COLUMBUS— Urban Meyer wants to see more big plays in Ohio State’s running game.
Talking on his weekly radio show on Thursday, the OSU football coach said, “We’ve had the big play in the pass game. We haven’t had the big play in the run game like we have had in the past. We’re working on that and we have the right people to do it.”
The longest running play by an OSU running back this season is Mike Weber’s 49-yard touchdown run in the season opener against Oregon State. His second-longest run was a 21-yarder against Indiana last Saturday.
J.K. Dobbins, the Buckeyes’ leading rusher this year and last year, has a long run this season of 21 yards against Rutgers. His second-longest went for 18 yards against TCU.
“I’m really anxious to get him out,” Meyer said about Dobbins. “We have to do a good job (blocking).”
This week’s opponent, Minnesota, ranks fifth in the Big Ten in rushing defense but gave up an 81-yard run and a 64-yard run in its conference opener in a 42-13 loss to Maryland.
Ohio State’s receiving statistics are dominated by its six veteran receivers –K.J. Hill, Parris Campbell, Austin Mack, Johnnie Dixon, Terry McLaurin and Binjimen Victor.
But Meyer says he has seen something good from two young receivers in practice, too.
“Blue Smith (LeChristian Smith) might get some activity pretty soon. He’s really starting to come on and Jaylen Harris has been improving,” Meyer said on his radio show.
TYREKE SMITH IMPRESSIVE: Freshman defensive lineman Tyreke Smith “is very exciting,” Meyer said. “He’s just getting better along the journey. With Larry Johnson coaching him he’s just getting better and better. He’s got a great future here.”
With Nick Bosa out indefinitely, Dre’Mont Jones and Robert Landers playing through injuries and Jonathan Cooper leaving the Indiana game with concussion symptoms, OSU’s defensive linemen have had to play more.
Some more experienced players have also been given an opportunity to play more. Meyer pointed to defensive lineman Jashon Cornell who grew up in St. Paul, Minn., as someone who has an expanded opportunity.
“We need a little bit more out of him. He’s a guy that has talent. With some banged up players we need him to really become that player we want him to be and that he wants to be. I see it coming and right now is the time,” Meyer said.
MID-SEASON GRADE: After practice on Wednesday Meyer gave Ohio State’s tight ends (Rashod Berry, Luke Farrell, Jake Haussmann and Jeremy Ruckert) a grade of “B.”
“I’d grade them a B overall. They are still growing but we need them to get more involved in the pass game,” he said.
Farrell has caught three passes. Berry and Ruckert each have one catch and Hausmann does not have a catch.
Last season OSU’s starting tight end Marcus Baugh had 28 catches, five of them for touchdowns.