Williams, Bennett Won’t Play against UCF
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — It appears 30 snaps may have been a few too many for Nathan Williams’ surgically repaired knee to handle in his first game back.
The fifth-year senior will not be available for the Buckeyes against Central Florida today, and the same goes for sophomore defensive end Michael Bennett.
Bennett, a projected starter out of Centerville, re-injured his groin during warmups before the Miami (Ohio) game last week. He was replaced in the starting lineup by redshirt sophomore J.T. Moore, but Ohio State quickly turned to Williams as the end across from John Simon on the second defensive series.
It was the first action for Williams in nearly a year. He had not been on the field for the Buckeyes since the season-opener against Akron last season. A knee injury kept him from playing the rest of the year, and he eventually underwent microfracture surgery.
It was a long road back, but Williams played well in his return to football last week. He seemed enthused about his play after the game, saying his heart was still beating rapidly in the post-game interview room, but OSU head coach Urban Meyer said Williams was extremely sore on Sunday and Monday.
He didn’t practice during the week, and won’t be available against the Knights today. That means Moore, a product of Youngstown Boardman, could get the start, but the Buckeyes also have other options.
Freshman Tommy Schutt was seen warming up with the first-team defensive line before the game, which pushed junior Johnathan Hankins back out to strongside defensive end, where he played a lot last year after the injury to Williams.
The Buckeyes could also go with sophomore Steve Miller or freshman Se’Von Pittman, who did not play in the opener against Miami. The one player who could benefit most from Williams being out is freshman Noah Spence.
The former 5-star end out of Pennsylvania recorded his first career sack on his first defensive series last week, but didn’t play as much as they had planned because the felt more comfortable with Williams dropping into coverage.
That probably won’t be an issue against UCF, but the Buckeyes could also give fellow freshman Adolphus Washington a chance to play some strongside end for the first time. He was an excellent pass-rushing end in high school, but has played mostly inside at defensive tackle since he got to Ohio State.
Fullback Adam Homan is also expected to miss the game, along with tailback Jordan Hall.
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