for kicker between Nuernberger and Haubeil is open.
  • Meyer said that they very much consider some of the short passes part of the running game.
  • He said that it’s hard to run when opponents load the box because “they know we’re not going to run the quarterback.”
  • Discussing the underwhelming running game, Meyer said, “We have two very good tailbacks and we’re making a concerted effort to put the ball in their hands with the run.”
  • Meyer said that they are cautious since this is the eighth game in a row. He said that it’s been a tough road in regard to injuries, but this is a big game before the bye.
  • He again added that you enhance your strengths and work on your weaknesses, and the team does have weaknesses. However, Meyer does believe that the team is getting better. “We can play much better. There are things we have to work on.”

The No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes will face off with the Purdue Boilermakers at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. The game will be broadcast on ABC.