COLUMBUS – Ohio State fans have weighed in on where they think the Buckeyes could do better, so what does OSU coach Urban Meyer thinks needs to improve most?
During his weekly press conference on Monday, Meyer said OSU has “so many issues that were exposed early in the season.”
When asked what Ohio State was working on, Meyer had a list.
“Pass defense and continued growth on offense. Punt return has been non-existent. It’s no one’s fault, we haven’t had very many opportunities to return a punt. The punt team, I’m very pleased with but kickoff coverage is a mess right now,” he said.
“We don’t have a kicker who can kick the ball. If you notice, one (kickoff) almost went up in the seats. So there are plenty of issues where we have to get things cleaned up.”
Some other thoughts from Meyer:
—- Linebacker Chris Worley, who left last Saturday’s 38-7 win over Army in the second quarter with a sprained foot, might not be available for this Saturday night’s game against UNLV.
Tuf Borland replaced Worley at middle linebacker after the injury and finished with a team-high 10.5 tackles.
Meyer said he has not been part of any discussions about playing Borland in the middle and returning Worley to the outside linebacker position he played last season.
On Borland, he said, “His personality matches his name. He’s a tough guy.”
—-Tailback Mike Weber is still dealing with a strained hamstring he suffered in preseason practice but still is part of Ohio State’s plans.
“It’s not that Mike is a lost sould around here. He’s very critical for us with conference play coming up. We’re going to need him at full strength and he’s still not full strength. We’re going to have to make sure we get him at full strength,” Meyer said.
Weber did not play in the season opener at Indiana and has had a total of seven carries in the Oklahoma and Army games. In his absence, freshman J.K. Dobbins has averaged 141 yards rushing per game.
“He’s one of the hardest working guys on our team. He’ll be rewarded once he gets back to full speed,” Meyer said.
—-Joe Burrow, who was the No. 2 quarterback behind J.T. Barrett before suffering a broken thumb in preseason practice, is “about ready to come back,” Meyer said.
Dwayne Haskins, who has been No. 2 behind Barrett since Burrow’s injury, completed all four passes he threw against Army.
“Joe is about ready to come back so we have some decisions who is the first one in there (after Barrett),” Meyer said.
—-Running back Demario McCall has been hampered by what Meyer called a “groin-abdominal” injury and is not running at full speed.
“He certainly needs to improve. He has not been at full speed. He is much closer than he was. I’m going to try to get him into a game and determine if he can go. He had a tough injury. He’s getting better,” Meyer said.
The Big Ten also had two announcements affecting Ohio State on Monday.
OSU’s game at Rutgers on Sept. 30 will have a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. And Dobbins was named the Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week after rushing for 172 yards and two touchdowns against Army.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.
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