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Football: Urban Meyer satisfied with Ohio State at halfway point of regular season

Starting the season with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day as head coach while Urban Meyer served his 3-game suspension, Ohio State did not miss a beat, winning each of the first three games.

When Meyer returned to the sidelines, the Buckeyes continued their momentum, winning the next three games, including a road win against then-No. 9 Penn State.

As the team heads into its game against Minnesota on Saturday, Ohio State is halfway through its regular season, winning each of the first six games on the schedule.

In his Monday press conference, Meyer said the team has not gotten to this point without difficulties.

“We’ve overcome significant injuries. Most notable is Nick Bosa. And we’re still finding ways to win games,” Meyer said. “And just really good people on this team. We go out to practice and guys want to get better.”

Through the first six games of the season, Ohio State is the No. 2 scoring offense in the Big Ten, averaging 49 points and 565.7 yards per game, which leads the conference.

However, without Bosa on the line, the defense has been one of the main storylines in terms of improvement after the first six games of the season. Despite allowing only 20 points per game, which is fourth-fewest in the Big Ten, Ohio State has given up 365.2 yards of offense to opponents per game, allowing 5.4 yards per play.

Meyer said despite a first half against Indiana in which the defense allowed 20 points on 317 yards of offense, including 239 yards through the air, he thought the defense improved in the second half, matching the improvement he thinks the Buckeyes have made all season.

“We tried to build on positives and the positives are that the second half they played outstanding,” Meyer said. “Against Penn State we gave up some yards but it was 14-13 going into the fourth quarter. So there are some positive things.”

Brian Hartline impresses Meyer

Throughout the season, Meyer has had to change his view of the offense. With redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins at the helm, the Ohio State offense has become more pass-friendly in the first six games of the regular season.

After taking over from former Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith on July 23, interim wide receivers coach Brian Hartline has helped lead a Buckeyes wide receiver room to the best pass offense in the Big Ten, with quarterbacks completing 73 percent of all passes thrown.

Through the first six games of the season, Meyer has been impressed with Hartline’s job as the wide receivers coach.

“He’s learning on the run still,” Meyer said. “Doing some great things. And one thing about our job, it’s very valuation-friendly. They’re playing very well.”

When asked about whether Hartline’s interim tag could be removed after the job he has done this season, Meyer said “sure he could,” but made no indication that it would happen.

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