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Source: Columbus Dispatch
Buckeyes look to shore up linebacker corps November 30, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch - Ohio State is just a week removed from wrapping up an unbeaten season, but coach Urban Meyer and his staff aren’t wandering around in an “all-is-well” world.
Instead, they have hit the recruiting trail with the crosshairs trained on several players as they seek to fill the remaining slots in the 2013 class.
With no true linebackers having committed to the class, Meyer indicated this week that the sign he’s holding doesn’t say “Help Wanted” but “Help Needed.”
The need is critical — “to the point where we can’t play,” Meyer said.
The position already was perilously thin during the season, requiring Zach Boren to switch to linebacker from fullback to help the team.
With Boren and fellow senior Etienne Sabino stepping out of the picture, though, sophomore Ryan Shazier will be the only returning starter next season.
None of the linebackers from the 2012 class stepped up significantly, and blue-chip prospect Curtis Grant of the 2011 class remains a work in progress.
Whether Mike Mitchell, Daniel McMillian, Trey Johnson or perhaps someone else will be won over by the potenital for immediate playing time remains to be seen.
The Mitchell story is well-known to many OSU fans by now: The suburban Dallas resident, considered one of the elite athletes available nationally, had been expected to commit to Ohio State in late summer but put off his decision in favor of taking more serious looks at Oklahoma, Texas A&M and perhaps Florida State.
The Buckeyes remain on his trail, and there’s a chance he could make his choice in December.
For McMillian, of Jacksonville, Fla., a flip to OSU would mean a change in allegiances: He has already committed to Florida.
Still, he made an official visit to Ohio State last week, on and around the days of the OSU win over Michigan.
The host for his visit was Shazier, also a native Floridian, who this week was named first team all-Big Ten by the media.
McMillian is rated No. 7 nationally among outside linebacker prospects by 247sports.com, and No. 4 among inside linebackers by Rivals.com. He reportedly left town still committed to Florida but with his mind open.
The OSU coaches have only a couple of weeks to work on him, because he plans to graduate in December and enroll in college in January.
With Johnson, of Lawrenceville, Ga., the derby recently restarted.
Though still looking around, he had committed to Auburn, but he withdrew that pledge this week after coach Gene Chizik was fired and news broke that the program is under NCAA investigation.
Luke Fickell, OSU defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, remained in touch with Johnson through the fall and visited with him this week.
Johnson, rated No. 3 nationally among inside-linebacker prospects by both 247sports.com and Rivals.com, is also looking at Southern California and Florida, among other schools, as he re-evaluates his situation.
Meyer and his staff are chasing other prospects, too.
As he pointed out, with 17 commitments in the bag, “we’ve only got a few (scholarship possibilities) left — maybe three or four, or four or five.”
With those, he said, they’d like to get at least one more receiver and one or two more offensive linemen.
Lopresti: Ohio State's bowl ban out of whack November 26, 2012 Source: USA Today - To begin, let's put in parenthesis all the violations the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes are known to have committed, to have their season end two days after Thanksgiving.
The case is a tad thin, is it not?
I have not come today dressed in scarlet and gray, humming Carmen Ohio. Ohio State deserved a good whacking for what went on the last years of the Jim Tressel regime.
But Ohio State is not the issue. The basic concept of fairness is the issue.
Bowl bans are the issue. They have been the punishment of choice for eons for the NCAA, and why not? Easy to assess. Easy to understand. And they hurt.
But are they right? Not most of the time. Not this time...
"Nobody that did anything is here anymore,'' linebacker Ryan Shazier said after the Michigan game. "It's tough to see the seniors go out like this.''...
Bowl bans sound good. They're scary enough. Miami self-imposed this season, rather than risk something worse later. But the bans carry an unsettling contradiction. Does not something seem amiss, when those here now are held accountable for those who came before?
The NCAA once banned television appearances, but shelved that rather than penalize innocent opponents. But innocents get penalized by bowl bans, too.
Then again, it is a jungle out there, and someone has to be the sheriff. The NCAA needs muscle, and the conundrum is how best to flex it when the violations begin to stack up.
Start with the All-American way.
Take their money. Lots of it.
Notorious for their eternal love of a few dollars more, universities would be aghast at major fines.
Cut scholarships. It's a valid penalty.
And make sure the adults in charge get punished. A coach that leads his school into scandal should not be working again in college sport for years. And years. The guy who has fled or been fired, who aided and abetted or at least looked the other way, is the one who deserves the ban.
But once yesterday is settled, today should start at zero. The new coaches, the current players who have done nothing, what they earn, they keep.
Maybe their cause will be hurt by scholarship cuts. Maybe the fines mean the budget isn't what it used to be. They have to deal with that. They choose to be a part of a program with past shadows.
But if they overcome everything and go 12-0, they should have their shot at the prize...
What justice is served, and what right wronged, by enforcing the law against those who never broke it?...
Simon tops Ohio State award winners November 27, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch - In the postseason awards announced last night by the Big Ten, it could best be summed up that the selectors liked Ohio State sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller, but they liked Buckeyes senior defensive lineman John Simon even more.
Simon not only was named the Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year in the conference, but he also made first team on the coaches’ all-league squad and on the team selected by the media.
Miller was named the league’s Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year. But while the media made him the first-team QB, the 12 league coaches voted Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez as their No.?1 quarterback. It was vice versa when it came to the second-team selections, and considering Martinez had 3,316 total yards and Miller an OSU-record 3,310, it was understandable.
In all, seven Buckeyes players were named on the first team of at least one of the two squads. Simon (the Big Ten sacks leader with 14.5) and sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby (the league leader in pass breakups with 19 along with two interceptions, a punt block and two touchdowns) were the only ones to double up.
“I am happy for all of the members of this team who are being honored, and also for their teammates, whose hard work helped these guys earn this Big Ten recognition,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said in a statement released by the school. “It is a tribute to the work ethic of both John Simon and Braxton Miller, coupled with the fact that they are both excellent football players, that they were named players of the year at their positions.”
But the league coaches didn’t think Ohio State — which finished 12-0, is ranked fourth in the Associated Press poll but is not allowed to play in the postseason because of NCAA sanctions — had a player worthy of being on the first-team offense.
Meanwhile, the coaches voted four players from five-loss Wisconsin to the first-team offense, led by the Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year Montee Ball.
The media, on the other hand, voted OSU junior left guard Andrew Norwell to its first-team offense, along with Miller.
While the coaches named three Buckeyes players to the first-team defense — junior lineman Johnathan Hankins was the third — missing from that group was OSU’s leading tackler and playmaker, linebacker Ryan Shazier, who was named second team.
The sophomore Shazier was named first team by the media, however, as were Simon, Roby and senior cornerback Travis Howard.
OSU junior running back Carlos Hyde, who wound up with 970 yards rushing in 10 games, made second team on both squads, and Buckeyes leading receiver Corey Brown, a junior, was on the coaches’ second team. Junior left tackle Jack Mewhort made the media second-team offense.
Hankins was the only OSU defensive player to make the media second team, while junior safety Christian Bryant was named second team by the coaches.
Fullback-turned-linebacker Zach Boren didn’t spend enough time at either position, evidently, to earn all-league honors, but he was named one of 12 winners of the Big Ten sportsmanship award as nominated by each respective school.
Sixteen Ohio State players were honored overall, with four — offensive right tackle Reid Fragel and linebacker Etienne Sabino, both seniors; and safety C.J. Barnett and center Corey Linsley, both juniors — named honorable mention on one team or the other.
Whether there are more honors to come for the Buckeyes and possibly Meyer in league awards to be announced tonight remains to be seen. Miller is expected to a strong candidate for offensive player of the year, while Simon and perhaps Shazier could be in the running for defensive player of the year.
Meyer is a candidate for one of the two coach of the year awards.
The first day of the off-season is here and the long wait to the start of the 2013 season has started for Ohio State players and fans. Urban Meyer was hired by the Buckeyes almost a year ago to the day and now sits with his first season in the books and a perfect 12-0 record.
The Buckeyes certainly did not always finish out games with style points or even with convincing wins but they did something that only one other team has a chance to accomplish (Notre Dame) and that is win them all.
On Monday we caught up with Meyer as he gave his final press conference of the 2012 'season' to wrap up the Michigan game and move ahead with what is next and what may be expected moving forward going toward 2013. Source: BuckeyeGrove
November 26, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch
In the poll The Buckeyes (12-0) stayed at No. 4 in the Associated Press poll. Any chance of making a move to the top rung seems fleeting at best now after No.?1 Notre Dame completed its unbeaten regular season. No.?2 Alabama and No.?3 Georgia play for the Southeastern Conference title, so OSU could be sitting at No.?3 this time next week. But Notre Dame is expected to meet the Alabama-Georgia winner in the BCS title game, which means the glass ceiling for the Buckeyes likely is No. 2.
Carlos Hyde. After coming back from an early-season knee sprain, he became the main man as star-crossed Jordan Hall took a seat for good because of a knee injury of his own. Hyde wound up 30 yards shy of 1,000 and was the backbone of the offense in the win over Michigan (146 yards on 26 carries, one TD). Meyer referred to him as one of the better backs in the country at season’s end.
What’s not hot?
The Braxton Miller campaign for the Heisman Trophy. His ship coasted into port instead of pounding in at full throttle, like that of Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. Still, with 246 yards total offense against Michigan, Miller set the school record for total offense in a season with 3,310, topping the previous mark of 3,290 set by Bob Hoying in 13 games in 1995. Miller also pushed his school season record for rushing yards by a quarterback to 1,271.
What went right?
Every pass thrown Corey Brown’s way. He caught eight for a career-high 95 yards against Michigan. And roughly one-third of those yards came after the catch, like on the 14-yard touchdown play when he took a short flip from Miller, turned upfield and leaned in just inside the pylon. The OSU defense was hot, too. Playing without senior leader John Simon (swollen knee), it took some body blows from Denard Robinson in the first half, then shut down Robinson and the Wolverines as a whole in the second.
Back to the drawing board
As well as Hyde and the Ohio State power running game worked at several crucial points in the last half of the season, Meyer and coordinator Tom Herman seek an offense with more pizzazz. Past Brown, hardly any receiver was seen fighting to get open on Saturday, even as Miller went 14 of 18 passing. The coaches also will be on the lookout the next eight months for a running back/slasher who can scare defenses by accelerating to the edge. Perhaps incoming freshman Ezekiel Elliott will fit that bill.
Meyer not only praised the play of his defense, but said that for the first time all year he felt he had a unit that could hold its own against the elite teams in the country. In other words, he would have relished a chance to play for it all, but NCAA sanctions cut this OSU season off just when it was getting good. The Buckeyes won’t go bowling for the first time since the 1999 season.
Nobody this season. The Buckeyes must rest on their laurels, as far as the AP poll is concerned, and it’s no firm mattress. The saying “You are what you eat” can be translated in regards to college football polls as “You are who you beat.” The Buckeyes beat five teams with better than 6-6 records (Central Florida, Nebraska, Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan), and three of those (UCF, Nebraska, Wisconsin) are playing for league titles. But rightly or wrongly, none of those wins will make voters go “Wow!” in this down year for the Big Ten.
This offseason’s challenge
Meyer is still in the process of deciding how he will deal with his team in a December without pre-bowl practices, just his second in 11 seasons as a head coach (the first was in his first year at Bowling Green). Also not yet known is whether junior defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins and third-year sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby will opt for the NFL draft, which would add to the six vacancies that must be filled on defense next season. Based on this year’s success, the Buckeyes will be forecast to make a run at the national championship in 2013 when they are again postseason eligible, so how they fill those holes on defense will be critical...
November 19, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch
Urban Meyer. Unlike the players on his first Ohio State team, he knows what it’s like to be undefeated at this point in a season. He has been here a couple of times as a head coach but finished it off just once with a perfect season at Utah in 2004. He knows nothing is a given at this point.
Braxton Miller’s Heisman Trophy campaign. But then, several of those took a hit over the weekend (Kansas State’s Collin Klein and Oregon’s Kenjon Barner). But before overtime, Miller, Carlos Hyde and company only had one great drive, and the offense fell flat several other times after reaching Wisconsin territory. The Badgers bottled up Miller the runner and confounded Miller the thrower. But in overtime, Hyde and Miller clicked off the 25 yards in no time for the touchdown, then handed it over to the defense.
What went right?
Montee Ball rushed for 191 yards, but it was a fairly tepid 191. The OSU defense was able to keep him and James White from long gains, and linebacker Ryan Shazier said his unit was well aware that Ball needed two touchdowns to break the major-college career record. He got one to tie the mark of 78, but when he reached for No.?79 in the fourth quarter, Shazier was there to bat it away. That quarterback Curt Phillips was able to pass Wisconsin to the game-tying touchdown in the last 90 seconds of regulation spoiled the moment, but the OSU defense got even in OT.
Back to the drawing board
The Buckeyes need to draw up more of those plays like the punt return that sprang Corey Brown. They were blocking on the Badgers from the snap, slowing the coverage and spreading it out. That left Brown with just one thing to do: run straight ahead as fast as he could. It was one of those moments when a plan, designed by assistant coach Zach Smith, really came together.
Jake Stoneburner probably would have when he broke wide open on a first-quarter pass play had he not been looking back directly into the sun. Miller’s pass was on target, but Stoneburner only gained a sense of it. Who knows what a catch on that play would have meant for the offense, which otherwise struggled the rest of the day.
No Ohio State player took a seat permanently after having to leave at Wisconsin, including Shazier, who returned after suffering a neck strain in the fourth quarter. At one point, the secondary was playing with starters C.J. Barnett (high ankle sprain) at safety and Travis Howard (stinger) at cornerback, with Corey Brown and Doran Grant filling the gaps. All are expected to be available for The Game. ...
After having a weekend off, Ohio State's football team returned to practice yesterday, apparently refreshed and ready for a climactic end to a potentially perfect season.
An off week this late usually is unwelcomed, and the Buckeyes' last game — a 52-22 rout of down-and-out Illinois — was their most dominating performance of 2012.
But the Buckeyes, in coach Urban Meyer's words, had been running on fumes. It was good for them to rest their bodies and minds.
"We had a lot of guys who maybe needed a little time to rest," senior defensive end John Simon said. "Guys were dinged up. I think the biggest thing was getting in the swing of things when you come back, and I think we did a tremendous job of that today. We had a great practice."
Meyer agreed, saying he sensed a rejuvenated team during full-pads morning practice.
"I just feel that we've got to be smart as coaches to keep that rejuvenation up," he said. "Excellent day today. I don't want to say (it's a) surprise, but sometimes you have to beat it out of them on the first day back."
If the coaches had needed a stick rather than a carrot yesterday, that might have foreshadowed a problem. The Buckeyes are 10-0 and ranked sixth in the Associated Press poll. Their season so far could be described as the hors d'oeuvres, with Wisconsin and Michigan as the entrée.
To have any chance to be voted No.1 in the AP poll, they need impressive victories over the Badgers and Wolverines — and a lot of dominoes to fall their way with the teams ranked ahead of them.
Wisconsin (7-3), despite being two games behind Ohio State in the Big Ten Leaders Division, already is assured of a spot in the conference championship game because of OSU's ineligibility because of NCAA sanctions. The Michigan game is, well, the Michigan game.
Ohio State's players have done a remarkable job all season in maintaining tunnel vision. All that has mattered to them is the moment at hand.
But their distaste, though couched in respect, for their remaining opponents is palpable.
"I hate Wisconsin just as much as Michigan," junior receiver Corey Brown said. "Ever since I've been here, they've been a nightmare. They ruined our perfect season (in 2010). (We had) a heck of a game last year. It came down to the end. We're going to Wisconsin, and we don't want a repeat of what happened my freshman year."
Two years ago, the Buckeyes were the newly minted No. 1 team in the country when they went to Madison. Wisconsin returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and dominated the first half en route to a 31-18 victory.
Last year, the Buckeyes turned the tables. Braxton Miller's last-minute, 40-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith stunned the Badgers 33-29 after Wisconsin had rallied late to take the lead.
This season, the Badgers have been a disappointment, losing three games, but they ran for 564 yards last Saturday at Indiana in a 62-14 annihilation.
There will be little mystery on Saturday. The Badgers play meat-and-potatoes football. They will pound the ball with Montee Ball carrying the load and James White providing a complementary threat.
Third-string quarterback Curt Phillips will make his second start, so Wisconsin's game plan is unlikely to deviate from its norm.
"The most physical team is going to win," Simon said. "They're going to try to run the ball up the middle, and it's our job to stop them. Whoever is tougher is going to win.
"It's a huge game for us. It's hostile territory. Their fans are crazy. They play very well at home. We know they're going to come in with a chip on their shoulder after last year. We're doing everything we can to prepare, and we'll be up to the challenge."
He's no lightweight
November 9, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch - Ryan Shazier isn't the biggest linebacker in Ohio State history, but he's growing into his goal of being one of the best ever
The first time Ryan Shazier stepped on a scale at Ohio State, he weighed 198 pounds.
The coaches were aghast.
Here was this hotshot freshman, who'd picked Ohio State after a whirlwind recruiting process sparked by Urban Meyer's resignation at Florida, where Shazier had originally committed.
It was considered a coup for Ohio State to sign Shazier. But this was a problem. Ohio State linebackers don't weigh 198 pounds.
"I stood on the scales, and the coaches just started shaking their heads, like, ‘We thought we had a linebacker and we got us a DB,'" Shazier recalled.
He was not a defensive back, and he knew it. In fact, his last three years at Plantation High School in Florida, he played defensive end.
Shazier isn't a cocky guy, but he knew he had to say something to put his coaches' minds at ease.
"‘We're going to see. We're going to see,'" he said he told them. "I was talking a little bit of junk at first, telling them, ‘I might not be the biggest guy, but I can play.'"
Nobody doubts that now. Shazier made an impression on special teams last year and has blossomed as a sophomore while adding 28 pounds to his frame. The past two weeks, Shazier has been named the Big Ten defensive player of the week.
Shazier is far from satisfied. He has higher goals than that.
"I want to be one of the greatest linebackers to ever play here," Shazier said. "I know I'm doing well this year, but I still have a long way to go and a lot of fundamentals and technique to work on."
That is true. Particularly early in the season, Shazier tended to overrun plays, take bad angles and go for a knockout hit instead of a sure tackle. Though he had 14 tackles last week against Illinois, Meyer found plenty to criticize.
"He didn't grade as well as he did in the Purdue and Penn State games," he said. "I thought the Purdue game was his best game as a pure linebacker. He's an athlete who's very blessed and runs around and makes tackles, but he's also out of position sometimes.
"Coach (Luke) Fickell (OSU's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach) would be the first to tell you he didn't play his best game. There's still so much more there."
Drawing the best out of Shazier has been the mission of his parents, Vernon and Shawn, who also have a younger son, Vernon II. The elder Vernon is a motivational speaker and pastor who for the past three years has been the chaplain for the Miami Dolphins.
"My message has always been that you have to beat the odds," Vernon said. "Down here in Florida — and I'm pretty sure it's true around the country — we have almost 60 percent of African-American males not making it out of high school.
"I coached high-school football down here for 12 years. I lost many players after ninth or 10th grade. I wanted to make sure (Ryan) did what he needed to do so that he wouldn't become part of that statistic."
Ryan had a more-stable home life than some of his friends, but he still had adversity. When he was 5, his mom noticed that his hair was thinning and then falling out in patches. Doctors diagnosed him with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease of the skin that causes hair loss on the scalp and body.
"A lot of people think I'm just bald," Shazier said. "It probably bothered me when I was younger. I was only 5 years old, the only bald kid in kindergarten."
Kids being kids, Shazier faced some teasing, but he generally took it in stride.
As he got older, though, the self-consciousness faded.
"I love being bald," he said. "It saves me on haircuts and everything. It seems like people love it."
Shazier probably faced less teasing than a typical kid with alopecia because of his excellence in football. Even though he struggled to add weight, Shazier clearly was a gifted athlete with a knack for making big hits.
"From Little League and up to high school, everybody said I was pretty explosive and had really good hips as a tackler," he said. "Once you're known as a big hitter, you're always known as a big hitter, so people kind of tense up when they see you."
He played at a listed weight of 212 pounds last year, but even then he developed a reputation for his hits in kick coverage. He started the last three games at linebacker because of an injury to Andrew Sweat and had 30 tackles — including 15 in his first start.
With a thin linebacker unit this year, the Buckeyes needed Shazier to emerge as a star. His inconsistency contributed to the glaring issues at linebacker earlier in the year, particularly when senior Etienne Sabino suffered a broken leg against Nebraska on Oct.6.
"When the linebackers take criticism, I feel it's all on my back," Shazier said. "Sabino and I are supposed to be the leaders, especially me after 'Bino got hurt. I might not be the heart and soul of the defense — Johnny (Simon) is — but if anything goes wrong, I feel it's my fault."
Shazier had to learn that a big hit might please the crowd, but reliability as a tackler is more important.
"I feel a lot of those tackles I missed could definitely have been made tackles, but I was going for the big hit, the kill shot," he said. "Now I'm breaking down more and making tackles when they come to me."
The Buckeyes' defense has begun to jell lately, and Shazier is a big reason.
Ohio State has gone to a more-aggressive scheme, and Shazier has become a force as a blitzer. Against Penn State, he had a sack that was followed by an interception for a touchdown to change momentum in the Buckeyes' favor for good.
"He wants to be the best linebacker to ever play at Ohio State," Vernon Shazier said, "so he has been very hard on himself when he makes a mistake, if he misses a tackle or any little thing. I've been trying to get him to understand that it's a journey."
It's one that is becoming more promising with each step.
Where are they now, catching up with the 2002 team: HC Jim Tressel Source: WBNS-10TV Columbus OH
Recruiting Watch LB Mitchell tops OSU's list Source: Columbus Dispatch
Focus on offense: Reid Fragel
November 9, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch - A tight end his previous three seasons, Reid Fragel changed positions and became the surprise stabilizing player for the offense
Reid Fragel heard the talk in preseason — some of it coming from new coach Urban Meyer — that there was a battle for the starting job at right tackle, and that it was a major concern for Ohio State's offense.
That made sense, considering the two combatants were Fragel, a tight end in his previous three seasons at Ohio State, and freshman Taylor Decker. Some thought it was only a matter of time until Decker, a symbol of what's to come for the Buckeyes under Meyer, won out.
Then a funny thing happened. Fragel, a senior, improved almost every day...
Focus on defense: Zach Boren
November 9, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch - It's hard to imagine the defense without Zach Boren, but it was only because of injuries to key players that he switched from fullback.
During the off week, as Ohio State fans take stock of their team's 10-0 record, it might be difficult for them to imagine life without senior Zach Boren at linebacker...
Meanwhile, Boren has started the past two games as the Buckeyes held Penn State and Illinois each to below 100 yards rushing in convincing victories, fielding a defense that looked more stable. That can't be attributed entirely to Boren's presence, but there is more to it than mere coincidence.
"Anytime you can get another leader on your side of the ball, especially one like Zach, who will do whatever it takes for the team, that just picks up the defense," defensive lineman John Simon said...
Urban Meyer Wednesday after practice. November 7, 2012
LB Ryan Shazier Wednesday after practice. November7, 2012
QB Braxton Miller Wednesday after practice. November7, 2012
Braxton Miller's Record-Chasing Season November 9, 2012 Source: The Ozone - In just his second season as a Buckeye quarterback Braxton Miller is making a total assault on the OSU record books.
Braxton Miller has only played in 22 games as a Buckeye, and yet he already litters the record book like a Smith in a phone book.
Obviously, in a football program with historically conservative offenses, it's not going to be too difficult to move your way into the record books if you get three or four years with which to build your statistical profile.
But Miller is doing this in just two years, and the amazing thing is that he has done it having to learn two different offenses, one of which wasn't necessarily tailored to showcasing a quarterback's abilities.
Miller played 12 games last season, and will only be allowed 12 this season. Imagine his numbers next season when he plays in 14 games, and the offense is even more wide open. And imagine his numbers in that same offense as a senior with 14 more games under his belt.
Though if there is a senior season for Miller, he will only need about 10 games to set the Big Ten's career mark for total offense, which is currently held by Drew Brees (12,692).
Troy Smith said last week that he believes Braxton Miller will leave Ohio State as the best quarterback in school history. Barring anything unforeseen, he will certainly leave it as its most productive...
Braxton Miller — Don't be alarmed by seeing Miller's name on this list...
RB Bri'onte Dunn — Meyer said Thurs that Dunn suffered a knee injury in practice and is questionable for the Wisconsin game.
RB Jordan Hall — Meyer also said Thursday that Hall is hopping around much better this week than he has since he injured his knee in the win at Michigan State. If things get desperate, they may reconsider what to do with Hall the rest of the year, but as of now they are still planning to redshirt him (he has only played in 3 games) so he can return as a fifth-year senior next season.
WR Jake Stoneburner — The senior tight end turned wide receiver suffered a knee injury in practice last week. He played through the injury against Illinois, but Meyer said he wasn't very effective after playing the three best games of his season the previous three weeks.
RT Reid Fragel — Ohio State's starting right tackle injured his leg in the win over Illinois on Saturday. He was replaced by freshman Taylor Decker, who finished out the game, but partially because Meyer went to his entire second-team offensive line on the next possession. Fragel hasn't practiced much this week, but he should be back for the Wisconsin game. If not, Decker will get the first start of his career at right tackle.
DT Michael Bennett — It has been a tough year for sophomore Michael Bennett. Actually, it's been a tough two years. He broke his arm in the U.S. Army All-American game before last season and just can't seem to stay healthy. He battled a nagging groin injury early in the season that kept him out of the first four games of the year. He started his first game at Penn State, but played only sparingly against Illinois because he is battling another injury. He hasn't practiced this week, but has already played too many games for a medical redshirt.
LB Etienne Sabino – Sabino has practiced twice this week and optimism is high that he'll be ready to play against Wisconsin a week from Saturday. He hasn't played in a month because of a broken leg, and the fact he's still hobbling around suggests he probably won't be quite at full-strength, even if he does play in Madison.
LB Storm Klein — Klein has been limited in practice because of a bulging disc in his back. It's a pretty debilitating injury, but Klein has still been playing on some special teams. He hasn't seen much time at linebacker the last few weeks, with Zach Boren establishing himself as the starter at MLB.
DB Orhian Johnson — Johnson injured his upper body during Ohio State's win over Illinois on Saturday. It looked like a possible concussion with the way Johnson was laying on the turf, but it's being called a shoulder contusion. Either way, Johnson has not practiced this week and his status is uncertain for the Wisconsin game. If he can't go, the Buckeyes will use Corey "Pittsburgh" Brown in the nickel, but they should be in a lot more base defense against the Badgers.
DB Zach Domicone — The senior safety has been in and out of the lineup during the majority of his career at Ohio State, but Domicone was really coming on as a special teams coverage guy before he went down in practice. He didn't play last week against Illinois, and has not practiced this week.
DB Armani Reeves — The freshman corner has missed the last four games with a high ankle sprain. He was questionable for the Illinois game, but did not suit up on Saturday. With two weeks between games, Reeves should be back for the trip to Madison. Source: The Ozone
Where are they now, catching up with the 2002 team: Craig Krenzel Source: WBNS-10TV Columbus OH
On the motivation to finish 12-0: "Coach Meyer and the boys on the team just want to win out the season (and) let the seniors go out with a good season."
On being a Heisman candidate: "Man, it's tough. A lot of guys come up to me about it. I try not to talk about it. I really don't like talking about myself. ... (But) it's a wonderful thing. I've just got to keep working hard and continue to get better."
On whether he believed fellow unbeatens Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame are all better than the Buckeyes: "Nah, not really."
On the football he watched heading into OSU's bye week: "(Alabama-LSU) was a good game. A lot of good plays, a lot of playmakers, a lot of athletes going around the field. That's all I've got to say about that."
On the player from another team who has most caught Miller's eye: "The guy who caught my attention was the receiver from USC (Marqise Lee). He plays all the positions—X, Z, inside, outside, kickoff return. He's explosive. He catches all the balls that come his way."
On Troy Smith saying Miller could be best QB ever at Ohio State: "It means a lot. Troy Smith was an all-around quarterback, a complete quarterback."
On his biggest improvement from 2011 to 2012: "Leadership. Coming from last year, I was a young guy, a freshman; I really didn't know how to take that role."...