October 19, 2010

Homan, Bryant to miss time

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State football team is coming off its first loss of the season after falling to Wisconsin 31-18 on Saturday in Camp Randall Stadium, but it came away from Madison with more than a blemish to its record.

Now as the Buckeyes (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten Conference) prepare for Purdue this weekend, Ohio State will have to do it without two key defenders.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel confirmed on Tuesday in his weekly press conference that both linebacker Ross Homan and defensive back Christian Bryant will miss Saturday's game against the Boilermakers.

"The only guy that really concerns me, Ross Homan is going to be out," Tressel said. "He'll be out for a couple weeks probably, but his thing will be fine."

Homan missed most of the Wisconsin game after what Tressel described as a foot injury. After leaving early in the game, Homan returned to the field for the Buckeye defense for one series, but never returned to the game.

Tressel said Homan is expected to miss a couple of weeks, which should shift things around some in the Buckeye linebacker corps against the Boilermakers.

Jonathan Newsome, who filled in for Homan on Saturday, is expected to move into the starting lineup to play strongside linebacker and Andrew Sweat will play weakside linebacker, all of course when the Buckeyes are in their base defense.

Perhaps the biggest blow to the Buckeye defense as a whole is the loss of Christian Bryant, the third injury to Ohio State's secondary of the season.

After already losing Tyler Moeller and C.J. Barnett for the season, Bryant is expected to miss all week while battling an "infection."

"He had an infection last week and we thought we had it under control and he played a little bit in the game and then he had a not very good reaction to it on the plane ride back," Tressel said. "I don't know all the whys and the wherefores and whatnot, but it doesn't look like he'll be out of there until late this week.

"We just want to make sure that we get that calmed down," Tressel said. "You never know with infections and whatnot, so obviously he won't have a week of practice."

With the loss of Bryant, it really shakes things up in the Buckeye secondary, particularly when the team is in nickel coverage, something that should be quite prevalent against visiting Purdue on Saturday.

Tressel said that he wasn't quite sure how the Buckeye defense would replace Bryant, but he did mention that senior starting safety Jermale Hines could be moved to the star position where he excelled last year.

If Hines were to be moved, senior Aaron Gant would move into the starting lineup at safety, but the Buckeyes also have options in Nate Oliver, who has been the team's second nickel back when healthy.

Another option Tressel said the Buckeyes have is to keep the personnel of the base defense on the field when Ohio State goes with the nickel package, but that would put Newsome in coverage when Purdue runs sets with three or four receivers.

"Nate Oliver was your number two nickel all spring and all season until he got hurt, and he's back healthy," Tressel said. "He played a little bit of special teams Saturday, so he's obviously an answer to that.

"Or you can do what Iowa does," he continued. "Iowa plays nickel with their base people and that's what Miami does. Miami plays their nickel looks with their base people, so I'm sure there's a number of things you can do."

Other injury updates

  • Linebacker Dorian Bell sustained a concussion against Indiana and did not travel to Wisconsin. Bell's absence was a big loss to Ohio State's kick coverage.

  • Linebacker Storm Klein was also banged up and nowhere near 100 percent, Tressel said, which is why he didn't play against Wisconsin. Klein's absence also had an effect on Ohio State's kick coverage.

  • Offensive tackle J.B. Shugarts will still bothered by his foot, Tressel said, but that's something that is expected to continue for the remainder of the season.

  • Safety Orhian Johnson was "banged" up in the Wisconsin game, but he isn't expected to miss any time. Tressel expects him to practice Tuesday.

  • While going over the injury updates, Tressel didn't mention Terrelle Pryor, though he did seem visibly slowed by his quad injury on Saturday.

    Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.


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