Tuesday briefing: Dunn likely to start

September, 11, 2012
9/11/12
2:40
PM ET
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Quick hitters from Ohio State coach Urban Meyer's weekly appearance on the Big Ten teleconference.

Fresh legs: There might not be much separation between the two healthy running backs, but one of them has to take the first snap.

Based on an encouraging training camp and the early returns from the first 12 carries of his career, that nod will go to true freshman Bri'onte Dunn on Saturday against California.

"He and Rod [Smith] are very close," Meyer said. "I think they’re both big, talented backs. For whatever reason, the productivity has not been there. What I like about Bri’onte is really what I like about Rod -- they’re big, physical guys that can accelerate.

"There’s not many more talented."

Both of the guys listed ahead of Dunn entering the season are dealing with injuries, and Carlos Hyde has officially been ruled out with a knee sprain.

The projected starter coming out of spring practice could potentially return this week to reclaim that job, though Jordan Hall's status is still up in the air pending his practice performances on Tuesday and Wednesday. The senior has been medically cleared, but after missing all of training camp and the first two games, some rust would be expected and could make Dunn the safer choice either way.

"Bri'onte is talented and he’s big and he hits it real hard," Meyer said. "Our coaches, especially our defensive coaches, think very highly of him."

Bear down: The film suggested the Cal defense could go one of two ways when Meyer broke it down.

There was a conservative approach to stop a passing attack, and then there was a more aggressive style that would jam Golden Bears in the box and dare the Buckeyes to air it out. Considering the way quarterback Braxton Miller has shredded the first two opponents of the season on the ground, Meyer is certainly expecting the latter as he puts together a plan of attack for a unique, 46 defense.

"They’re going to sink an extra guy in the box and play man coverage, sometimes two guys in the box, so that means they’re going to force you to throw it and play zero (coverage) with no safety help," Meyer said. "They’re going to try, I would imagine, to stop No. 5 -- and to stop No. 5, you’ve got to get an extra guy down there.

"We’re going to have to find some weaknesses."

He said it: "Defensively, we’re all very well aware we have to create some pass rush and play a little better on defense against the pass. This is a team that can expose you real fast." -- Meyer on the emphasis this week against Cal

Austin Ward | email

Ohio State/Big Ten reporter

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