After six straight weeks of games, the Ohio State football team gets a break this weekend.
Coach Urban Meyer said the bye week allows for extra time for players to return to health, including redshirt-senior running back Jordan Hall.
“There’s a joint issue in his knee; that’s all they’ve told me, so they’re working through it,” Meyer said. “He actually did some stuff (Wednesday), so I’m hoping we get him back.”
The team’s leading rusher with 427 yards, Hall did not play in OSU’s 40-30 win against Northwestern last week because of his injury, and only received one carry against the Wisconsin Badgers Sept. 28.
Defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell said the time off allows everyone in the program to get back to their regular lives.
“You get to go home at a decent hour and actually get to see your kids awake,” Fickell said. “As much pressure, as much stress as we put on ourselves, to have the ability to get out of here to be a dad, to be a husband, to get a couple deep breaths. It’s really tough if you’re not fresh, it’s really hard to focus in and do your best job.”
Senior wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown said he plans to get away from Ohio State this weekend, but not from the game of football.
“I’m going to go watch my little brother play – I haven’t seen him play yet,” Brown said.
Meyer said he felt the bye week came at the right time and he expects his men to not lose a single step.
“If they come back eight pounds underweight or eight pounds overweight and not at least watching football, that’d be a disgrace. I’d have a real problem with that,” Meyer said. “There’s a weigh-in Monday morning, and they better be right on the dot.”
Both Meyer and offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman spoke on the recent diminished role of highly-touted freshman running back Dontre Wilson.
“He needs to be able to play on downs where he’s not getting the football,” Herman said.
Getting Wilson on the field right now is difficult, Meyer said, because it is too clear the ball is going his way.
“He’s got to become a football player,” Meyer said. “Right now he’s a novelty. He goes out there, runs a swing pass, we throw it to him.”
Despite starting junior quarterback Braxton Miller’s multiple turnovers in Saturday’s win, Herman said there were many positives to take out of his signal caller’s second game back from a knee injury.
“The fumbles were of concern, obviously, and I think he missed a couple reads early, but nothing terrible. He was playing hard,” Herman said. “The thing I was most proud of was every coach on the sideline was telling me his demeanor was great … that told me that we had at least crossed one hurdle from last year.”
The Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0) are scheduled to return home after the bye week for a 3:30 p.m. game against Iowa (4-2, 1-1) in Ohio Stadium Oct. 19.