Meyer Not Feeling ‘House of Pain’
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The music was still blaring in the background Wednesday as Urban Meyer led his team off the outdoor fields, where they had been practicing under the lights in preparation for this weekend’s trip to Madison.
Photo by Jim Davidson
This won’t be Meyer’s first time at Camp Randall Stadium, but he’s already heard enough of the school’s ‘Jump Around’ song by the group House of Pain, which is played between the third and fourth quarters of every home game.
“I’m going to have to change that,” Meyer said of the music, which was being piped in to practice this week.
“We always do crowd noise (before an away game), and I told them to get that stuff out. We’ll hear that enough in a couple of days.”
Meyer seemed bothered by the fact Ohio State players were “jumping around” with the Wisconsin fans two years ago when the Badgers ended the Buckeyes’ perfect season up in Madison.
“Were they winning,” Meyer asked with a raised eyebrow.
But Meyer has bigger things to worry about this week than what guys were doing two years before he took over the program. One of his biggest concerns is stopping Wisconsin’s powerful rushing attack after the Badgers racked up more than 500 yards on the ground against Indiana.
“You have to be gap-sound,” Meyer said after practice.
“Recently, they’ve done a nice job of every time there’s either a fly-motion or they’re trying to disguise some type of reverse or they’re giving you some unusual line displacement. There are times when they have six offensive linemen in the game. It’s crazy the formations you’ll see from them.”
Meyer compared his team’s preparation for stopping Montee Ball, James White and the Badgers to game-planning for an effective wishbone offense back in college football’s heyday.
“We’ve spent a lot of time in practice working on getting lined up properly. You’ve got to line up and then you’ve got to tackle,” Meyer said Wednesday.
“If you’re not gap-sound, that’s when you see those big hits. Let’s say you’re playing a wishbone team and you don’t get lined up. You’re going to get embarrassed. And some teams have gotten embarrassed recently.”
One thing that should help the Buckeyes avoid embarrassment on Saturday is the return of senior linebacker Etienne Sabino. He hasn’t played since the Nebraska game because of a broken bone in his leg, but the senior captain has been clicking with fellow starters Zach Boren and Ryan Shazier in practice.
“It’s been a good week for those guys,” Meyer said.
“Having Sabino back gives you a sense of stability that we haven’t had there in a while.”
Meyer said he also expects to have defensive back Orhian Johnson, wide receiver Jake Stoneburner and center Corey Linsley ready for the big game on Saturday. Freshman cornerback Armani Reeves will return this week to bolster the kick coverage team, and defensive back Zach Domicone looks like he might be available on Saturday.
The one big injury right now is freshman tailback Bri’onte Dunn, who will miss Saturday’s game with an MCL injury he suffered in practice last week.
“Third-team tailback? Uh, Tim May,” Meyer jokingly responded to a question from the Dispatch reporter.
“No, Adam Homan, possibly. That’s a tough situation.”
Meyer said he has no plans to give Boren any reps at fullback or tailback this week, despite saying he might consider the option when Sabino returned from his injury. Senior middle linebacker Storm Klein is battling a back injury, so Boren will likely play the entire game at inside backer.
Another guy who will be limited on Saturday is defensive lineman Michael Bennett.
“Bennett is still banged up a little,” Meyer said. “It’s been a tough year for him.”
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