OSU players aware of pecking order

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – What’s brewing with the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes …

BUCKEYES BUZZ: It’s not just the fans or reporters who notice who does or doesn’t play right away in games.

Rest assured, the players, who have the most at stake, are paying close attention.

Just to be certain the message gets across, some assistants meet with their position players and lay it on the line before the game.

“The one thing I try to be with these kids is fair,” running backs coach Stan Drayton said. “And I don’t want things hitting them sideways. So they know what’s expected of them in their role to this football team. A lot of those concerns are addressed before the game.”

For instance, Jordan Hall got the lion’s share of carries for the Buckeyes in their 40-20 win over Buffalo. Surprisingly, former walk-on Warren Ball was the next player to get a carry. Then freshmen Dontre Wilson and Ezekiel Elliott got their first collegiate attempts. And promising sophomore Bri’onte Dunn never got on the field.

“These guys get what they deserve, and (Ball) obviously made me feel comfortable during the course of last week’s practice for me to put him in the ballgame,” Drayton said. “He’s a young man who is very conscientious and does a lot right. It was his first time getting the chance to play, so I didn’t know what to expect there, either. But we were very, very pleased with the way he responded.”

If getting playing time is a reward, then withholding it also sends a message. Dunn hasn’t been active on special teams, and standing on the sidelines it might just have sunk into him that he must commit in that area.

Asked if Dunn must throw himself into special teams before he can expect playing time at tailback, coach Urban Meyer said, “That has to happen.”

THE LATEST: After Wednesday’s practice, Meyer said the Buckeyes were relatively healthy. C.J. Barnett (ankle) is back and full-go. C Corey Linsley will again have reduced activity in the range of the 16 or 17 plays he saw in the opener.

Meyer said RB Rod Smith was working with the punt team, the first step toward getting carries. And CB Bradley Roby had a good workout on Wednesday but no decision has made as to who would start at the CB spot.

between him, Doran Grant and Armani Reeves.

GROUP EFFORT: Coach Rocky Long, which leads San Diego State up against the Buckeyes at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Ohio Stadium, says way too much has been made of the fact that he is 1-0 against Meyer as a head coach.

In 2003, when Meyer was in his first year at Utah, Long’s New Mexico team beat the Utes 47-35 in Salt Lake City.

Over the last decade, that has been interpreted as Long outcoaching Meyer, who went on to lead Utah to a perfect season the next year and win two national titles at Florida before going 12-0 at Ohio State in his first year in 2012.

“That’s a fallacy we (at New Mexico) out-schemed Meyer,” Long said. “I have yet to see a coach win a football game. I’ve seen players win football games. It doesn’t matter what the scheme is, players have to execute the scheme. It’s all about players. I didn’t have anything to do with beating Urban Meyer that day. It was the players.”

Meyer has tried to forget that day.

“They got after us pretty good,” he said. “Our defense took a beating that day that I’m not sure I can ever remember our defense ever taking before.”

GLIAC GLITCH: The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Association, one of the finest Football Championship Subdivision leagues in the country, has a big problem. The roof collapsed on its office in Bay City, Mich., ruining computers, paperwork and desks.

So don’t expect any major announcements in the coming days from the conference, which includes members Ashland, Tiffin and Findlay.

QUOTABLE: Long, on whether his team can lose to Ohio State and still feel it accomplished something: “I don’t think there’s ever such thing as a moral victory, but I think we can show improvement and still lose, because (Ohio State) is that good of a team. But we’re not going to be happy or satisfied unless we win.”