THE RANKING of the Ohio State Buckeyes, who will face the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington, Ind., Saturday, has improved to No. 8 in the Associated Press writers' poll, but their scholarship reductions as well as injuries are being felt.
When asked at his press conference Monday about the depth or lack of depth on the offensive line and number of scholarships, OSU head football coach Urban Meyer said, "We are definitely feeling the issues of a scholarship reduction - absolutely we are. Any time there is transition of a coaching staff, there is transition of players, and we're feeling that in a big way. When we lost a couple of D (defensive) linemen, that hurt us bad. It doesn't show until someone gets a turf toe or someone has an issue, that it really starts to surface, and we're at that point right now."
It's not unusual for injuries to be a problem at this point in the football season. "Everywhere across the country by game six, there are injuries," OSU running backs and tight ends coach Tim Hinton told a Cleveland writer. "Those extra bodies all add up, and you can never have enough depth."
Like other teams, the Buckeyes are adversely affected by injuries and extra care is being given to quarterback Braxton Miller, who continues his winning ways.
Miller doesn't miss a moment of practice, according to Meyer, who added, "He can't and won't want to." The coach, however, said the QB isn't hit in practice.
It might astonish some to know that Braxton Miller really can't walk so, therefore, is unable to run.
During the press conference, one sportswriter said that a Zanesville couple whose last name is Miller, named their baby, Braxtin, changing "O" for an "I" in the first name "to make it more girly."
Miller, whose dynamics have earned praise from Meyer and other coaches, was named the Davey O'Brien quarterback of the week after the Nebraska game. It was his fourth game this season and fifth of his career of 300 or more yards of total offense with 313 yards in last week's game.
His game included a school quarterback record 186 rushing yards, and he's second in the Big Ten with 763 rushing yards and 11th nationally with 127.1 yards per game.
He wasn't the only Buckeye to receive honors for the week. John Simon, senior defensive end, was named the Lott IMPACT national player of the week and the College Football Performance Award national defensive player of the week as well as the Chuck Bednarik Award's national player of the week. Junior running back Carlos Hyde was selected as the Big Ten's co-offensive player of the week, and junior receiver/punt returner Corey Brown was named the Big Ten's special teams player of the week. Ryan Shazier is third in the Big Ten with 59 tackles and fourth with 9.8 tackles per game.
The Hoosiers lead the Big Ten in passing offense and kickoff returns and are second in total offense.
Hoosier defensive tackle Adam Replogle leads all Big Ten defensive linemen and shares 13th in the Big Ten with teammate and linebacker David Cooper at 7.2 tackles a game. Third in the Big Ten with eight passes defended is Indiana cornerback Brian Williams, and nickel back Greg Heban is tied for sixth with six.
Included among the other rated Hoosier players are Cody Latimer, fourth in the Big Ten in receiving yards, 72.6, and tied for ninth in receptions, 4.0, and Shane Wynn tied for fourth in receptions with 5.6 while Kofi Hughes is seventh in receiving yards with 62.0.
The Hoosiers' overall record is 2-3 and 0-2 in the Big Ten. They defeated Indiana State, 24-7 and UMass (Foxborough, Mass.), 45-6, and were beaten by Ball State, 41-39, Northwestern, 44-29 and Michigan State, 31-27. OSU leads the all-time series with Indiana, 67-12-5.
When commenting about the Hoosiers' second-year head football coach Kevin Wilson, Meyer mentioned past games in which they coached against each other and also noted, "Offensively, that guy's a heck of a coach. ... He's an innovator. ... He's a very good coach. They're getting better in all phases."
Although Wilson said it was nice to be called an innovator, he added, "I'm not an innovator as much as we're trying to teach guys to play hard and play physical. ... there's fundamentals in basics that win, and that's what they do at Ohio State and that's what we're trying to do down here."
OSU is 24-2-1 against Indiana in games played in Bloomington.
GOOD for Meyer! It was pointed out at his press conference that most of the time, coaches usually say they don't look at the ratings, and Meyer's response was: "Not this coach."
He added that the players are going to talk about it when they go home or walk to class. "We don't talk about it in September. But once it gets going, absolutely, we'll talk about it," he said.
Not only does he know about the X's and O's, but he knows human nature. ...
SATURDAY'S game, which will begin at 8 p.m., will be on the Big Ten Network. ...
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