Ohio State notes: Buckeye defense targets cleaner hits; Ozigbo impresses Schiano

Ohio State notes: Buckeye defense targets cleaner hits; Ozigbo impresses Schiano
The Associated Press

Ohio State had two cornerbacks ejected for targeting during its 62-14 romp over Maryland, but the Big Ten admitted this week that one of those ejections was in error.

Corner Denzel Ward, who was flagged in the first half, was wrongfully ejected, OSU coach Urban Meyer said on the Big Ten teleconference.

“It was a mistake,” Meyer said, adding that the team will credit Ward with a forced fumble.

Another cornerback, Damon Arnette, committed a targeting penalty in the second half of OSU’s win, so he’ll have to sit out the first half against the Huskers.

Talking to Ohio State beat reporters Tuesday night, defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said he talks to Buckeye players about targeting “from training camp on.”

“We’ve talked a lot about a strike zone — where you’re allowed to tackle … we just have to be more careful with the rules,” Schiano told reporters. “Careful’s not a good word; we want to be more aggressive. We have to be smarter with that aggression.”

Ozigbo impresses Schiano

NU running back Devine Ozigbo — who leads the team with 327 rushing yards this season — has Schiano’s attention. He was asked by the Columbus Dispatch about Ozigbo, the Huskers’ top rusher in the last three games.

“He’s very hard to get down,” Schiano said. “He has a lot of yards after contact. He’s a built guy. They have a scheme that’s designed for a back like him. They’re confident in what they’re doing. In those kinds of offenses, what might be a 1- or 2- or 3-yard gain in the first quarter, if the game’s close and they keep running and running, those turn into 5- or 6-yard gains if you don’t muster up. It’s going to be a challenge.”

Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee has improved this season, Schiano said, especially in moving past interceptions. Schiano, the former head coach at Rutgers and the NFL’s Buccaneers, said quarterbacks tend to struggle with letting go of bad plays.

“Early on, it looked like he was struggling to let a bad play die,” Schiano said. “I think he’s learning that more and more. They do a really good job with their protections, so we’re going to have to work hard to affect the passer. Because if you don’t, he’s a very fundamentally sound quarterback and he’s got a good arm.”

OSU defensive end Sam Hubbard told beat reporters after practice Tuesday that Lee can’t be allowed to get comfortable in the pocket.

“He’s a pro-style quarterback,” Hubbard said. “He sits back there. He doesn’t really move around in the pocket, but he can sling it. We’ve got to get him and affect him and disrupt his pocket.”

Quick hits

» According to the Columbus Dispatch, Meyer canceled his usual Monday press conference to be with a player’s ailing family member. Meyer didn’t go into depth on the Big Ten teleconference call.

» Sophomore Matt Burrell replaced Branden Bowen at right guard after the latter broke his left leg in the Maryland game. According to Ohio State, this will be just the second time OSU has changed an offensive line starter in-season since Meyer arrived, and the first time for an injury. Center Billy Price has started 47 straight games.

» Six defensive linemen have started three games for the Buckeyes this season; OSU had a season-high six sacks against Maryland.

Ohio State at Nebraska

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Memorial Stadium

Radio: 103.1 FM