A Buckeye defense that finally showed improvement and put up a solid performance last week holding Michigan State to just two field goals, now has another obstacle they will have to face this week.
Maryland interim head coach Matt Canada said Tuesday that the Terrapins starting quarterback Kasim Hill will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee.
Hill suffered the injury last Saturday in Maryland’s game at Indiana. Redshirt sophomore backup quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome will now step up to face the No. 10 Buckeyes on Saturday.
Pigrome has seen the field this year, earning playing time in all but one game for the Terrapins this season and entering the games at various points for a wide range of number of plays.
Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano had to change the game plan defensively in order to focus on a differently style of quarterback that they will face Saturday.
“We kind of knew since Saturday but it does change,” Schiano said. “They’re different kinds of guys and they’ve done different things. I know Coach Canada has been establishing his offensive system for a long time so it’s a little bit tricky. Not sure what they’re going to do. We need to be ready for everything they’ve done. They’ve had some really fantastic output offensively at times so it’s a big challenge.”
Pigrome has game experience and can throw the ball, but he is a more mobile quarterback for Maryland’s offense, giving the Terrapins a running threat that they didn’t have in Hill.
With knowing what Pigrome brings to the Maryland offense, the Buckeyes have already gone about making changes in their preparation this week.
“We made sure that our [scout team] quarterback was more athletic and that we know that the guy that’s in can run the ball,” junior defensive end Jonathon Cooper said. “Of course, with the starting quarterback out we have a guy that can run the ball. I mean that definitely plays into effecting practice and everything.”
Athletic was exactly the word that fourth-year defensive tackle Robert Landers used to describe Pigrome and the rest of this Maryland team.
“They always have great athletes, all the way across the board, from their o-line to their d-line to their skill positions. They’ve always been a very, very athletic team,” he said.
After Ohio State’s dominating performance against Michigan State, however, Landers has confidence in the Buckeye defense right now. They have been improving each week and this is the healthiest the defense has been in over a month.
And yet even with facing a different quarterback than they expected, the Buckeyes still have to focus on themselves.
“Our biggest thing, honestly, is to just keep doing what we’re doing,” Landers said. “We still have the same mindset, the same game plan going into each week. The biggest thing is that we’re starting to execute on the little things.”