Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor
Coach Urban Meyer’s No. 12-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0) will finally face a Bowl Championship Series-conference team when unranked California visits Saturday. Meyer discussed the Golden Bears’ visit to Ohio Stadium, redshirt sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby’s important matchup in the game and the team’s running back situation during the Big Ten coaches weekly teleconference Tuesday.
Roby’s wake-up call
When asked about Roby, Meyer gushed over his redshirt sophomore cornerback.
“I love Bradley. He’s a high-character guy,” Meyer said. “He’s really blessed, really talented, really fast.”
But if there’s one area where Meyer would really like to see Roby improve, it’s his mental game. The Buckeyes’ first-year coach said that Roby has a tendency to “pull back” when he’s not challenged by his opponent.
“He gets bored,” Meyer said. “I’ve coached some great corners, and those guys never got bored. The ultimate competitors, they compete at all time.”
Motivation should not be an issue this week as Roby will face California junior receiver Keenan Allen, a player Meyer called “one of the best receivers in America.”
Through two games, Allen has 11 receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown.
Meyer said California’s unique defensive scheme will provide a great test for his team as the Buckeyes “won’t face another defense like that all year.”
OSU sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller leads all college football quarterbacks in rushing yards, with 302 yards. Meyer said he expects California to focus on stopping Miller.
“I would imagine that they are going to say, ‘We’ve got to stop No. 5,'” Meyer said. “They’re going to sneak an extra guy in the box and play man coverage. They are going to force you to throw.”
Running back update
OSU running back Carlos Hyde suffered a sprained right MCL in last week’s win against Central Florida, and Meyer said the redshirt junior would not be available to play against the Golden Bears.
The Buckeyes will now turn to freshman running back Bri’onte Dunn and sophomore Rod Smith to step up in Hyde’s absence.
“They’re both big, talented backs,” Meyer said. “But for whatever reason, the productivity has not been there.”
Senior captain and running back Jordan Hall sustained a non-football related injury in late June after stepping on a piece of glass. While the injury, and subsequent surgery, has sidelined Hall since, the running back has been medically cleared for the first time since the incident.
That being said, Meyer said Hall’s availability for Saturday’s game is still unclear, but he will know for sure by Wednesday.